So, what is it?

The Scotland Bill is legislation that aims to hand control of taxes and other powers to the Scottish Government.

Why does this affect UK Airsoft Skirmishers?

One of the “other powers” would be to shift control of low-powered Airguns to the Scottish Government. These plans could give the Scottish Government the power to license or prohibit low-powered Airguns completely. The proposal to devolve Airgun law to Scotland originated in the Calman Commission recommendations.

Airsoft Replicas aren’t Airguns though?

You’re correct. As the law stands today this is true, however to devolve Airgun law the Government will have to define exactly what an Airgun is (and what it isn’t). While there is an upper power limit defined, no lower power limit currently exists. Airsoft Replicas have come under increased scrutiny from the Home Office over the last year with increased pressure to define at what power Airsoft Replicas become “lethal”. This limit for lethality must be established before the power is devolved.

But I’m not Scottish…

We would hope that all UK Airsoft Skirmishers could see the significance of this proposed change. Even if you aren’t concerned with changes that may happen in Scotland, it is a UK law that will define lethality and will therefore affect everyone.

So, what next?

The Home Office has pushed for an upper limit of 1J (328fps with a 0.2g BB). However, it is UKAPUs intention to work alongside UKARA and UKASGB to find a safe and acceptable upper power level for Airsoft Replicas rather than an arbitrary limit. If all three associations can put their combined weight behind our findings then we stand a chance of influencing the decisions made by the Home Office and secure a safe future for Airsoft Skirmishing in the UK. If you want to have a say in this as a player then we would encourage you to sign up as a UKAPU member. Annual membership is available via the UKAPU website for £5. Our member’s opinion is important and entitles you to vote for the UKAPU committee. You can also have a say in the direction that UKAPU will move regarding the Scotland Bill and other issues.

But why shouldn’t we be happy with 328fps?

The primary reason is that you will be prevented for importing or using any AEG firing over (or near) the imposed limit. To do so would constitute possessing a section 5 firearm which means that you are guilty of breaking the law in the same way as someone who illegally possesses a real automatic assault rifle. You would not be able to downgrade the increasingly powerful Taiwanese and Chinese replicas in country. In addition there would be no concession for high powered sniper rifles, they would become air rifles in the eyes of the law.

The Home Office has always wished to see an upper limit of 1J (328fps with a 0.2g BB). However, it is UKAPUs intention to work alongside UKARA and UKASGB to find a safe and acceptable upper power level for Airsoft Replicas rather than an arbitrary limit. As an individual your voice is not of interest to the powers that be, but if players band together for a common goal and act centrally then we stand a greater chance of influencing the decisions made by the Home Office to secure a safe future for Airsoft Skirmishing in the UK. If you want to have a say in this as a player then we would encourage you to sign up as a UKAPU member. Annual membership is available via the UKAPU website for £5. Our member’s opinions are important and will be taken into account as the UKAPU committee moves this issue forwards. You can also have a say in the direction that UKAPU will move regarding the Scotland Bill and other issues.

Note – Current definition of a Low-Powered Airgun is currently rifles which shoot under 12ft/lbs and pistols under 6ft/lbs.