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UK airsofters under 18


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From October 1st 2007, the Violent Crime Reduction Act will be enforced in the UK. What this means for UK based airsofters is:


You cannot legally buy, sell or manufacture any airsoft guns. Ownership is still legal, so you won't be losing the ones you already own before October 1st.


Technically. you will not be allowed to buy, sell or manufacture Realistic Imitation Firearms (RIF), or even an Imitation Firearm (IF). Airsoft guns are either RIFs or IFs (IF's are gunlike objects, but not easily confused with real guns, i.e. they're brightly coloured).


Only over 18's can buy them, but before you think "No worries then, I'll get my parents to buy them for me" there's a big issue - the VCRA also bans selling, manufacturing or importing RIFs to adults too. There is, however, a regulation attached to the Act that creates a specific defence against prosecution, which I've cut and pasted together further down this post for clarity.


The short version however is that unless your parents can prove they're using it to skirmish, then the person selling it to them is breaking the law. Retailers have set up a database which skirmishers must join in order to buy RIFs from them. If your parents aren't on the database, they can't buy them either. Your parents can only get on the database if they're members of a registered skirmish site, and have played there three times in at least 2 months.


Here's the info direct from the regulations to the VCRA:


It shall be a defence in proceedings for an offence under section 36 of the 2006 Act for the person charged with the offence to show that his conduct was for the purpose only of making the imitation firearm in question available for one or more of these purposes:


(a)the organisation and holding of permitted activities for which public liability insurance is held in relation to liabilities to third parties arising from or in connection with the organisation and holding of those activities;

(b)the purposes of display at a permitted event.


“permitted activities” means the acting out of military or law enforcement scenarios for the purposes of recreation.

Defences to an offence under section 36 of the 2006 Act


“permitted event” means a commercial event at which firearms or realistic imitation firearms (or both) are offered for sale or displayed;


If you have any questions about this, please see the VCRB section of this forum (it used to be the Violent Crime Reduction Bill before it became an Act, hence being called both the VCRB and VCRA).

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