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rocketdogbert

Theoretical Question about a legal defence

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Just because so often wake up too early, I thought I’d share some thoughts.

 

As we know, it’s the sellers responsibility to ascertain a valid defence before selling a RIF.

What if the buyer has a defence, but the seller doesn’t ask for one, is the seller still committing an offence? 

 

Thanks

 

rdb

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Tricky one.

 

I used to sell to people with just UKARA as it's the most common form of defence but as I'm aware of what a pain it is at times to get onto the database I'm open to just giving a profile a once over. 

 

It's obvious that somebody like yourself is a legitimate player as you've got a post history. I doubt I'd ask for anything if I were selling to you because the proof is right there. I can see it without needing to ask. 

 

So that in itself is enough to satisfy me as a seller. Would it hold up in court.. Who knows?

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Like Gepard id apply common sense, look at feedback & post history, & sometime post content to see if someone's a Dick likely to cause problems for us.

Out of interest, given that theres about a million threads about suitable defence etc, do we know if anybody has EVER been taken to task, ie prosecuted etc for failing to ensure a buyer has a suitable defence ?

Just wondered ?

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i think as long as the seller knows the buyer well enough to satisfy themselves that they're legit it's fine. ukara is just an easy proof that you're an airsofter to strangers, especially when ordering online.

 

my local shop hasn't checked me for ukara for ages, but then they know me well enough by now that they don't feel they need to.

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3 hours ago, Gepard said:

Would it hold up in court.. Who knows?

 

If you can prove with evidence through social and online activity then I believe yes it would and could stand up in a court of law. Especialy if you show them your poor bloody bank balance, they'll be like "Yeah either this guy is an airsofter or has a problem with having any money in his bank account!?"

 

I'll just add that as I am lazy, often not skirmishing for 4 weeks at a time, I haven't managed to get myself on the UKARA database yet. It isn't something that bothers me. The only thing I bought new that required it was the springer and was hapy for them to two-tone it, takes an afternoon to revert. (Especialy if you do it as son as it turns up as the paint is still like a plastic film;pro-tips.)

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On the specifics of the question that the buyer is legitimate with a defence but the seller has not asked to see evidence, then it would be a very slim chance of needing to justify the sale against the VCRA

 

Ive not heard of any RIF prosecution under the VCRA, only retailers having concern about their position

It has cropped up for Paintball retailers raising their own concerns with realistic mag fed Paintball in recent years, and many years before RAP4UK created their own voluntary scheme

(They were first criticised that VCRA doesn’t cover Paintball until they revealed the details of a study visit from the Police Chief Constables)

 

As they considered RIFs had been sold without a defence being requested but took no action by to recommend the retailer think about the possibility of them coming back, and with no VCRA airsoft RIF prosecution having taken place then there is no offence commited by the seller for failing to check 

But if someone was caught doing a bad deed with a RIF, they had no defence and had bought since the act came into effect then the seller would be an easy target

If they had a defence but still acted as a dick then that’s not the sellers issue (unless they stated their intent)

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As above, it won't be an issue.

 

But in principle, it's always an offence to sell a RIF.

 

If you can't show that when you sold the RIF that you did so solely for the purposes of, etc., you'll have a hard time adducing a defence later.

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First airsoft gun I bought was for something we were filming at uni. They didn’t ask for a letter from the university, but then again we’d already shot some of it with actual firearms with blanks in Dubai at the sister campus, and I was on the phone to them in the shop trying to work out exactly what models they’d used for continuity, so it was fairly obvious that I didn’t just wander in off the street looking for a gun.

 

I think, but don’t quote me, it comes down to the sellers judgement, and it is best to err on the side of caution - hence running UKARA through the system when someone buys one for airsoft. I’ve sold airsoft guns to people who didn’t have UKARA, but always contacted their regular site directly to ascertain that they are known to them as a regular player. Sometimes that annoys the buyer, but as I say, err on the side of caution, especially on forum sales where you’re not for example in a shop on the phone to a film production student as they trawl through footage in the editing room looking for model numbers and notes from set. If I was working in the shop, I’d probably have asked for a headed letter from the university course leader or lecturer, but that’s just me. 

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The buyer doesn’t need a defence, they’re not committing a crime.  

 

The seller can be provided with a defence by the buyer evidencing themselves to be a player.

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3 hours ago, jcheeseright said:

The buyer doesn’t need a defence, they’re not committing a crime.  

 

The seller can be provided with a defence by the buyer evidencing themselves to be a player.

 

Depends on age, if buyer is under 18 then it is illegal for them to buy or to sell to them. 

 

The buyer needs a valid defence in order to buy a RIF.

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On 27/06/2018 at 22:12, Jedi_Master said:

 

Depends on age, if buyer is under 18 then it is illegal for them to buy or to sell to them. 

 

The buyer needs a valid defence in order to buy a RIF.

 

No, the buyer doesn’t need a defence against prosecution, the buyer is not committing a crime.

 

the SELLER is committing a crime and so needs the buyer to provide them with evidence that they’re a skirmisher/reenactor/filmmaker etc which the SELLER can use as a defence against prosecution for the crime of selling a RIF

 

Under 18s are kinda irrelevant since it’s illegal for them to buy and illegal to sell to them, there’s no defence for either party in the case of being under age. 

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On 27/06/2018 at 22:12, Jedi_Master said:

 

Depends on age, if buyer is under 18 then it is illegal for them to buy or to sell to them. 

 

The buyer needs a valid defence in order to buy a RIF.

 

6 hours ago, jcheeseright said:

 

No, the buyer doesn’t need a defence against prosecution, the buyer is not committing a crime.

 

the SELLER is committing a crime and so needs the buyer to provide them with evidence that they’re a skirmisher/reenactor/filmmaker etc which the SELLER can use as a defence against prosecution for the crime of selling a RIF

 

Under 18s are kinda irrelevant since it’s illegal for them to buy and illegal to sell to them, there’s no defence for either party in the case of being under age. 

There’s a subtle element of language there, with the VCRA definition of ‘defence’ and the English language

 

The VCRA has ‘defence’ as the buyers valid purpose to purchase a RIF, but the buyer is

not subject to any crime in the purchase so need not defend (English) themselves from a VCRA purchase. 

 

The seller is liable under the VCRA. So it is the seller who could face prosecution under the VCRA and if so would need to defend (English) their position that they reasonably believed that the buyer had a ‘defence’ (VCRA definition)

 

(Manufacture / modify is different, but that’s not the topic)

 

 

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Just to jump in with a question from a newbie, but a scenario that could possibly occur within the OP’s example.

 

What if a site has a shop, and a newcomer plays one game, buys a membership to the site, but doesn’t fulfill the UKARA criteria, and is sold a RIF

 

A see a lot of sites near me advertise that their membership packages include being put on the retailer database.

 

It’s kind of by-the-by, because if you’ve played one game and then bought a membership, you’re very likely going to be attending more than two games in the next 56 days, but still. 

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42 minutes ago, Nodnol said:

Just to jump in with a question from a newbie, but a scenario that could possibly occur within the OP’s example.

 

What if a site has a shop, and a newcomer plays one game, buys a membership to the site, but doesn’t fulfill the UKARA criteria, and is sold a RIF

 

A see a lot of sites near me advertise that their membership packages include being put on the retailer database.

 

It’s kind of by-the-by, because if you’ve played one game and then bought a membership, you’re very likely going to be attending more than two games in the next 56 days, but still. 

 

Should the law question the airsoft site/shop about it, they must prove they believed one of the defences applied:

 

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/38/section/37

 

If 'the law' never asks that question, who's to say if its not applicable. 

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49 minutes ago, Nodnol said:

What if a site has a shop, and a newcomer plays one game, buys a membership to the site, but doesn’t fulfill the UKARA criteria, and is sold a RIF?

 

My local site does exactly this, but doesn’t allow you to take the RIF home until you have a valid defence

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13 minutes ago, Sacarathe said:

 

Should the law question the airsoft site/shop about it, they must prove they believed one of the defences applied:

 

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/38/section/37

 

If 'the law' never asks that question, who's to say if its not applicable. 

 

Hence why I see a lot of ifs and maybes with this subject, because no-ones actually been charged with any offense relating to this and Airsoft RIF’s? 

 

It’s like there’s a line somewhere, but no one is quite sure where it is. Something like UKARA is sensible enough, but outside of that there seems a lot of potential...wiggle room? 

 

Why isn’t it more black and white like air rifles/FAC? (That’s rhetorical before I hijack the thread). 

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18 minutes ago, Nodnol said:

Why isn’t it more black and white like air rifles/FAC? (That’s rhetorical before I hijack the thread). 

 

It's pretty black and white when you think about it from that perspective: "air rifles/FAC" are about function - the restriction to airsoft gun is (in this context) only about appearance, you can gut an airsoft RIF of all the internals and that won't change a thing legally.

 

The sale of RIF is illegal:

 

Quote

It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 36 in respect of any conduct to show that the conduct was for the purpose only of making the imitation firearm in question available for one or more of the purposes specified in subsection (2).

 

I think the language here makes it insurmountable. It's just badly written - and completely unclear how "to show" and whether the observer (the law) will hold that any evidence given must be objective or subjective. 

 

Which is why I do think it matters whether the retailer has a "belief". UKARA is not reliable because when you look someone up on the database you only have a "belief" that they're entitled to be there.

 

 

It's not worth anyone's time to think about it because in practice it only comes down to one thing: "does the seller believe the buyer will use the RIF for airsoft".

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A question as a little aside:
If you no longer skirmish, can you keep your RIFs legally?

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5 minutes ago, sonofsammo said:

A question as a little aside:
If you no longer skirmish, can you keep your RIFs legally?

 

Yes.

 

There are only restrictions on selling, importing, "making" and using in crimes. Ownership is not examined - although possession by locale is sort of... 

 

Technically speaking I believe there's something in the 1968 Firearms act about not being able to transport (between two locations) a RIF without a good reason.

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18 minutes ago, Sacarathe said:

 

It's pretty black and white when you think about it from that perspective: "air rifles/FAC" are about function - the restriction to airsoft gun is (in this context) only about appearance, you can gut an airsoft RIF of all the internals and that won't change a thing legally.

 

The sale of RIF is illegal:

 

 

I think the language here makes it insurmountable. It's just badly written - and completely unclear how "to show" and whether the observer (the law) will hold that any evidence given must be objective or subjective. 

 

Which is why I do think it matters whether the retailer has a "belief". UKARA is not reliable because when you look someone up on the database you only have a "belief" that they're entitled to be there.

 

 

It's not worth anyone's time to think about it because in practice it only comes down to one thing: "does the seller believe the buyer will use the RIF for airsoft".

 

Oh it definitely seems badly written, but the fact that it relies on belief is the funny bit. Not complaining because it obviously allows people to enjoy this sport, but it is interesting. 

 

 

Thank you you for the clarification! 

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3 hours ago, Nodnol said:

the fact that it relies on belief is the funny bit

 

Belief about the future, at that.  Past performance is not an indicator, and all that.  Guilty by default, "sufficient evidence of [the defence must be] adduced to raise an issue with respect to it" rather than the State being required to prove their case first: I loathe this sort of legislation.

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9 hours ago, Nodnol said:

Just to jump in with a question from a newbie, but a scenario that could possibly occur within the OP’s example.

 

What if a site has a shop, and a newcomer plays one game, buys a membership to the site, but doesn’t fulfill the UKARA criteria, and is sold a RIF

 

A see a lot of sites near me advertise that their membership packages include being put on the retailer database.

 

It’s kind of by-the-by, because if you’ve played one game and then bought a membership, you’re very likely going to be attending more than two games in the next 56 days, but still. 

For the legislation under the VCRA it would be pretty much good enough to become a member of a site. 

But if a site added new players directly to the UKARA database when they just signed up to site membership then they would not be complying with UKARA procedures

 

Just because a site advertises that site membership includes UKARA registrarion that does not mean they put you on the list immeadiatley - they could just as well be adding the player to the sites membership list and then adding to UKARA once the criteria has been met 

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