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magicaldr

Airsoft Action - National Shooters Show and VCRA

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Not sure who has read this months Airsoft Action, but there is a rather disturbing report re this years national shooting show and the impact on the airsoft retailers of VCRA. For the full article you need to buy the mag, but it ends with the real fact that people who can buy real firearms, indeed were buying real ones for themselves and their kids could not understand why they could not buy a toy RIF. Blaming not the government, but the retailer with a tirade of abuse. As the article states, this cant be good when young players who we need as the next generation are so impacted...

 

I thought it may be worth having a debate in an open forum such as this on Airsofter's views, not so much on the act itself, that been done to death (and if this becomes a bun fight the mods will just rightly lock it). However just because we have the VCRA doesn't mean we cant discuss ways to improve it, our response to it as a community, a bit of navel gazing on if we can do anything to make things better ending a letter to say Airsoft Action from us and maybe some lobbying?

 

So what struck me while thinking about this to start the ball rolling? Well for one thing our friends in paintball don't have this problem... Despite very'real' markers (Have a look here "http://www.elitepaintballguns.com/category/ariakon/") so where did we pick it up from? One thing which may sound silly but could be a factor is language. They do have paintball guns, but they are just as often called 'markers'. We call our guns 'weapons' and 'guns', maybe one reason we get the bad end of the stick as often as we do??

 

Paintball also was/is expensive, airsoft guns gained loads of cheap plastic springers that looked 'scary' in a world where we are taught all guns are bad, for bad people, this no doubt didn't help. Its also why we come down as a community so hard on anyone 'playing' with RIF's in a public place. Add in the blank firing guns that could be converted into real firearms and we should not be surprised we copped it.

 

We with UKARA have some advantages over gun buyers, we can buy on the internet, they cant. However as shown at the shooting show the defence limitation to skirmisher or re-enactor is not a great system. Those in the armed forces, those with 'real' shotgun and other gun licenses, etc. cant understand why they cant buy these 'toys'.

 

Even 'normal' people can walk into a gun shop and by a CO2 air pistol that looks like a real steel firearm over the counter firing air rifle pellets that will injure. (Over 18 with ID of course). However that same person could not buy a 'replica' of the same firearm that harmlessly shoots 6mm BB's, apparently to prevent violent crime. If that's not something worth campaigning on not sure what is, but what do you ask for?

 

We don't want to restrict our air pistol / rifle users any more, we just need to see if there something that still answers the calls of those who thought up VCRA, while making life easier on the airsoft user / retailer.

  • Should we add exemptions for parents of registered under 18 skirmishers, that would certainly solve a lot for under 18 players who can only get RIF's as a gift?
  • Could we include an exemption for our armed forces, a nice if small thank you for putting their lives on the line for us?
  • Could we allow for face to face sales in registered shops, akin to firearms / air pistol rules (over 18, with ID) without needing UKARA but maintaining the need of UKARA for internet/private sales?

 

Over to everyone else for thoughts?

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dont really want that first one but if we could say look skirmish X Time's and only have a hard to Change bit not a bright two tone colour but you know something quick to recognise and for every blighter Defence or not (IF's) should have orange tip's like the US that may only be removed on an official skirmish site and the last two i like but then i'm waiting to join and i'm a gun Nut any way

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Restricted Airsoft Gun

icsmp5a4-role-sniper.jpg

 

Unrestricted Paintball Gun

Gun-AO-08SIM5PE.jpg

 

I smell hypocrisy

 

It doesn't seem right, I can understand way the old style of paintball guns are unrestricted they look like plumbing but the new models are clearly replicas of automatic rifles

 

As for air rifles I dont understand why there still on sell in the uk every year there is a story of prat shooting at someone instead of something

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Is it ridiculous, but if we make a fuss, someone will take it too far or get pissed off and then they'll just ban it completely without a second thought.

 

Don't fix it if it ain't broke. The system works. Albeit in a rather stupid, broken, hypocritical way, but I'm coping with it fine and changes can be for the worse as well as for the better.

 

I'd vote for leaving it as it is. Though I do very, very strongly agree that the replica air pistol thing is incredibly stupid.

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I was thinking about what was said on this page especially the part about how paintball guns are called markers and it occurred to me, Maybe we shoud stop calling are kit "Guns" There's a lot of understandable negativity with the word,

 

But what could we call them?

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Pew Pew's or 'brraaaap brraaappp' or ratatat'ers

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Pew Pew's or 'brraaaap brraaappp' or ratatat'ers

 

Funny

 

 

 

how about "Airsoft Projectors"

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Going on the theme that no one seems to have issues with paintball and the term paintball markers, why not call our 'guns' airsoft markers

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because there is no paint to mark with and the paintballs would love that :P

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Why not call them, airsoft replicas?

 

It's true and it doesn't denote violence. Plus, it doesn't sound completely stupid like "airsoft projectors" lol.

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I know what your saying Ed but do you not think some gun manufacturers will have a problem with calling non licensed airsoft guns "replicas"

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They are replicas though.

 

It doesn't matter if they have the trade marks or not because either way they still don't fire real rounds so it's not like they're 100% replicas even WITH trades.

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Model and replica still makes you think of gun (ie Model Gun or gun replica)

 

Mind we are looking to change the way non-airsofters look at the sport

 

I know the idea is simple and maybe silly sounding but if it helps to remove some of the negativity surrounding airsoft then why not try it?

 

 

You may not like my 1st idea of Airsoft Projector but I think its a good example of what we would need its completely dissociated for the word gun and it's descriptive of what it is (sort of :P )

 

So do you think the idea is sound and is there any more suggestion?

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the whole sound thing does have a good point, i pretty much always say airsoft gun and not just gun when talking about them anyway.

 

its like anything else, there will always be the minority who abuse the system and there is no 100% foolproof way of doing it.

personally i think banning the sale of two tones would raise the bar, people actually having to get their licence and prove they are skirmishers/ re-enactors before they get anything like an airsoft gun. at the moment any one can walk into a shop, buy an orange replica, strip and paint it and they have a realistic looking one

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Yea Pirate thats a good idea but also implement Orange Tips for when off site

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Yea Pirate thats a good idea but also implement Orange Tips for when off site

 

most guns come with the orange stoppers, and in chingrish it does say you should use them when not in use

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none of mine did...

 

might be china soft ones then, my mp40 did but thompson didnt now i think about it.

 

we have to carry them concealed anyway, so orange tips would not do a great deal of difference when the replicas are in bags anyway

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Thanks for all the comments, just sort of debate I was hoping to kick off :) Few of my thoughts below to hopefully keep ideas flowing:

 

Orange Tips as in barrel plug are common in real world firearms and paintball. There are also 'shoot off' dust covers for military rifles, so sadly they wont really help ID you as carrying a non lethal weapon. The US use orange tips as in flash hider like we use 51% of bright colour. So not sure they would help us either, it was something I think they considered and dropped for the 51% thing.

 

The laws on replica's or real guns used in crime remain identical as an aside, from my understanding it is the fear you create, not if you use a 'real' weapon to create that fear that is the crime in armed robbery or similar.

 

One thing I have always found odd is that the VCRA has the same laws on IF's and RIF's in a public place in terms of penalty (which go above existing gun laws), seems to negate the point of IF's being easily recognised as not real?? If they are clearly not real, there can be no threat, so why have the law with massive penalties? Doesn't apply to most of us since we have RIF's as skirmishers so would always keep them covered/hidden, but is an anomaly.

 

On a name for our 'toys', I do think there is a lot of power in how you describe something. A name is important and it brings with it a whole load of pre-conceptions. Say 'Gun' and people instantly have a lot of negative feeling. Say 'water fight' and its a whole new ballgame. I tend to describe skirmishes as like a big water fight without the water, since this is the atmosphere in the good games, everyone grinning and having fun!

 

We are saddled with the government names of RIF and IF which contain the word 'Firearm', worse than 'Gun' in most peoples eyes. Ok its after the word 'imitation', but people will hone in on the scary bit and see these as weapons. Despite the fact the whole point of them is to be safe as possible and not harm anyone, not the case with weapons which by definition do cause harm and are meant to!

 

I would suggest the name 'Tagger' or 'Airsoft Tagger', since that's what we use them for. Like paintball use 'markers', you are tagged out in airsoft. You could still have Airsoft Realistic Tagger and Airsoft Non Realistic Tagger (ART and ANRT anyone?) if we want to mirror the Goverment's imposed names, but it seems more disarming than 'Gun' or 'Firearm'.

 

Start using 'tag' rather than 'kill', knife tag as an example. This may be going too far, but we have to see airsoft from the view of the parent who has spent their life being told how dangerous knives and guns are thinking of letting their child go to the airsoft party. When they come back talking of knife kills it not going to help us as a cause.

 

This is a hearts and minds battle, the reality is a load of people running around a wood or building at a skirmish with airsoft gear cant and wont hurt anyone, whatever they look like (and some look pretty scary if they doing it right...). Anything we can do to swing the debate away from the 'these people play with guns and killing' to these people play a game like laser quest is likely to help keep more regulation at bay and make the chances for concessions on what is there possible.

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I still don't think it's worth altering anything.

 

You talk about parents getting the wrong impression, how are they getting any impression at all until they've either played the game or have been told about it? It's entirely down to the person who first tells someone new about the sport to ensure that the person they're talking to doesn't get the wrong impression, then it's down to site owners and players to ensure it doesn't come across as violent and aggressive, which is almost completely impossible when what we're doing is wearing replica military gear, shooting each other with replica military equipment.

 

It is what it is and people are always going to see it so. Trying to dress it up as something else is completely pointless.

 

People who want to play will, people who don't want to play won't, this debate seems to have become an ideas board for how to make non-airsofters want to play by showing them that it isn't dangerous or aggressive or violent. Don't change the game for the sake of people who aren't interested, that's just stupid.

 

How is changing what we, as a forum, refer to things as going to help change anything? The rest of the airsoft community will still refer to everything as we do at the moment, so there's just no point.

 

Plus, it's not like airsoft is a sport that gets a lot of media attention, I was 17 before I'd even heard about it. We don't need to tone anything down, or change anything, or make any appeals. It works the way it is, let's just continue letting it work.

 

If we ought to moan about anything at all, it's that ALL replica weapons are treated like airsoft ones are. You need a defence to have it in real colours, otherwise it has to be two tone. That should go for air guns, airsoft guns and deactivated real guns. As it really is ridiculous that replica paintball and air guns don't have to be two toned or hard to get hold of when they are without a doubt, far more damaging and dangerous.

 

Edit:

 

Also, you say that in paintball the guns are referred to as 'markers'? I think that's definitely something that people involved in paintballing say, people who don't go paintballing and just have the occasional talk about it with their mates, like me, always call them paintball guns.

So paintballers aren't gaining anything by calling their guns markers because paintballers are the only people that do it, non-paintballers call them paintball guns.

 

As you say, paintballers aren't in the same predicament, but I'm 100% certain it isn't down to the language used within, or with regard to the sport.

 

Airsofting will get bad press simply because it's the most realistic way to replicate war, the guns are more realistic, you can wear replica clothing as well because you aren't going to get paint all over it, the guns can go further and are more accurate, you can't see the projectiles as easily, protection isn't as big an issue etc etc.

 

To put it simply, we can't make people see airsofting as anything other than what it is. So what's the point trying? The only way to change how people view it, is to change it and if we change it, the people involved in it will change as well.

 

Edit 2:

 

Just saw this link on a page I liked a while ago on Facebook: http://www.airsoft-squared.com/post/371/ai...needs-your-help

 

If winning hearts and minds and giving the sport a positive voice to be heard by the media is what people think we need to push for, then this documentary project might be something worth looking at.

 

It's based in the UK so we could try and get the forum involved or something?

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I found a lot of that to be narrow viewpoint Ed

 

Part of the reason why airsoft is lacking Media is because of the way we are looked at, Airsoft is new to the UK when compared with other sports, As such people are not used to seeing guys with gun running around the woods real or not and we are only talking about simple ideas that would help change the public face of airsoft in the uk and would have zero impact on airsofters

 

I think education is always the better way but we are talking about the masses, A person is educated, people are dumb panicky and too prone to knee jerk reactions

 

No one said anything about us on AFUK doing this by ourselves we are just talking about ideas if we wanted to move it forward we can look at doing things like talking it to other forums and youtube channels to get a wider view of what the airsoft community thinks and then there is The United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association

 

In your 1st post you made it sound like you were happy to do inaction and I dont think thats what you intended I hate the sound of it so much I find myself quoting better man than us ....

 

"Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it." -Mahatma Gandhi

 

As for the link you posted I love it, Some friends and I are starting a mix media group, we were thinking of doing some like this to go along with other projects next year if we get the funding for are new £2000 camera but I glad to see someone with more experience do it

 

Are you planing to make a new topic ask people to back it?

 

PS Sorry I took me so long to post back to you but I have bit of a migraine today :(

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It's not so much that I'm narrow minded, I'm probably one of the most open minded people you'll ever meet. It's that I don't see a tremendous problem where the rest of you do. The system works, sure there's a few things that could be tweaked, but as I said, change can go either way and I figure we might as well make the most of it whilst it's working. Also, I've not met anyone yet who's had a negative or aggressive attitude towards airsofting once I've explained to them what it is.

 

About 90% of the people I mention it to have never even heard of it, meaning there is nothing at all to give anyone a negative opinion of it, most people just see it as paintballing but with better looking guns, which is hardly a negative impression.

 

If we're going to do anything, we ought to get airsofting noticed by the media in the first place, 'cos as it stands I think I've only ever seen airsofting in the paper once and on TV once. In the paper it was an article about how there's a tax difference between real firearms and airsoft guns and how the tax ought to be made them same because law enforcement and the military use these so called, 'toys' to train with. The argument was that the toys must be firearms as well if they're being used as stand-ins for actual ones.

That isn't really putting a positive or negative spin on anything.

The TV show was the gadget show and airsofting wasn't even the main focus, it was part of an adventure day and thus was hardly covered at all, but was shown as being part of something that was definitely a good and fun thing.

 

So there is no reason for people to gain a negative opinion, as we're all assuming people do. I also have no experience of talking to people who know of it and hate it for some reason other than them being a paintballer and no experience of people learning of it from me for the first time considering it bad in any way either.

 

Also there is the fact that in the grand scheme of things, airsofting is NEW, very new, especially in the UK. Maybe it just hasn't fully caught on yet.

In the link I posted it says on the first page that airsofting is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, if not the fastest. We just need to give it another 5 years and everything will probably sort itself out.

 

Most of the people I talk to about it think it sounds sad or childish if anything, I just don't fully see this agenda you're proposing everyone has, it's all speculation.

 

I wasn't planning on making another thread, I'm a little too busy to keep tabs on it and I'm not really one for pushing this issue forward.

 

Feel free to make one yourself and use the link though.

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Hi Ed,

 

I respect your thoughts, I didn't start the thread assuming (or wanting) everyone to agree :) Would not be much of a discussion if we did.

 

The VCRA was designed to kill off RIF sales totally in the UK, which would have seriously harmed airsoft as a sport. The government of the time did bow eventually and we got our exemption which remains a lifeline that keeps shops afloat. However I would still argue that this exemption is too tight and hurts us as a sport by hurting those who supply us.

 

We have all seen the impact on kids who cant buy RIF's, some live with it and play 2tone, others (like mine) are lucky their dad is an airsoft nut so has a UKARA reg for them and deep enough pockets to gift them RIF's. However many just give up, they don't like the 2 tone stigma and their camo being ruined by the bright green, orange or whatever rifle.

 

As was shown in the article its mad that guys who can buy real firearms cant buy an imitation of the same thing. Same problem for the police, armed forces, in fact people who could pass for real firearms if they could be bothered with the whole "safe" thing and rounds of police checks.

 

I don't think we can lobby for the removal of the VCRA, it does at least stop cheap nasty (£5) realistic stuff flying into hands of total yobs or kids and the risks that brings when armed response is round the corner in our rather paranoid society. (A whole other debate on if we should be so scared and why we are. When chances of seeing a 'real' assault rifle on the streets unless in the arms of the Police are extremely small)

 

I also dont think we should be pushing the VCRA onto our paintballing friends or air target / hunting cousins (who obviously use real weapons). VCRA is hurting us and we dont want to hurt them. They dont have the same curse of very cheap weapons and the rules for their sales are properly enforced, specialist shops and over 18 face to face with ID for an air-rifle, etc.

 

What we can do is lobby, yes it could get worse but do you really think the 'anti guns' groups are not lobbying so if we keep quiet it will all stay the same? On the lobby front I would suggest threads like this, followed by letters to larger groups, like UKARA body who do lobby, airsoft mags, local paper highlighting a local airsoft site and its positive work, local MP's, etc.

 

Lets makes some noise, but first lets see if we can agree what that noise should be at least in principle. Does 'gun' have too many negative bits of baggage? I think so, as I think we can change the VCRA for the better by opening up the ability for people to join UKARA via a law change on the exemptions. The mere act of registration and controlling points of sale would seem enough to achieve the basic control aim, while not achieving its other original aim of destroying RIF sales.

 

How do laws get changed, by lobbying your MP and by changing the perception in the public so the next survey the government (we have a new one now of course) runs is not so negative about this hobby / sport...

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Fair enough. I do support the ideas you're putting forward, I just don't feel anything will become of it.

 

Also, my MP is Nick Clegg... So y'know lol.

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