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ScoobySnacks

What is UKARA (and more importantly what it ISN'T)

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I know this is discussed regularly, and the information is there, but I posted this on another forum and thought it might be useful here.

 

I keep seeing references on here to people "getting their licence" or "getting their defence". I think there is a great deal of mis-information and misunderstanding of what is required to purchase a realistic imitation firearm, and what exactly UKARA is.

So the basics.

The Violent Crime Reduction Act (heretofore known as the VCRA) made it an offence to sell any realistic imitation firearm (RIF). This is an absolute offence, for which there are some pretty specific defences.

So first point to note. It is THE SELLER who is guilty of an offence in the sale of a RIF. It is not an offence to possess a RIF. It is not an offence to buy a RIF. The person who commits an offence which requires a defence is the SELLER!

So, I mentioned there "a defence". This is the little bit of law that allows people to buy RIF's without the seller committing an offence.

There are several defences, which are laid down in the legislation. (If anyone wants me to quote chapter and verse I can)

For someone to sell you an RIF, and not be prosecuted for an offence under the VCRA, they need to be satisfied that you can provide them with a defence against such prosectuion. Note that they will still technically still be committing an offence, but that they have a defence against prosecution.

So there are several defences. The one that we'll want to look at here is what we would call the skirmishers defence. This requires that the person who is purchasing the RIF can show that they are regularly involved in the use of RIF's at events where public liability insurance is in effect.

So consider the case of the person who uses the RIF only for playing with a few friends on his own land. He would not be able to offer the retailer a defence and so the retailer should not sell to him (if he values his business and freedom that is).

Now if he plays at the local airsoft site, which carries public liability insurance, and the retailer (or private seller, this applies equally to ANYONE selling a RIF) can in some way contact the site and ascertain that the person does actually regularly play there, then the defence is "proven" and the retailer can sell relatively safely.

Of course, the seller needs to keep records of such checks, in order to be able to prove they had reasonable grounds to believe the person was a genuine skirmisher and to prove their defence. If the seller does not record such searches then they are at risk.

Now we come on to UKARA.

UKARA stands for the UK Airsoft Retailers Association. It is a TRADE BODY. It has no statutory or regulatory power. It cannot issue any kind of licence.

All that the UKARA registration offers is an easy, quick and readily recorded method for retailers to check that a person offers them a valid defence.

It is not the only way to prove such a defence, but the online database allows for quick, easy checking of your credentials.

You do NOT need UKARA (or any other form of defence) to OWN, KEEP, TRANSPORT or USE a RIF. If anyone tells you you do then they have either misunderstood, or are trying to pull some sort of fast one.

You do NOT need UKARA to PURCHASE a RIF.

You cannot commit an offence by purchasing a RIF.

Please don't think I have a problem with UKARA. I am registered with UKARA, and have found it useful. It allows retailers, especially online retailers, to carry out checks quickly and efficiently, thus minimizing the cost and waiting time. It should also allow people to readily check for private sales, though it appears the website to check doesn't seem to work (well, it doesn't show my registration, even though I have checked with various retailers and it comes up when they interrogate the system)

I just think it's important for people to fully understand their rights/responsibilities in terms of purchasing RIF's.

Note also that a retailer is well within their rights to refuse to sell you a RIF, whether you have UKARA registration, or can prove all kinds of site membership. It is up to them to decide what is sufficient evidence for THEM!

Sorry for the rambling post, I hope some of it is useful!

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While you are correct in English you have to realise also that It's Written in Legalese & where Case Lawtake Supersedence over Common Law you can be prosecuted for owning a RIF/IF even though it is unlikely, Good Job though you seem to have understood it well enough to earn a Pass from me!

 

On this F-Ing check UKARA yourself site it's absolute Bull it Tell's you someone is on their but it dosen't tell you when their ability to provide this Exception Lapsed year's ago. I'll even not renew mine this year just to show EVERYONE! if that is what it take's so stop using it and stop suggesting it's use during sale's FGS

 

 

Edit: It's not that hard to teach yourself Legalese but i was fortunate to have my Grandfather Teach me and to take possession of his Law Book's when he died, He was Taught in the 50's so their may be a slight difference between when he stopped practicing (05) and Now but i Highly Doubt it..

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Craig. There is no law, either civil or case, that can see you prosecuted for possessing a RIF, as long as it's not in a public place, and you're not using it in an inappropriate manner (threatening with it etc.) that I know of. I'm pleased for you to prove me wrong though, it would be an important piece of legislation to know about!

 

Note also I've not even touched on the age limits that apply for purchasing RIF's. That's a whole other mine field!

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its a loophole really, where in special cases, if it is deemed that you are a threat and they have probable cause to suspect that your ownership of a rif/if can lead to future crimes they can arrest you.

This is the case for inderviduals who have been to jail for a few years and are on release, if they are found to own a RIF/IF they can be arrested and put back in jail.

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Da Sheriff, it sounds like what you are referring to is a "prohibited person" under the meaning of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended). It comes under Section 21 (Possession of Firearms by Persons Previously Convicted of a Crime), specifically sub-sections one and two, which prohibit, respectively, those sentenced to three years or more from possessing firearms for life, and those sentenced to between three years and three months from possessing firearms for five years.

 

Note that this prohibition is under the FIREARMS act. A RIF is an IMITATION firearm, ergo it is not a real firearm, and hence it does not fall under the same legislation.

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See, firearms act section 16a possession of firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

 

"It is an offense for a person to have in his possession any firearm or imitation firearm with intent—
(a)by means thereof to cause, or
(b)to enable another person by means thereof to cause,
any person to believe that unlawful violence will be used against him or another person."

 

with the statistical chances of repeat offenses from ex-convicts, you can see why they do not want ex-cons owning such, and if they feel that you intend to use them for a crime, they can arrest you.

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Bingo but also I was coming from a legislation which allow's prosecution if it is believed Terrorism is involved (Funny seeing as we can't deport the bugger's)but Alas I can't remember which one it is exactly so you'll have to give me a while to find it

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Tat website is golden to have, even better if you have it bookmarked on your mobile phone too. good read while on the bus.

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That's all well and good, but it pre-supposes you intend to cause harm or distress, or use the firearm for threatening someone or to commit a crime. Also, again, it applies purely to firearms. RIF's are not included under the Firearms Acts. The firearms act defines a firearm as "a lethal, barreled weapon". An airsoft gun does not fall into this category as it is not considered to be powerful enough to be lethal.

 

Also, I said POSSESSION is not illegal. This is entirely true. You cannot be prosecuted purely for OWNING or KEEPING a RIF. Even if you have a history of criminality. They would need to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you intended to use it to commit a crime, or to threaten, cause harm or distress. Just because you have a criminal record that's not enough reason to believe an offence is likely to take place without other evidence.

 

As for the Anti-Terror legislation, again, they need to have good reason to believe you are intending to use the RIF to commit an offence before arresting.

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Under the firearms act, anything that can be used be it real firearm, or an imitation firearm which is intended to cause fear of violence is under the firearms act, that incluces BBguns. paintball guns, heck even a steal pipe wraped in newspaper if you use it make people belive it is a shotgun.

an example of this fact (that anything deemed a firearm underlaw can be anything, including a childs toy gun.)
R v Poggiani (2002) 2 Cr.App.R.(S) 6
Neighbour fired
a cap gun in the street to scare off children playing near a vehicle.
Father of a chikld scared by this later produced a toy gun and held it
to the 6 year old dson of the neighbour and said "bang your dead". 6
months imprisonment

 

You also have the following which can be factored in when owning an airsoft rifle if you are an Ex-con which can lead to being detained.

 

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors


-but on the terms of possession.

What was the defendant's record? The seriousness of any firearms offence
was inevitably increased if the offender had an established record of
committing firearms offences or crimes of violence.

As I mentioned initially though, as a violation of parole, if caught after being sent down for excessive violence (murder, armed robery) if you are caught with an IF (Airsoft included) That is seen as a breach of your probation which can result in being sent back to jail.

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Yes DA, using anything to threaten someone is going to have you prosecuted for threatening behaviour, making threats to kill etc. I think you'll find the father was not prosecuted under the Firearms act though.

 

As for parole conditions, again, that is a very different thing.

 

I'm sure we can come up with all sorts of situations where possessing a RIF might be construed as a prosecutable offence. None of them holds any fears for someone who isn't on bail/parole, and has no intention of using the gun in a threatening manner.

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O no indeed, I was merely enforcing the argument of the worst case secerino which one could expect under the "special circumstances"exemption. as you mentioned in yur first case.

"there is no way you can be arrested for possession of an rif"

As I said, It's an example of pretty much the only way you can be arrested for owning an RIF.

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