We’ve been asked about the new Met Police firearms surrender campaign.
One of the things they police are asking people to do is hand in Airsoft Replicas because they are ‘dangerous’. UKAPU refutes this assertion. Replicas can create a dangerous situation if you do something foolish like brandishing them in public, but we believe that educating people on how to use them legitimately is a more effective way to prevent incidents. We would also like to see the police or another body take responsibility for following up on traders who sell replicas to members of the public who can’t buy them legally.
If anyone is confused about whether it is legal to possess a realistic imitation firearm (RIF) or imitation firearm (IF), you should know that there are no laws which punish ownership. Buying and selling them is a bit trickier though, as this is restricted by the Violent Crime Reduction Act (VCRA 2006).
You can sell an IF (two tone) to anyone over 18 years old.
You can’t legally sell a RIF to most people but you are allowed to sell one to an airsoft player over 18 years old (Regulation 3 of SI 2606). To check that they are a genuine player, you could ask their local site if they are registered, or ask a retailer to see if their site membership is registered on the UKARA, PASS or BAC databases. There’s some other people that can buy RIFs but I won’t go into that today.
If you only carry your airsoft replica to games (and keep it covered on the way), and only use it on insured, organised game sites, you won’t be breaking any laws and have nothing to worry about.
You can find a list of organised sites on http://www.airsoftmap.net/
If you are still confused about the legal situation, please feel free to drop us a message on the UK Airsoft Players Union Facebook page.
If you are on twitter, make sure you use the #giveupyourgun hashtag alongside #airsoft, and let people know they shouldn’t be giving sports equipment away, they should be bringing it along to an organised site for a friendly and thrilling airsoft skirmish! The hashtag is being pushed by the Met Police for the next fortnight so use it as an opportunity to promote our community in a positive light to the public.
Matt Furey-King, Chairman UKAPU