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ForestFighter

Two-tone guns and tape...

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I recieved my ICS AK74 in the post from Firesupport with the handguard, pistol grip and stock in red as requested (thanks, FS!), which looked OK really, but I personally like the OD style of AK furniture. As such, I also have a roll of army issue sniper tape to potentially wrap parts of the gun in that OD colour.

Anyway, I wanted to get a bit of a clarification on the law regarding wrapping these parts with tape, whether that weapon is then classified as an RIF and whether I can then be charged with manufacturing an RIF or not, should the authorities take notice.

 

Having read other material on this forum, I have seen mixed reports about this (also, I have seen no direct discussion regarding tape, aside from a few lines here and there which say the following, hence the new thread). Most seem to say that taping over the two-tone parts is not a permanent alteration to the two-tone status of the gun and thus is not classified as manufacturing a RIF and so is not a legal offense, however others have said that this should only be done at a game site and the tape removed upon leaving said game site, otherwise you would be running a certain risk.

 

So, the question I really have at the moment is; can I use my two-tone gun taped up for just screwing about in the garden for now until I can organise to go to a game day, without the risk of the police coming and having the ability to take action? Also, if the police did come and take interest, could I simply remove the tape and expose the two-tone again on-the-spot, to avoid further reprocussion?

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Go have a read of the VCRA and you'll see where you stand. Basically UKARA is a scheme for the retailers to ensure they are selling to people who have a suitable defence for needing to own a RIF. So long as you have a suitable defence then you can manufacturer a RIF from IF and own a RIF. If your gun doesn't have 51% of it in a bright colour it is a RIF by definition so you would certainly be manufacturing a RIF and owning one. Question is can you prove a suitable defence under the law?

 

One of the questions I have about that is whether UKARA is the actual interpreted requirement from the police and CPS in regards to this or whether having played 5 airsoft games and with future ones bought and paid for I already show a suitable defence even without UKARA. Considering there is 7 years in prison on the line I kind of feel its not worth rushing the process! So long as your not brandishing a RIF around anywhere other than an airsoft site chances are no one cares but its also not something you want to get wrong.

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As long as it's only temporary it will be fine.

You're on your own property as well.

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This is one of those situations where there's the law and then there's what is realistically going to happen.

 

Firstly if you only play at home and have not attended an airsoft game (or could show that you are going to some time soon) then you are technically breaking the law by taping an IF in such a way that it becomes a RIF. The concept of it being 'temporary' is about as legit as saying you painted it temporarily since paint is also relatively easy to remove. Temporarily breaking a law is still breaking a law! :)

 

That said, as others have pointed out, if you did commit this crime in your house and then don't act a dick with your newly manufactured RIF nobody is going to know. Even so, if you do act dickish (that's a totes legit word by the way) it will be for that the police are talking to you or arresting you; the issue of it being an IF or a RIF probably won't come up as most police have no idea that there is a difference.

 

So long story short: would you be breaking the law? Yes. Are you likely to get in trouble for the 'manufacturing of a RIF' specifically? No (though obviously I'm not endorsing breaking the law!).

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There was a news story this week about an idiot who showed his social worker his airsoft guns then drove off to college. Support worker called police, they stopped him, arrested him for a knife he had. The airsoft guns he had were spray painted black, so while initially arrested for the knife he actually got a conviction for converting an IF into a RIF. Not being an airsofter he had no defence for that action, so despite the fact he could have the guns the spray painting of them is how he received his fine and criminal record.

 

Are what you doing so dissimilar? No its the same thing. Only question is will you take action to get caught, but its almost certainly a crime.

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I see what you are saying here and having read the advice on offer, I will most likely not tape the gun up now, but there are issues here that still perplex me.

 

Still the question persists that whether taping a gun and painting a gun are the same thing, whether they are both classified as "manufacturing" an RIF. If the law states that 51% of the gun must be VISIBLY an approved colour, then the taping is indeed an infringement of the law, but if it is stated that the gun must BE 51% an approved colour, then technically, covering up that colour does not go against this - as the gun beneath is still of that approved colour - and we're back into a grey area. I have seen people also ask if they are OK to add rail covers that would drop the visible percentage of the two-tone to below the 51% mark and that seems to have come across as acceptable, so how does covering up the two-tone in that way and covering it up with tape differ? Both are temporary and easily revertable.

 

However, the VCRA does state "modification", without adding any qualifiers for what "modifications" are under the law, so perhaps that means any such "modification", even if it is temporary or easily removed.

 

I don't wish to sound interrogatory or argumentative, it's just a strange and difficult thought, really.

Again, after everything said and done, it doesn't seem worth it to run the risk of messing about with the law, simply for aesthetic pleasure. And at this current moment, as someone who only wishes to go to a skirmish (our next local event is on the 25th of May, which I may well go to, but as of yet have not made any bookings or such to do so), I do not have a defence should anything arise.

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I think what you're discovering Forest is just how confusing and confused the VCRA is!

 

I'd suggest that the implication is that the 51% or more of the 'visible gun' must be one of the approved bright colours; after all if we start considering it as meaning that 51% of the gun should "be" the bright colour then no two tone out there is an IF unless the internal parts of the gun are also painted a bright colour. It's like people saying that 66% of the world is water when it's actually much less than 1%, it's just the surface that is covered in water. If that makes sense!

 

Either way, you're wise enough to play it safe if you really don't want any possible problems.

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Heh, yeah perhaps I am! :)

 

That is indeed a very good point. I had never really thought of that.

 

I think there really needs to be a better clarification of be law from the government's side. I can understand that if you wrote a section for each and every thing the VCRA potentially encompasses, it'd be ten miles long, but due to the popularity of sports like airsoft in this country, a section specifically for the sport would be welcome.

 

Then again, the legislation.gov website does say that there are outstanding changes that need to be added to the website so fingers crossed...

 

Either way, thanks for the help guys. I know the two-tone thing has been discussed 28 billion times before and people are probably sick to death of it by now but it really is appreciated.

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I don't think they really need to address the law because the retailers and sites have a clear process. Yoiu can rent or use two tones until UKARA is obtained at which point you can buy a realistic Airsoft gun. You can also at this point strip the paint/replace parts on a two tone. Its clear as day what you can and should do to be legal. I have pointed out technical problems with the scheme and how it is used but its very clear what the hoops are. Its when you start trying to work around the clear part you can start creating potential ambiguities, but that isn't the law its how you choose to interpret it to try and circumvent. If you are in court arguing the technicalities of how something is written and whether the gun is really 51% bright coloured or not you are screwed. You might win but all airaofters will probably loose because of it. More changes to the law would not be good for us, they may just ban it outright next time.

 

Some people are a bit more blaise about the implications and clear intent of vcra but personally I think its very important we tow the spirit of the law as well as the letter of it. We aren't living in a country with a healthy culture towards any form of gun ownership. Its imperative we keep our hobby hidden from plain view, our guns equally and we act responsibly and patiently. Get and maintain your skirmisher membership, get your UKARA number and keep the gun out of sight anywhere that is not a skirmish. Its really simple.

 

Anyone can import a rif from Hong Kong, but get caught with it before having a membership of a site and it might not be pretty. I draw quite a lot of attention from police with a gun bag, camo trousers and big backpack when travelling to skirmishes. I am going to get stopped at some point, I am surprised it hasn't happened yet. Its your life, your risk, but I can't help but feel it effects all of us as well.

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Do you Skirmish on a regular basis at a proper site and can you prove it?

 

if you do then put any tape you want on it and spray it any colour you like. You have a defence You don't need a 'UKARA' to do this, it is only a way of showing a retailer you have a defence for buying a gun.

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