A few weeks back Frank, Tim, David and I (Chair UKARA, Chair ATB, Vice Chair UKAPU, Chair UKAPU respectively) were invited by the Home Office for a symposium on the 2015/0269 EU firearms proposal, along with the rest of the UK firearms lobby. 2015/0269 is the European law change that would have effectively eliminated airsoft in Europe by reclassifying all replicas as firearms. Things are much the same as they were last month, i.e.. the airsoft lobby (the European Airsoft Association represents UKAPU in this regard) got a number of amendments in, which have been seemingly well received, that will reverse all the stuff in the proposal about replicas. The draft 2 of the proposal doesn’t include anything about reclassifying replicas as firearms (although some people are still seeking to put it back in). We took the opportunity to ask the Home Office to keep in mind that replicas should not be classed as firearms, and indications are that they agree and are happy with the pro replica amendments that have been put forward.
Actually this new ‘Draft 2’ doesn’t mean a great deal and all the recommendations and amendments could ultimately be thrown out. There’s been discussions by more EU committees than I can keep track of and at the moment there’s 847 amendments in play for this proposal! The vote will be at the end of June after which the Parliament and Commission will sit down and negotiate the final document. We’ll probably soon be asking you to guide your MEPs towards voting for our amendments. EAA are still working to make sure gas replicas aren’t accidentally caught up in the new definition of a firearm and I believe UK Conservative MEP Vicky Ford is assisting in that endeavour.
The proposal is still complete rubbish though and will seriously harm the firearms industry and in particular owners of deactivated firearms so please don’t forget about the plight of our cousins in the real firearms world.
In regards to the Policing and Crime Bill 2015/16 the airsoft lobby is still working diligently. At the moment you could say we are still throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks, which is why we haven’t yet asked you to lobby your representatives. Positive progress has been made by the combined UK airsoft lobby this week and we hope we’ll be able tell you all about it soon.
For various reasons the PCB is probably not going to be finalised and enacted until the very end of the year.
Dispute his herculean efforts our Press Officer, Will Nowell, didn’t manage to meet Lynn Brown (the Labour MP who called airsofters ‘weird’ and ‘potential terrorists’ last month). Although she promised to meet him and Will made himself known and available for a whole week, a meeting was not forthcoming. Still though, I think through this and other channels Ms. Brown has got the message that airsofters are legitimate law abiding sportsmen who won’t stand idly by and let people defame our hobby.
Scotland is due to be covered by the new 1.3J/2.5J exception when the PCB comes into force alongside the new air gun act (hooray). Northern Ireland will still be restricted to 1J (boo).
As ever please keep supporting your representatives (if you are a player that’s us http://ukapu.org.uk/join/ ) and keep spreading the word about what is going on. Too many people think that the airsoft status quo is safe because we are ignored by the outside world. It isn’t, and we’re not.
My trip to London wasn’t all work though as I managed to swing by the Imperial War Museum for a couple of hours before my flight back to Aberdeen. Inside the museum I found a DH3 UAV that I used to work on, which made me feel a bit old!
Matt Furey-King, Chairman UKAPU