PETALING JAYA - The announcement by police for individuals to surrender their paintball markers and airsoft guns have enthusiasts of these sports up in arms.
On Monday, police issued a one-month period for individual owners of these sports gadgets to surrender them.
Players of both sports argued that their hobby should be regulated instead of them having to give up their toys.
"This could destroy the paintball scene in Malaysia," said paintball player Mohamad Razdan Jamil, 41.
Confiscating paintball markers was counterproductive, especially with paintball growing in popularity in the country, he said.
"The Government supports paintball events and Malaysia hosted international tournaments like the Paintball World Cup Asia in Langkawi two weeks ago," he added.
Mohamad Razdan, who also organises paintball games, said no sane person would use the guns for crime.
However, he agreed that the realistic design of airsoft guns made it easy for them to be used for intimidation purposes.
"Nobody will find out that an airsoft gun is not the real thing, if someone flashes it at them. I do not blame the police for being cautious, seeing the number of crimes committed using guns," he said.
Mohamad Razdan suggested that clubs be allowed to register members' information and their personal markers and share it with the authorities.
"Anyone who flouts the law would be blacklisted and their details given to the police, who could then confiscate their markers," he added.
Another paintball player, who declined to be named, said the paintball community had always been self-regulating.
"The community takes extra measures to regulate players and whenever somebody behaves irresponsibly, we will reprimand the person.
"Criminals are not part of this community," he said.
He said one solution could be to store markers at a paintball field, pointing out that it would be better than giving them up.
"I've spent a five figure sum on my markers," said the 32-year-old.
Another paintball player said the registration of paintballers and their markers would be an easy solution.
He disagreed with the suggestion of storing markers at a single location as this would hinder the growth of the sport, noting: "Paintball is a very social sport where we travel from venue to venue."
An airsoft player also welcomed regulation for his sport of choice.
"Banning it will only create a black market, and bribery will flourish among those who are importing the guns," said the player, who wanted to be identified as Steven Ranger, 23.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin acknowledged the paintball community's concern over the surrender of markers and promised to speak to authorities about the issue.
"We are concerned with the outcry that this has caused to the paintball community although we understand that no new additional regulation is being introduced," he said yesterday.