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Airsoft Guns and the Law

The Violent Crime Reduction Act (Sec.36) makes it an offence to:

- Manufacture a realistic imitation firearm (RIF)
- Modify an imitation firearm (IF) so it becomes a RIF
- Sell a RIF
- Bring a RIF in to Great Britain or cause one to be brought into Great Britain.

However , Airsoft has gained a specific defence in the act meaning that from 01/10/2007, anyone intending to purchase a RIF must either:
- Be a registered UKARA member or a member of a registered Airsoft skirmishing site.

To purchase a rif online, customers will need to be over 18 and UKARA registered .

How to get Ukara registration?
01. Log onto www.ukara.org.uk to find a list of UKARA registered skirmish sites near you.
02. Attend 3 games in a space of over 2 months.
03. Your local skirmish site will then provide you with a UKARA form . Alternatively you can downlod one from the UKRA website. You then need to take the completed form along with a form of photo ID and proof of address to the skirmish site to be stamped.
04. Your Local club should then be able to add you to the UKara database.


If you are not registered with an Airsoft site or with UKARA yet or cannot get along to an Airsoft skirmish site to get registered then you can still purchase Airsoft guns under certain conditions.

In line with the Violent Crime Reduction Act (Sec38 (3) (b)), a gun is deemed unrealistic if the majority (i.e. +50%) is in a bright colour or transparent. Here at FPS Airsoft we are able to paint your guns for you but there will be a delay in the standard delivery times.


Specific Defences
Other specific defences/exemptions exist for:
- Re-enactment (To purchase RIFs proof of membership to a re-enactment society is required along with 2 forms of ID with at least 1 needing to be photographic and a copy your society's third party insurance certificate).
- Film, TV & Theatrical productions (To purchase RIFs official production company letter detailing use of the RIF is required along with 2 forms of ID with at least 1 needing to be photographic).
- Crown Servants (the purposes of functions that a person has in his capacity as a person in the service of Her Majesty.) Purchases must be authorised by the department or agency. 2 forms of ID are also required with at least 1 being photographic.

VCRA details
'Realistic Imitation Firearms' & Imitation Firearms Sections 36,37,38,39 & 40:

What is a realistic imitation firearm?
The VCRA introduces the term 'realistic imitation firearm'. A 'realistic imitation firearm' is one which, for all intents and purposes, is indistinguishable from a real firearm.
What is an imitation firearm?
The term 'imitation firearm' is defined in the Firearms Act 1968 as being 'any thing which has the appearance of being a firearm, whether or not it is capable of discharging any shot, bullet or other missile.'
An imitation firearm, irrespective of the type of firearm or which it is an imitation, will not be considered to be a realistic imitation firearm if it is of a specified principal colour:
i) bright red
ii) bright orange
iii) bright yellow
iv) bright pink
v) bright purple
vi) bright blue
vii) transparent

What does 'Principal' colour mean?
'Principal' is defined in the dictionary as being; 'first in the order of importance, main'. Thus, if an imitation firearm is to be, for example, two-toned, it must have one of the above listed colours as the principal colour (i.e. +50%).

'Realistic Imitation Firearm' and 'Imitation Firearm' examples
An imitation Colt 1911 pistol in black would be considered a realistic imitation firearm. If it were principally bright red then it would be considered an imitation firearm.
If an imitation firearm is less than 38mm in height and less than 70mm long it could not be considered to be a realistic imitation firearm, it would just be an imitation firearm. So if the Colt 1911 mentioned above was black, but only 60mm long, it would be considered an imitation firearm, not a realistic imitation firearm.

How does the VCRA define a 'real' firearm
The VCRA says that a 'real firearm' is one of modern design, and in turn clarifies this as being of a design from the year 1870 onwards. An imitation of a modern firearm (unless it were in one of the principal colours and/or was under 38mm in height and 70mm in length), would therefore be defined as a realistic imitation firearm.

However, if the imitation firearm is of a firearm; 'the appearance of which would tend to identify as having a design and mechanism of a sort first dating before the year 1870', then it is not a realistic imitation firearm and is an imitation firearm.

At what age is a person allowed to buy or sell an imitation firearm?
It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase an imitation firearm and it is an offence to sell an imitation firearm to a person under the age of 18.

Does the VCRA apply to those realistic imitations and imitations already possessed?
The Act does not affect the possession of existing realistic imitation firearms and imitation firearms, but does prohibit the sale of existing realistic imitation firearms, or the modification or existing imitation firearms so that they would become realistic imitations.