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In a very late night session, under the cover of darkness, the United States Congress voted to ban paintball in the United States with the passage of the "America Safety Act." Although, the bill was sold to congress as an anti-terrorism bill, certain parts of the bill ban air powered rifles and airguns that fire objects at a rate of speed over 100 mph.
The 313-100 vote, with 22 abstentions, was rushed through congress and hurried into law. The bill now goes to the Senate for a final vote. The bill not only bans paintball, but allows the FBI to spy on paintball players secretly. Anyone that uses an air-powered gun will be secretly spied on, without the approval of a judge, without probable cause.
In fact, the bill even allows local law enforcement to tap any cell phone or phone lines of paintball players without the consent of a judge. Further, paintball players may be detained indefinetly without probable cause and without being formally charged with anything.
Part of the bill also allows the FBI to collect data on paintball players shopping habits, book purchasing, and search their homes secretly. According to Bill Meira, attorney retained by Paintball Times, "The new law reminds me of communist Russia. I can't believe this can happen in America. Why would paintball players be a threat to our country?"
Although none of the congressmen who voted for the bill returned our phone calls, the message to paintballers was very clear, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Just as the internet's most popular paintball website, Paintball Times, began a discussion on elections, elected officials turned their back on paintball players.
"We were trying to raise awareness and encourage young people to vote," said Mohammed S. Alo, Managing Editor of the Times. "It's really unbelieveable to hear about this vote. All I can say, is that we will go to every length, make every phone call, and turn all of our resources to the Senate and make sure this bill gets voted out."
Paintball Times is urging all paintball players and all Americans to call their senators and urge them to vote 'No' on the"America Safety Act." For your senators' contact information, www.congress.org.
"We will not allow this bill to pass. We fought this type of legislation in Canada, and we will fight it here," continued Alo.
Although paintball has enjoyed unfetterred freedom, this is the first real tragedy for paintball. Paintballers cannot alow this to happen.
This is a sad day for paintball.
Although this law doesn't exist and was never passed, a similar law was. The United States Patriot Act was passed in a similar manner back in September of 2001. Parts of the law are set to expire, while much of it doesn't. We encourage our readers to contact congress and urge them not to re-approve any of this bill.