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Confused about laws

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So, as far as I'm aware, it is illegal to import or manufacture RIF's.

It is also illegal to buy/sell bb guns over the net. Am I right so far?

 

If so, how do we legally have the guns in the UK if they can't be imported or manufactured?

And how are there websites advertising guns and delivery?

Also (last question -for now-, i promise), if I were to fire an airsoft gun in my own garden, but it was seen or heard by neighbours and the police were called, as I have a 2 tone gun, am over 18 and have permission to shoot on my land, am I right in thinking that I am operating on the correct side of the law?

 

Sorry for all the questions, it's just I have heard about the potential fines/jail time for serious issues and I do live in a quiet neighbourhood and the gun echo's like a b*tch around the neighbourhood (baby hi-capa)

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Because we have a specific defence from prosecution that was written into the VCRA 2007.

 

While your not doing anything wrong technically, they still may phone the police regardless - who will then in turn probably send a firearms unit to your house so best thing to do is err on the side of caution and tell your neighbors what your doing.

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Also (last question -for now-, i promise), if I were to fire an airsoft gun in my own garden, but it was seen or heard by neighbors and the police were called, as I have a 2 tone gun, am over 18 and have permission to shoot on my land, am I right in thinking that I am operating on the correct side of the law?

 

 

You're firing your pistol on your own property, I doubt the neighbours would be bothered by you shooting a neon coloured handgun on your own property. But if it does ever happen, the police won't care, they'd be more concerned about the neighbours reporting people for making noise.

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You're firing your pistol on your own property, I doubt the neighbors would be bothered by you shooting a neon coloured handgun on your own property. But if it does ever happen, the police won't care, they'd be more concerned about the neighbours reporting people for making noise.

It entirely depends on what they say if they ring up

 

If they say my neighbor is in his garden shooting a pellet gun or similar , then it won't be high on the Police's prioritys if at all.

 

If they ring screaming about a man with a gun in a garden and little else then they will assume the worse and everyman and his dog will turn up.

 

Not saying it will or it won't but some people are idiots haha

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1, So, as far as I'm aware, it is illegal to import or manufacture RIF's.

2, It is also illegal to buy/sell bb guns over the net. Am I right so far?

 

3, If so, how do we legally have the guns in the UK if they can't be imported or manufactured?

And how are there websites advertising guns and delivery?

 

4, Also (last question -for now-, i promise), if I were to fire an airsoft gun in my own garden, but it was seen or heard by neighbours and the police were called, as I have a 2 tone gun, am over 18 and have permission to shoot on my land, am I right in thinking that I am operating on the correct side of the law?

 

Right, I've numbered up your questions for easy answering!

 

1, It is illegal to import or manufacture RIFs, you're right. More on that on answer 3.

 

2, You're getting confused with 'airguns' here, and they're a different thing. I'm not fully up on airgun laws, but I believe you need to buy those face-to-face. This does not apply to airsoft guns (their power is not strong enough for them to qualify as 'airguns,' I believe).

 

3, Here's where it gets messy! It is illegal to sell, manufacture or import RIFs (but not to own or buy them if you're over 18) according to the VCRA 2006. This does technically mean that anyone who sells, manufactures or imports a RIF could be arrested for it. However, you wouldn't end up going to prison for this unless you were first prosecuted (taken to court, etc.). Now, there are certain 'defences against prosecution' written into the VCRA that allow some people, in some circumstances' to sell, manufacture and import RIFs. Slightly later an extra defence was written in that allows airsofters and airsoft retailers to have a defence as well. Therefore, everyone who sells, manufactures and imports any RIFs is breaking the law, but they can't be prosecuted for doing so if they meet the rather vague criteria for a defence.

 

4, This is also a very tricky area. Legally speaking there are a lot of areas that could cause you trouble. This is another one I'm not massively up on, but your big concerns are anyone seeing the gun and feeling in any way 'threatened' by it and also (and here's one that there have been a lot of threads about) any of your BBs leaving your property and ending up on someone else's. If one of your BBs misses/penetrates a target and then lands in someone else's garden, hit's their house, etc. there often seem to be big consequences (I believe that some people have said that it actually constitutes illegal trespass!).

 

Anyway, hope all that helps! If you want to know more I'm about to add two more posts. The first is all about the laws regarding airsoft that you might want to read up on. The second is a timeline showing how the VCRA and UKARA came about, and therefore how businesses are getting away with importing and selling RIFs, to answer one of your questions.

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Laws Regarding Buying and Selling Imitation Firearms Relevant to Airsoft

 

As the law currently stands (and it stands on the whim of the Home Secretary):

 

In relation to UNDER 18s:

 

- it is legal to own an IF or a RIF

- it is illegal to buy an IF or a RIF if you are under 18

- it is illegal to sell an IF or a RIF to an under 18

 

From 'VCRA 2006' Section 40 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/38/section/40

 

In relation to OVER 18s:

 

- it is legal to own an IF or a RIF

- it is legal to buy an IF or a RIF if you are over 18

- it is legal to sell an IF to an over 18

- it is illegal to sell a RIF to an over 18

- it is illegal to manufacture a RIF

- it is illegal to import a RIF

 

From 'VCRA 2006' Section 36 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/38/section/36

 

NOTE 1: if you wish to import a RIF, manufacture a RIF or sell a RIF to an over 18 you can avail yourself of a 'defence against prosecution' if you can show that you believed that you were intending to provide the RIF for "the acting out of military or law enforcement scenarios for the purposes of recreation" (an example of which is 'airsoft skirmishing') at a site with third party liability insurance. One way for a seller to do this is to establish that the buyer is registered with the UKARA database, though this is by no means a legal requirement or the only way for the seller to establish a defence for themselves.

 

From 'VCRA 2006 (Realistic Imitation Firearms) Regulations 2007' - http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20072606.htm

 

With further notes specific to airsoft in 'VCRA 2006 (Commencement No 3) Order 2007' - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-violent-crime-reduction-act-2006-commencement-no-3-order-2007-firearms-measures

 

NOTE 2: any attempt to commit one of the offences listed as illegal above is also illegal in itself.

 

From 'Criminal Attempts Act 1981' Section 1 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/47/section/1

 

NOTE 3: the defence required to manufacture a RIF is not age specific, so an under 18 should be able to do so legally as long as they can prove their defence.

 

Acronym Glossary:

 

IF: Imitation Firearm (in relation to airsoft this is generally recognised as an airsoft gun which is painted over 50% in an 'unrealistic' colour - this is generally referred to as 'two tone')

 

RIF: Realistic Imitation Firearm (in relation to airsoft this is generally recognised as an airsoft gun which is 'realistically' coloured so as not be easily distinguishable from a real firearm)

 

VCRA: Violent Crime Reduction Act (the most recent law which directly affects the buying and selling of imitation firearms)

 

UKARA: United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association (a group created by leading UK airsoft retailers to easily establish a defence against prosecution for themselves when selling imitation firearms - they maintain a database of airsoft players for this purpose; to be entered on the database a player must play three games in over a two month period at a registered airsoft site)

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- 2006: The government decides (probably after a long consultative process that included reading a lot of the Daily Mail) that they can 'reduce violent crime' by banning toy guns that look 'realistic.' They decide that they can't really force everyone to give back the toy guns they already have, so they don't make owning them illegal. They also realise that nobody is probably going to realise or care if they made buying them illegal, so they don't do that either. Instead they just make it illegal to sell, import or manufacture them. They also seem to think nobody needs them for anything useful at all, though another quick consultation (this one seems to effectively been a brainstorm they made on a piece of A4) leads them to the conclusion that some people might need them, but the only people who might possibly have any decent use for realistic toy guns are people working in film, TV or stage, re-enactors or people who the Queen asked to go and buy them as part of their job. So they give these guys a 'pass,' and essentially add in to the new law that these guys will be breaking the law like everyone else, but they can't be prosecuted for doing so. The Violent Crime Reduction Act (VCRA) 2006 is passed. Job done, everyone's happy. Or so they think.

 

- Early 2007: Airsoft retailers kick off. "Oh my days blud!" They shout. "What dem man gone done?" They (leading retailers like Zeroone, Airsoft World, Landwarrior, etc.) form a group: The United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association (UKARA), because forming a group and getting an acronym instantly makes you feel like you've got big boy pants on. They get a sit-down with the lawmakers and explain what airsoft is and how their livelihoods will be severely affected when the new law comes into play in October. The lawmakers pretend they know what UKARA are talking about whilst they're actually saying to each other: "Oh, I say! 'Airsoft?' How ridiculously absurd!" They show their confusion (and the fact that they seem to think that these UKARA chaps are some sort of tribal lords who have complete control over all airsoft events and retail in the UK) by getting the Home Secretary to add another 'defence' to the list. By the time they get round to this they've actually forgotten what airsoft is, so they just write it down as something to do with "military and law enforcement scenarios." They then reassure themselves that it's all going to be cool because the UKARA tribal council has agreed to set up a database of people they trust and they're only going to sell to them. Obviously, since the UKARA are the only people who are ever going to sell anyone realistic looking toy guns, there will never be any problems ever.

 

- October 2007: Virtually all violent crime in the UK is ended thanks to the VCRA.

 

- 2007-Present: 99% of airsofters have literally no clue what the VCRA and UKARA are all about. They keep arguing about what 'defences you need to buy' without realising that this makes no sense whatsoever. They quote stuff that the UKARA has made up, like "regular skirmisher," as if it was something to do with the actual law. Additionally, 99.9% of UK politicians and police also have no idea what the VCRA and UKARA are all about, however most people on airsoft forums are convinced that 'we're being watched,' 'our sport in under threat,' 'the Home Secretary has us under scrutiny,' etc. This is all true. Teresa May does nothing all day but read airsoft forums in the hope of gathering enough evidence to finally shut us down.

 

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Oh wow, thanks for the speedy and detailed replies everyone, especially Longshot.

I think I get the laws now, they don't make 'em simple though do they?

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