This article concerns every UK Airsofter and is something we should all be aware of. The threat to Airsoft remains prevalent and continues to put the sport in the spotlight.
Recent weeks have seen firearms brought to the fore by the media. Rightfully so. No right minded person would fail to be abhorred by the killings in America and other fire-arm related incidents in the UK and Europe. Now though, we see Airsoft starting to be picked up on by certain news outlets and that is where the concern of the UKAPU lies.
Airsoft players may be aware of two articles in as many weeks in the Scottish Sunday Post, which are available to view here;
It is clear that the will to instigate tighter controls over our sport and hobby has been shown by a those in politics. The media covered, in this case, the purchasing of IFs (imitation firearms) from convenience shops and other small retailers. The article’s author’s response was, as to be expected, reactionary but at the same time difficult to argue against, at least in principle.
Those of us involved in Airsoft, or shooting in the wider sense, are well aware of the general sentiment in the public towards any type of gun. That is why we look to the law to guide us, we pay attention to changes in those laws and we are careful to remain within them at all times. What the shooting community and skirmishers alike cannot mitigate against are those who see no issue with their actions and mistake what we all know to be toy guns, as just that and not as potentially offensive items.
Should children under eighteen be allowed to buy IFs? No, of course not. The law is clear and airsoft falls in line with other restricted purchases in this case. Do IFs allow for too much movement within the law? Yes, it’s a simple issue in that, whilst tighter controls might not be to everyone’s liking, the application to UKARA and the knowledge of where, when and how to use a RIF (replica imitation firearm) is afforded to those deemed capable.
When a shopkeeper sells a restricted item to someone who’s underage, it is the shopkeeper breaking the law. When an adult, such as the one in the Sunday Post’s article, purchases an IF for someone who’s underage they are not breaking the law. This is the distinction between where the media stands and the law, that we worked to have amended in our favour as skirmishers, is applied.
We, as members of the public who take part in airsoft as a competitive sport and enjoyable hobby, must understand how important it is to respect other people’s views. We are not gun-nuts with an agenda. We have earned the involvement of the police and the government over years of direct discussion. Our own reactions must remain tempered, intelligent and respectful so that we may continue to be seen as capable to use replicas in a safe, controlled and considered manner.
The actions of the few, be that the retailers (wholly airsoft or those who simply happen to stock IFs) or individuals, must not be reflected by the community as a whole.
To this end, the UKAPU has taken steps to raise our voice through the means of contacting members of parliament along with those authors and editors responsible for the articles in question. You can be assured that the Committee, the organisation’s members and it’s affiliates will do all they can to uphold the defense afforded to us all.
We ask that individuals do not take the matter in to their own hands but instead put forward cogent points which will allow us to further our discussions with those who have the power to make decisions.
Keep a close eye on the UKAPU via our website www.UKAPU.org.uk for more information and updates regarding how we are helping to protect our hobby. If you’d like to join our growing community and show that we have a voice as one group, please visit the membership section.