UKARA database update & PCA Bill 2017 information

Some news from the UKARA:


Some News about the UKARA player check system and UKARA work on Police and Crime Bill 2017

First of all, we are extremely sorry for the problems with the UKARA player database.

There is (and has been since the problems started) a temporary system in place that all UKARA retailers are using to do look ups of players.

To counter any rumours the database is still available and being used.

UKARA had a sustained and continuous denial of service attack take place over several months which caused the server admin people to turn off the server.

To prevent a repeat of the problem we had to find, employ and design a new more modern hacker proof system.

None of the data on the system was compromised

Sites have been given instructions to email details of player renewals to UKARA admin so that existing players can get their details updated

Any change of player details (such as new post code) should be done via your site who should then contact UKARA.

New players should complete UKARA forms, available from the page

The form should then be stamped and signed by the site, a player number allocated and then emailed to
Please do not email any other information to this email address as it will only delay the adding of player data.

The only data the database stores is player name, site name, player post code, player number, expiry date and email address

We ask for date of birth, address and phone number to check the payer is 18 and also contact a player if we cannot read the information on the form or if some information is missing.

The new system is almost ready for sites to again access to all their player data.

Sites should soon receive emails (hopefully by the end of Wednesday 31st May), retailers will then receive emails about access to the new system 7-10 days after that.

The recreation of the system along with the complete re-set up has taken far longer than expected as we did not realise the complications and scale of what we had to achieve and how long it would take to achieve and how difficult it was to find a reasonably priced independent developer.

It’s thanks to a few people that we are now so close to a resolution.

It is no thanks to the malicious hackers who have unlimited time and resources available to make havoc and chaos for others.

We will be back soon.

We are very sorry for any problems this has caused, sites, shops and players.

Police and Crime Bill 2017

UKARA behind the scenes has been working tirelessly for the industry to get the best out of this change in the law.

The Home Office since before the VCR ACT had it in their mind that the safe limit for airsoft was 1 Joule.
No one in the industry ever agreed with this but it was never an issue as a limit was not in the Law.

Then we are notified in 2015 that the Firearms laws were going to be changed.

The work started at the beginning of 2016 when the Law Commission advised us of 6 parts of the law that were being reviewed.

UKARA paid for the services of a firearms consultant that was the ex Assistant Chief Constable of Dorset Police Force, who was involved in writing parts of the VCR Act and who was the Chairman of the Police Firearms and Explosives group (FELWG). So a very important and influential man in the firearms industry with a wealth of knowledge of the laws and how they are applied.

The service was is cheap and he has proved very successful as he is well thought of in the firearms industry.

UKARA first met the consultant in 2011 when he as still the ACC Dorset Police, when we successfully persuaded him to get the Forensic Science Service (FSS) to test the lethality of 6mm bbs.

This test was necessary as the Home Office was pushing even then for a 1 joule limit.

The tests produced results in line what the industry already knew were safe limits but the FSS suggested that 1.3 joules (373 fps on .20g) full auto and 2.5 joules single shot (520 fps) should be used because it was just under the limits and allowed for inaccuracies in testing and weighing bbs.

These tests were only carried out on 6mm bbs.

UKARA met with the Law Commission several times and then attended the Symposium (large meeting) on the subjects.

The consultant was invited to sit on the Panel with the Law Commissioner, the Home Office and several other important industry figures.

It was decided by the Law Commission that the lethal limit for replica guns should be set at 1 Joule for any form of a replica using any type of power.

UKARA managed to agree to get a definition of an airsoft gun written into law.
UKARA with UKAPU (The players Union) then successfully got the lethality of 6mm bb airsoft guns written into the law change as an exemption.

We realised that we had not included 8mm bbs (it wasn’t included because there were no test results for 8mm bbs) and thought it a simple job to get the definition changed, it wasn’t.

After several unsuccessful meetings with the home office UKARA decided to build 2 x 8mm bb guns capable of firing over the limits and on single shot and full auto.

This was no simple task and required expert gunsmith skills and the use of CO2 powered paintball engines to achieve this.

UKARA had to then commission a renamed FSS to test these weapons to prove that they were not lethal at the energy limits set for airsoft.

The whole process cost over £8000 but at the end of it we had results that showed 8mm was safe.

After further discussions with the Home Office an amendment was made and 8mm was included in the definition of an airsoft gun.

Through the work of UKARA and UKAPU we managed to get a definition of what an airsoft gun is and an exemption for airsoft guns to shoot higher than the defined lethal limit, written into the Draft Act.

The Act then had to go through the Parliamentary process to become law, upon which it hit various obstacles.

Several groups at various stages of the Bill had suggested amendments to remove the exception for airsoft lethality to be higher. These were defeated or rejected by the Parliamentary process.

The biggest threat to the airsoft exemption was an amendment tabled by Lord Shrewsbury. Lord Shrewsbury was then contacted by various people in the industry and lobbied by UKAPU and others, he was then persuaded to remove his amendment.

It should be noted that the amendment stood a very good chance of being defeated even if it was put forward as the airsoft exemption had the backing of the Government and also the Home Office. But it was removed at the last moment because of industry pressure which was best for everyone in airsoft.

The Bill then passed through the Parliamentary System to become Law at the beginning of May 2017.

There are several issues that remain unresolved, one of which is what happens when a full auto gun shoots over 1.3 joules. We know that a single shot gun shooting over 2.5 joules becomes an air rifle, the law then deals with it as an air rifle.

However what a full auto gun over 1.3 joule becomes is still unclear, some say a Section 5 firearm, the Home Office say only a court can decide.

The advice is keep your airsoft gun within the limits and if you import a gun ask for it to be suitable for UK Laws.

In the background UKARA are still working with the consultant (regarding airsoft guns over the limit and those that can be converted or adjusted to be over the limit) who is using his contacts in the UK Border Force and Crown Prosecution Service to try to get some answers about importations, prosecutions and readily conformability.

UKARA has also held meetings with the current Chairman of the Police Fire Arms and Explosives Working Group (FELWG) the Assistant Chief Constable of Durham Police Force to see what the Polices view on the situation is.
The discussions with the Police, HO, UKBF and CPS are still ongoing.

UKARA continues to use the funds accumulated through offering a free to player and site registration service that is paid for by the UKARA retailers to fight for the industry.

The money that UKARA takes each year from retailers funds approx 20 hours a week of admin time (dealing with enquiries from UK Border Force, players, sites, retailers and more often the general public). The server, hosting, email system, development, all take time and money.
Because the money has been used wisely to date, the funds were available to defend airsoft without the industry being asked to provide extra funding.

When there are more updates UKARA will post another news post.

Until then we apologise for the database registration problems and continue to fight the system for the benefit of all of us.


On this day..

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