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Does a real firearm license allow me to not be a UKARA registered player?


Mooseuk
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As the title says. Im have held a firearm license for over a decade now, and was wondering if this means i dont need to be UKARA registered to own a realistically painted airsoft gun. I mean, if im allowed real guns surely im allowed fake guns?

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6 minutes ago, Mooseuk said:

As the title says. Im have held a firearm license for over a decade now, and was wondering if this means i dont need to be UKARA registered to own a realistically painted airsoft gun. I mean, if im allowed real guns surely im allowed fake guns?

 

They are different parts of the law I believe. To buy a RIF you need to acquire a defense. To prove you are an Airsofter you can get a UKARA number which you get playing Airsoft over a certain period of time. Another defense is for use in Cosplay and you can get Cosplay insurance (Though this is far less used by shops). 

 

In short, rightly or wrongly Real guns and Airsoft guns are treated very differently. You cannot use your firearms license. 

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No, your firearms licence is not a valid defense for buying Airsoft replicas.

 

It seems dumb to me but that's the law I'm afraid. 

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@rocketdogbertWell yes, of course they have different uses. But its still odd how a person can be legally trusted to own and operate multiple deadly weapons, but is not trusted with a toy without going through a separate process. I understand they look real, but they are still toys at the end of the day. Also note the only needs a letter from his superior, which would be much easier than being UKARA registered. So special treatment/circumstances do apply sometimes 

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6 minutes ago, Mooseuk said:

That is very odd, but i guess the law is the law. Almost seems like something they forgot or overlooked. Would be interesting if anyone knows the official reason why this is the case. Anyways cheers guys.

It wasn’t overlooked

 

There are many different kinds of ‘firearms’ under the legislation, some require licenses and some don’t.

e.g. Low powered air weapons (air guns) are firearms, and (for most of the UK) don’t require a firearms certificate 

Airsoft would sit there as part of the firearms legislation but I have a quote below which removes airsoft from that legislation (provided it meets the criteria)

The VCRA is a separate piece of legislation which covers Imitation Firearms

Under the VCRA there are IFs and RIFs.  RIFs require a Defence under the act

 

 

We have a detailed discussion on legislation here, and one of my posts quotes section 57A:

 

Exception for airsoft guns
(1)An “airsoft gun” is not to be regarded as a firearm for the purposes of this Act.

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Mooseuk said:

@rocketdogbertWell yes, of course they have different uses. But its still odd how a person can be legally trusted to own and operate multiple deadly weapons, but is not trusted with a toy without going through a separate process. I understand they look real, but they are still toys at the end of the day. Also note the only needs a letter from his superior, which would be much easier than being UKARA registered. So special treatment/circumstances do apply sometimes 

 

UKARA isn’t legally recognised, it’s just a way for Airsoft retailers to protect themselves.

As a seller, all you need to do is satisfy yourself that the purchaser has a reasonable defence to purchase a RIF, and be over 18, that’s it.

Theres no published legal precedent yet either 

 

PS Think of it like this. My car and motorcycle are deadly weapons, so is my knife collection, most of my tools and my partner. All are legally operated with the requisite licenses and permissions, none of which gives me a defence to purchase a RIF

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1 hour ago, Mooseuk said:

@rocketdogbertWell yes, of course they have different uses. But its still odd how a person can be legally trusted to own and operate multiple deadly weapons, but is not trusted with a toy without going through a separate process. I understand they look real, but they are still toys at the end of the day. Also note the only needs a letter from his superior, which would be much easier than being UKARA registered. So special treatment/circumstances do apply sometimes 

No, they are not toys

 

A toy gun does not shoot 

If you look on the side it probably has “this is not a toy” written there

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2 hours ago, Mooseuk said:

@rocketdogbert Also note the only needs a letter from his superior, which would be much easier than being UKARA registered. So special treatment/circumstances do apply sometimes 

It is not ‘special circumstances’ for the police dog handler requiring a letter, it is catered for within the VCRA:

 

The purposes of functions that a person has in his capacity as a person in the service of Her Majesty.

 

 To gain your firearms certificate you were required to justify your need for a firearm or firearms.  I’m fairly certain that you didn’t include shooting people in that application 

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Think of the UKARA as more of a hurdle to thin out those that are not going to use Airsoft RIFs for their intended purpose.

 

If you're serious about owning an Airsoft RIF then simply gain a UKARA by doing what people do when they have a UKARA - Play.

 

It's no big deal and simple to gain the defence required.

 

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9 hours ago, rocketdogbert said:

UKARA isn’t legally recognised, it’s just a way for Airsoft retailers to protect themselves.

As a seller, all you need to do is satisfy yourself that the purchaser has a reasonable defence to purchase a RIF, and be over 18, that’s it.

 

Which is why I'd suggest popping down to your local airsoft shop with your FAC and seeing what they say.  They want to sell RIFs, and while you don't have a defence yet, it's very, very unlikely that you're going to do anything which will mean that it's a problem for them.  No harm in asking.

 

 

9 hours ago, Asomodai said:

Another defense is for use in Cosplay

 

Not unless you argue that's theatrical or reenactment use.  The only retailer who accepts JustCos insurance is Airsoft World in Cowdenbeath, Fife.  JustCos is a joke site which fails to give the bare minimum of contact details, but my belief is that it's also run from Cowdenbeath, Fife.  I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

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14 hours ago, Mooseuk said:

As the title says. Im have held a firearm license for over a decade now, and was wondering if this means i dont need to be UKARA registered to own a realistically painted airsoft gun. I mean, if im allowed real guns surely im allowed fake guns?

 

You don't need a UKARA to own replica imitation firearms. But most places in the UK won't sell you one unless you do. This to ensure that they can use the defense if charged with the offense.

 

But this is academic - the point is the defence is for specific activities and a firearms license wouldn't satisfy anybody reasonable, let alone anyone cautious about being charged with a criminal offense under the VCRA, that you are purchasing the RIF for use in airsoft skirmishing.

 

For all they know you might be merely a firearms enthuiast who wants a replica of a firearm he can't legally own. 

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All true, but there are airgun replicas of firearms than anyone over 18 (and not Scotch) can buy without a FAC or UKARA - and someone with a FAC will know this.

 

Someone with a FAC who is showing an interest in an airsoft gun probably has good intent, and is very, very unlikely to cause a problem for the seller.  They've got two referees, are cleared by their GP, have passed a criminal background check, convinced their Chief Constable of their need, passed a home inspection, have a gun safe, and have photo ID to demonstrate that.  Contrast with a UKARA that may or may not indicate that someone who may or may not be the chap making a cash purchase has spent a few hours hanging around an airsoft site.

 

I'm not encouraging any seller to commit an offence, just noting that it's worth asking them.  I can (but won't) name one who will sell to folk without a UKARA as long as they're satisfied with the intent.

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I get what you are saying - but that essientially comes down to a judge of character, not the FAC itself.

 

We all know the only thing that matters is: Is it for use at an insured event? Anything else is irrelevent and is at best a judgement call. So all things being equal i'd rather sell to someone with about 100 posts on an airsoft forum over someone with an FAC. 

 

As ever - very academic as maybe about a dozen people have fallen foul of s.37. Im just trying to say that having an FAC does not make you king of guns and when it comes to airsoft means FA. And i used to have an FAC so im allowed to say that ;)

 

Fwiw: in many respects getting an FAC was easier then UKARA - yes i had to have an interview bla bla but took a lot less then 3 months and with a lot less driving!

 

Cheers

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2 hours ago, GeorgePlaysAirsoft said:

I get what you are saying - but that essientially comes down to a judge of character, not the FAC itself.

 

Fwiw: in many respects getting an FAC was easier then UKARA - yes i had to have an interview bla bla but took a lot less then 3 months and with a lot less driving!

 

Cheers

 

Getting a FAC is not as easy as just having an interview and waiting a few months.......... For starters you have to prove you have the land and need ie:pest control] and/or an official rifle qualified range to shoot at. The FO in charge of you application would need to visually inspect your land [same as when they confirm your storage is up to code]. This is actually in most cases the hardest part to qualify on. There are not that many official rifle ranges in the country, so unless you are lucky to live near one or have a requirement and space for one on your own land, you most likely you wont get one. Some people require one, such as gamekeepers, which would then mean inspecting your employers land etc. Then of course you need the interview, which is not only a psych eval, but a character eval. Then the usual referees, get your GP to sign off and to officially state you are in good health physically and mentally and so on. 

 

Getting a Shotgun certificate on the other hand is easier to get, but usually 1 because shotguns are not as "lethal" [legally] as rifles. EG: you cant use/qualify for a rifle on your own land if there is no where on your land that is more than 1500 feet away from a road, and its illegal to fire a rifle in the open towards a road that is less than 1.5km away. With a shotgun these ranges are much more reduced [for obvious reasons] and there are many more clay pigeon ranges than rifle ranges. On top of that the ammunition you can get for shotguns is significantly less lethal than even standard rifle ammunition for a .22 long, shotguns pellets are non lethal when ricocheting, coming back down to earth, and cant even penetrate a decent coat over 30 metres.  So long story short, unless you own a substantial amount of land or become a member to one of the few rifle ranges, its very unlikely you would even get past that initial stage. As a side note, i was able to get a shotgun cert at the age of 14 with the sponsorship of my dad who was also shotgun certed. That's not allowed with FAC's under any circumstances.

 

If one can pass the steps to get a FAC there is no logical reason they shouldn't be allowed a BB gun, other than due to specific wording on a law which from the sounds of it is kinda flawed/didnt put into consideration people who have a FAC and wanted to go airsofting!

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Thanks but the police didn't issue me a FAC by mistake!!

 

As for logic - we are talking about replica imitation firearms. Can something logically be both X and a replica of X?.. i dunno!? In anycase we aren't talking about what is logical, rather what is legal. 

 

Anyway - the law does consider people who have an FAC and want to sell/import/manufacture a RIF - it treats them exactly the same as anybody else.

 

The question is: How does an FAC demonstrate that you will be using that RIF for skirmishing (at an insured event) with? It doesn't - that is that.

 

Cheers

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35 minutes ago, GeorgePlaysAirsoft said:

In anycase we aren't talking about what is logical, rather what is legal.

Well thats my point. Its isnt really that logical! 

 

35 minutes ago, GeorgePlaysAirsoft said:

The question is: How does an FAC demonstrate that you will be using that RIF for skirmishing (at an insured event) with? It doesn't - that is that.

Well to be fair on that logic what does anything certification prove some fella isnt going to go get a defence for a bb gun and then sell to someone else unofficially, who then goes on to use the RIF for unsavoury purposes? Nothing really. BB guns are tracked like real FA's are. Doesnt really matter how you spin it, if one has a FAC, one should logically be legally trusted to own a toy gun under the same certification.

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We know, chap, the body of law on firearms and RIFs is a Frankenstein's monster patchwork that really could do with being repealed and replaced by one single statute covering the lot in a consistent fashion.  But that isn't likely to work out in shooters' favour, whatever we're packing.

 

 

3 hours ago, GeorgePlaysAirsoft said:

We all know the only thing that matters is: Is it for use at an insured event?

 

Or the other 6 reasons, but point taken.

 

 

Quote

So all things being equal i'd rather sell to someone with about 100 posts on an airsoft forum over someone with an FAC.

 

I fully agree.  Actually, as a private seller, I'd prefer that to a UKARA number which I can't even personally check is assigned to the buyer.

 

 

 

Quote

As ever - very academic as maybe about a dozen people have fallen foul of s.37.

 

On information, belief, or assumption?

 

I'm not aware of any prosecutions under VCRA, let alone convictions.  I'd love to see some case law.

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^FOIA to home office (though its a few years out of date - was 18 not 12 -my memory is failing me! Apologies for screenshot - best i can whilst having a vape break at work!

 

Edit just noticed in my post i wrote s.37 not s.36 - do bear my many errors in mind should you consider any of my posts to be legal advice haha

 

Cheers

Screenshot_20181218-154940_Word.jpg

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Nice one, thanks.  I fully admit to being surprised that it's so many, and appears to be increasing as they get a taste for it.  One to keep an eye one.

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2 hours ago, Mooseuk said:

If one can pass the steps to get a FAC there is no logical reason they shouldn't be allowed a BB gun, 

Well, tbf, they could have a BB gun that fires 4.5mm steel BBs if they can prove they're over 18.
They just can't have a BB gun that fires 6mm plastic BBs, that's a realistic imitation of a firearm - unless they have a defence as described in the addendum to the VCRA (or whichever bit of legal stuff is relevant).
I don't think logic comes into it anywhere, unfortunately... 

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On 17/12/2018 at 12:18, Tommikka said:

No, they are not toys

 

A toy gun does not shoot 

If you look on the side it probably has “this is not a toy” written there

 

This is a joke right? Airsoft guns are toys and always have been, I remember being able to buy pistols in newsagents!

 

When I wanted to buy my first 'proper' airsoft gun it annoyed me that I could buy a legitimate firearm easier than a toy that shoots plastic BB's, but I understand why UKARA was implemented (although as a reenactor I didn't need it). Still find it a bit stupid though.

5 hours ago, GeorgePlaysAirsoft said:

I get what you are saying - but that essientially comes down to a judge of character, not the FAC itself.

 

 

Playing devil's advocate, my argument to that would be that a large part of getting a FAC/SGC/Explosives is down to judge of character. You need references (as I'm sure you know) and to also pass the 'attitude test' with a Firearms Officer. 

 

 

2 hours ago, GeorgePlaysAirsoft said:

 

The question is: How does an FAC demonstrate that you will be using that RIF for skirmishing (at an insured event) with? It doesn't - that is that.

 

You don't need to use a RIF at an insured event to own or buy one, so it's a null point in my opinion.

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