In August 2010, Roland Fejes (an airsoft skirmisher and now member of UKAPU) attempted to import a Deepfire M72 LAW. The Deepfire M72 LAW is a high quality airsoft replica but ordinary in function, using moscart type airsoft ‘grenades’. These are commonly imported to the UK as they are a replica which you are permitted to import or buy when you are entitled to the skirmishers specific defence under the Violent Crime Reduction Act.

To Roland’s surprise, his replica was seized when it passed through customs and his house subsequently raided by a counter terrorism unit in order to check that he did not have ‘any other prohibited weapons’. Roland was given no paperwork to explain the situation and no notice of seizure. When he was contacted by the Police he was aggressively bullied and threatened with nonsensical charges including firearms and terrorism offences in an attempt to scare him away from seeking his legal rights. He was accused of importing a re-activated real launcher.

Clearly a fundamental mistake had been made – on top of which something was very wrong with the way the authorities were handling this situation. As a normal player with no legal expertise Roland did not know how to approach this, so one of our members suggested he get in contact with us at UK Airsoft Players Union. One of the key roles we have set for UKAPU is defending individual airsoft skirmishers against prejudice in the system.

Over the course of 6 months UKAPU used our knowledge, contacts and community standing to fight this injustice. Eventually UKAPU convinced a senior Police officer to drop talk of terrorism charges, at which point UK Border Agency and Scotland Yard began disputing the legality of airsoft skirmishers importing moscart devices. Again our considered protest won through, and by UKAPU persistently refusing to let this issue drop Roland had his item returned to him this week! By this, the Police have admitted that they were wrong to prevent him importing this airsoft replica, that the harassment was unjustified and that the charges were unfounded.

Everyone who has joined UKAPU has contributed to this latest victory; We were only able to force the powers that be to respect Roland’s rights because of the strength that our members have lent to UKAPU by joining, so they should give themselves a pat on the back! United, we Airsofters can stand up for each other, so if you haven’t joined yet then please look at our website – we will need your support in the next fight!

Matt Furey-King