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theunknown98

On site modification of an IF

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I'm yet to attend my first skirmish (been intending to go for a LONG time, got some kit and everything), and want to clear something up first. I understand that while onsite it is generally accepted/allowed that two-tone IFs can have camo tape applied to the gun to reduce the 'effects' of the two tone, as long as it is removed when leaving the site. Where would I stand if I were to modify the IF onsite? For example, I own an IF G36C. The handguard, stock and carry handle/rail are all green. If I were to replace the handguard and stock, which are both quick to swap out relatively quickly, with the black equivalents but ONLY while at the site, would I be breaking any laws? I imagine this would be classed as manufacturing a RIF as there would be nothing stopping me from going home and adding the parts back on, but I just wanted some clarification from people who know more than me. I'm not against using camo tape, but it would be nice to skirmish with a realistic looking gun, as I won't be able to own a RIF until at least April next year after my 18th.

 

Hopefully I haven't come off as an ignorant kid who just wants to twist the law to get a RIF, as that's not my intention. Also, apologies if I've missed a previous thread like this, I had a look but couldn't find anything with my question.

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the way i see it, by replacing parts you would be manufacturing a RIF, where as with the tape you are only temporary covering up part of the gun ;)

 

but thats only my view

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Common sense needs to be applied here really, the police are not going to turn up at the safe zone of this guy's local site and check are they?

 

As far as I understand the law, temporary modifications which reduce the gun to less than 51% bright colour (and so make it a RIF) are acceptable, for example, adding a black scope and a foregrip to a 2-tone gun can make it more than 49% black, no one is going to jump on you for that. Adding removable parts which change the colouration temporarily are in my belief within the bounds of acceptability/legality.

 

That said, you do not need to be 18 to own/manufacture a RIF, only to BUY one, so if you're a regular airsofter and have some documentary means to prove it (site membership, skirmish diary, etc) then you can change the bright green bits out permanently without any legal comeback.

 

(caveat to all of the above is that I'm not a lawyer/solicitor so take it all with a pinch of salt, that said, there's never been a test case for any of this so a solicitor would only be able to provide a reasoned argument/recommendation based upon the poorly written VCRA)

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Thanks for the responses!

 

@Monty I'm wary of making the modifications before attending a site as I'm assuming that would be classed as modifying an IF to make it a RIF. Seeing as I definitely have no form of defence right now - I haven't even attended a single skirmish - I don't want to start doing anything potentially illegal.

 

@ jcheeseright Thanks, this has cleared things up for me a lot. I think I'll attend my first skirmish and make mind up as to whether the modifications are necessary then. This seems like a bit of a legal grey area so I'm not going to turn up first game and start building a RIF, I'll get a game or two under my belt first.

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong but, as I read it, you can buy or modify a gun for the purposes of skirmishing. Its not that you have to be a regular skirmisher. However, the onus is on you to prove that you are using it for that purpose. The easiest way to do that is to establish a papertrail showing that you have attended a number of airsoft events. This is what everyone calls a defence. UKARA registration is one way to do this, membership of a team who will be able to confirm that you have been there or site paperwork etc are others. The great thing is that no-one knows how strong this defence needs to be, it may well be that just booking to attend an event is enough. No-one wants to be the one who finds out that they need a stronger defence.

 

Just a thought but if you attach a camera to yourself and create a youtube channel, would that not create both the skirmish defence and the film making defence? :)

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Without meaning to sound condescending in any way, can I just congratulate the OP on one of the most well considered and well written 'I'm a new guy in need of advice' posts I've seen in a long time.

 

To answer your question, and to echo some of what has already been said, the answer is that there is no definitive answer because of the vagueness of the laws involved. The short answer is that you'll basically be fine to switch your parts out at the game and then switch them back before leaving; it's extremely unlikely that anybody representing the law will be at your game, and even if they were they're not going to check on the state of everyone's weapons.

 

The long answer involves a lot of legal anomalies. Firstly, since you're under 18 it is illegal for you to buy or attempt to buy an IF or a RIF, so questions could be asked by the law about how you got your IF (though you could claim the legal loophole of: "It was given to me as a gift"). Secondly, the under 18 rule does not seem to apply to manufacturing a RIF, so you could do this legally to a legally obtained IF so long as you were doing it "for the purposes of airsoft skirmishing." Finally, as Ruse11 has pointed out, whilst the whole "regular" part involving 3 games played applies to UKARA, it is not written into any law, so effectively, as long as you could show you were off to play airsoft at a site with public liability insurance you could modify your legally obtained IF into a legal RIF quite legally, and also never have to turn it back.

 

This is all within the theoretical law on airsoft however (baffling as it is), what might happen if the police happened to pull you and start asking questions would probably be very different indeed!

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yous should be fine police expect to see rifs at paintball and airsoft sites just put it back to 2 tone before you leave if you are worried that way if you get pulled over for any run of the mill reason you are completely legal

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Some people won't like this, but why would you want to "put it back the way it was before leaving the site" ?

 

You are manufacturing a RIF, yes. An offence? Absolutely. HOWEVER... You are AT a skirmish, therefore you are taking part in an event such as those described as suitable defences against prosecution. Ergo, you have a defence.

 

Remember that the UKARA "3 games in no less than two months" rule is an arbitrary level that has no standing in law.

 

Also remember that possession of a RIF is NOT an offence.

 

Now, please don't think that I'm trying to show people ways around the law. It is up to them to decide whether what they are doing is legal or otherwise. I am not a qualified lawyer, and you take my advice at your own risk (although I DO consider my words very carefully in matters such as this, they are still only my opinions as a layman reading the legislation)

 

That said, I really don't see a lot of criminals turning up at a skirmish in order to provide a defence against prosecution for sellers. Frankly, if they want a realistic looking gun they can cheaply and simply buy an air pistol that is built on the same frame as the real steel firearm with no checks.

 

I'm absolutely not telling anyone to break, or attempt to bend, and legislation. I am simply saying that by my reading of the (admittedly extremely badly written) legislation, being at a skirmish is plenty of evidence that you have a defence against prosecution for manufacturing a RIF.

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I have been to many sites that under 18's that have 2 tone guns have swapped parts out / painted parts / camo taped. I dont think they are doing to break the law. They just dont want to stand out.

 

It all depends on the sites you go to. Some may let you do it some might not like it. Go to a skirmish and see what other people are doing.

 

There is nothing wrong with a 2 tone gun. Im sure there are alot of players on here that bought one so they could play untill they got there ukara.

 

In my opinion if you can prove that it is not a RIF if you are asked by the police and you can show that it is for skirmishing you should be ok.

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also whilst at your fist skirmish as the site owners what they would advise as likely if anything does happen they will be contacted as part of your defence. reinforce part of willing to play inside the rules...

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