UK Law - buying a replica/screen used gun

Prop Store

Cave_Troll

Active Member
I was wondering if anyone knows the law in terms of buying a screen used replica gun? Propstore have loads of nice screen used weapons but their sites states that the Crime Reduction Act prevents them from selling many of the items unless you are a member of NARES (a re-enactment society) or a couple of other possibilities, none of which apply to me. I simply want to put it on the wall but any clarification of the law would be greatly appreciated.
 

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VaultUK

Well-Known Member
If it looks like a real gun then you can't buy in uk.

What gun are you interested on there I wanted to get the Harvey dent from TDK but moved on to blade
 

Eagle

Sr Member
The acid test is: 'if it appears to be a real firearm at first glance (whether it's a replica of a real or fictional firearm) then you must have a defence under the VCRA to purchase it*. Even someone with a Section 5 firearms licence can't buy a realistic imitation firearm made of resin. Search here or Google for 'VCRA'.

*Actually, not quite. The seller should check whether you have a defence or not - it is not an offence (if you're over 18) to buy or attempt to buy a RIF without a defence.
 

NuRF

Well-Known Member
It's a difficult area full of complicated definitions. First you have to establish if it's an immitation firearm, or a realistic immitation firearm. Then, is it being imported into the UK or is it already here. The easiest way to look at it is...does it look like a real gun? If yes, then it's REALLY difficult to circumvent the requirements. as an example, I brought a replica Walther P99 on eBay for a James Bond display at home. I COULD buy it because it was BRIGHT BLUE and already in the UK. The problem though with that is if you then re-spray it, you then make it realistic and you commit a seperate offence. If its just to display, you might want to look at airsoft replicas. You can be 'gifted' a realistic one by a member of a club, without having to join.
 

Dpp1978

Well-Known Member
The strangest part is it is still perfectly legal to buy real deactivated firearms without any sort of licence, including many which would be illegal to own in the US.

It makes a bit of a mockery of the whole system.
 

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Cave_Troll

Active Member
Thanks for the info. I didn't have anything in particular in mind but they have loads of great stuff. It is quite interesting as I didn't have a clue so went to the local police station. They didn't know the intricacies of the law so they referred me to the firearms expert for the whole county. I gave him a call and asked him his interpretation of the law and how he enforces it. He said that you can buy any replica as long as it is kept in the home. It becomes an offence when you walk down the street waving it around in the air. I completely understand the logic about how a replica can, in a split second, be mistaken for a real fire-ar but the logic of keeping it in your home and not in a public place also seemed true, especially given that it was from the legal fire-arms expert in the county.
 

Eagle

Sr Member
...so they referred me to the firearms expert for the whole county. He said that you can buy any replica as long as it is kept in the home.
'Expert'? Clearly, he doesn't know anything. That was terrible advice. :thumbsdown
 

Cave_Troll

Active Member
'Expert'? Clearly, he doesn't know anything. That was terrible advice. :thumbsdown
The thing is he is a serving police officer, specialising in fire-arms. He enforces the law on a daily basis so I'm not sure whose opinion to believe. I asked him if the county had a legal expert and he said that any legal queries would be referred to him. Are there any precedents?
 

Eagle

Sr Member
The thing is he is a serving police officer, specialising in fire-arms. He enforces the law on a daily basis so I'm not sure whose opinion to believe. I asked him if the county had a legal expert and he said that any legal queries would be referred to him. Are there any precedents?
Well, I can categorically state that his advice is [dangerously] wrong. You can't just buy a replica 'as long as you keep it at home'; the law is quite clear in that respect. I've been in and around the VCRA relating to RIFs since 2007 so I'm betting I could run rings around him by the sound of it.

Re precident, there have been no prosecutions to date but it's only a matter of time!
 

Cave_Troll

Active Member
Well, I can categorically state that his advice is [dangerously] wrong. You can't just buy a replica 'as long as you keep it at home'; the law is quite clear in that respect. I've been in and around the VCRA relating to RIFs since 2007 so I'm betting I could run rings around him by the sound of it.

Re precident, there have been no prosecutions to date but it's only a matter of time!
Thanks again for the info. If I wanted to purchase something from Propstore, such as one of the Blade guns that wasn't even a modified gun but just something created to resemble a gun for the film, what processes would I need to go through?
 

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LDR

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If it looks like a real gun then you'd have to be a member of a Re-enactment group.
Prop store will not sell you replica guns without proof that you are in a group.

If it doesnt look like a real gun, then prop store will sell it to you no problems.

I think any guns they can sell (without having to be in a group) will not have the info about being illegal etc. They were selling pulse rifles not so long ago, and those were fine.
 

Eagle

Sr Member
And yet Airsoft shops in the UK require a defence for a Pulse Rifle.... what a dumb law it is.
 

LDR

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
yep...mad.

You can't buy a replica gun that looks like a real gun, but you can buy a real gun that looks like a real gun if its de-activated.

Must be to do with all those old MPs who collect de-activated guns!
 

abaddon1974

Active Member
Or perhaps the law was introduced because of kids running around with cheap plastic guns taking up Police time and holding up shops with them.

I can't see many people with deactivated vickers machine guns taking their £2000 gun out to cause problems.

I find the membership of NARES strange though, the organisation isn't held very highly in the re-enactment world.
 

lurtz001

Active Member
Dax, as you've stated the advice that you have been given , is the officers' interpretation of the law.
If you want to settle your mind, then my advice would be to contact your local Crown Prosecution Service office in writing, or alternatively, contact the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC. At the end of the day, it is the CPS who would be responsible for the prosecution.
The confusion in this matter is that there is very recent legislation which governs the purchase of these replica prop firearms , and then you have the legislation governing the actual physical possession of the props. Both are separate entities.
At least if you raise it with the CPS or the DPP, then you will recieve a solid response in WRITING .
 
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Cave_Troll

Active Member
Dax, as you've stated the advice that you have been given , is the officers' interpretation of the law.
If you want to settle your mind, then my advice would be to contact your local Crown Prosecution Service office in writing, or alternatively, contact the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC. At the end of the day, it is the CPS who would be reasonable for the prosecution.
The confusion in this matter is that there is very recent legislation which governs the purchase of these replica prop firearms , and then you have the legislation governing the actual physical possession of the props. Both are separate entities.
At least if you raise it with the CPS or the DPP, then you will recieve a solid response in WRITING .
Thanks for that. I thought of getting something in writing but didn't think of contacting CPS. Cheers for the advice.
 

Scapey

Sr Member
It's pretty simple.
If it could be mistaken for a genuine firearm by a reasonable member of the public, then it's illegal to sell it to someone who is not over 18 and a member of a legitimate, insured, Airsoft skirmish site, re-enactment society or theatre/production company.
It's also illegal to import, or manufacture such an item by either assembling parts, or spraying a 2-tone/clear I.F. in realistic colours.


VIOLENT CRIME REDUCTION ACT 2006 (COMMENCEMENT No3)
ORDER 2007 AND (COMMENCEMENT NO 4) ORDER 2007
THE VIOLENT CRIME REDUCTION ACT 2006 (REALISTIC IMITATION
FIREARMS) REGULATIONS 2007
FIREARMS MEASURES
This Guidance, which has been drawn up in consultation with ACPO’s
Firearms & Explosives Licensing Working Group and with ACPO Scotland,
advises of the commencement on 1 October 2007 of the imitation firearms
provisions in that Act. The relevant commencement orders can be
downloaded from the following links:
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20072180_en.pdf and
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20072518_en.pdf.
The Regulations can be downloaded from the following link:
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/uksi_20072606_en.pdf
Schedule 2, paragraphs 4 to 6: Realistic imitation firearms
2. These paragraphs introduce a ban on the supply of realistic imitation
firearms.
3. Paragraph 4 makes it an offence to manufacture, import or sell realistic
imitation firearms. It also makes it an offence to modify an imitation firearm to
make it realistic. Sub-paragraph 7 provides that imported realistic imitation
firearms will be liable to forfeiture under customs and excise controls.
Paragraph 5 provides various defences to the new offence. It makes it a
defence to show that the manufacture, importation, sale or modification was
only for the purpose of making the realistic imitation firearm available for:
- a museum or gallery;
- theatrical performances and rehearsals of such performances;
- the production of films and television programmes;
- the organisation and holding of historical re-enactments; and
- crown servants.
4. Sub-paragraph 3 provides a further defence for businesses to import
realistic imitation firearms for the purpose of modifying them to make them
non-realistic.
5. Sub-paragraph 7 provides that “museum or gallery” includes institutions
which are open to the public and whose purpose includes the preservation,
display and interpretation of material of historical, artistic or scientific interest.
Historical re-enactment is defined as “any presentation or other event held for the purpose of re-enacting an event from the past or of illustrating conduct
from a particular time or period in the past”. This is intended to include a
range of re-enactment activities, including the display of military vehicles at
shows and presentations to school children by war veterans.
6. Paragraph 4(3) gives the Secretary of State a power to provide for further
exceptions, exemptions or defences. This power has been exercised to make
the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (Realistic Imitation Firearms)
Regulations 2007, which can be downloaded through the following link
http:www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007 20072606.htm. The Regulations provide for
two new defences. The first is for the organisation and holding of airsoft
skirmishing. This is defined by reference to “permitted activities” and the
defence applies only where third party liability insurance is held in respect of
the activities. The second new defence is for the purpose of display at arms
fairs, defined in the Regulations by reference to “permitted events”.
7. The Regulations also specify the persons who can claim the defence for
historical re-enactment. This is restricted to those organising or taking part in
re-enactment activities for which third party liability insurance is held.
8. For manufacturers, importers and vendors to claim one of the defences,
they must be able to show that their conduct was for purpose of making
realistic imitation firearms available for one of the reasons specified in the
defences above. How they should satisfy themselves of this will vary from
case to case and it might be advisable for them to keep a record of this for
each transaction. In some cases they could ask to see, for example, a letter
from the commissioning film or television company. In others, for example an
importer, they might want to rely on orders from a supplier to the film industry.
For re-enactments, it would be advisable to ask to see any membership card
and to check that either the individual or the re-enactment society holds the
required insurance. For airsoft skirmishing, the Association of British Airsoft is
putting in place arrangements to allow retailers to check that individual
purchasers are members of a genuine skirmishing club or site. The key
elements of these arrangements are:
• new players must play at least 3 times in the 2 months before being
offered membership;
• membership cards with a photograph and recognised format will be
issued for production to retailers;
• a central database will be set up for retailers to cross-check a
purchaser’s details; and
• a member’s entry on the database will be deleted if unused for 12
months.
9. The defence for airsoft skirmishing can apply to individual players because
their purchase of realistic imitation firearms for this purpose is considered part
of the “holding” of a skirmishing event. 10. Paragraph 6 defines a “realistic imitation firearm” as an imitation firearm
which has an appearance that is so realistic as to make it indistinguishable,
for all practical purposes, from a real firearm. “Imitation firearm” is defined in
Article 2(2) of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 as “any thing which
has the appearance of being a firearm whether or not it is capable of
discharging any shot, bullet or other missile”. The term “real firearm” is
defined in paragraph 6(7) as either a firearm of an actual make or model of a
modern firearm, or a generic modern firearm. The term “modern firearm” is
defined in sub-paragraph 8 as a firearm other than one the appearance of
which would tend to identify it as having a design and mechanism of a sort
first dating before 1870. The effect of this definition is that realistic imitations
of pre-1870 firearms are not caught by the new offence. Deactivated firearms
and antique imitations (such as old dummy rifles used for drill practice) are
expressly excluded from the definition of realistic imitation firearm and are
therefore not affected by the new offence either.
11. Whether an imitation firearm falls within the definition of a realistic
imitation firearm should be judged from the perspective of how it looks at the
point of manufacture, import or sale and not how it might be appear if it were
being misused - for example, in the dark and from a distance. Paragraph 6(2)
provides that an imitation firearm should not be regarded as distinguishable
from a real firearm if only an expert can tell the difference or the difference is
only apparent on close examination or as a result of attempting to load or fire
it. Paragraph 6(3) provides that in determining whether an imitation firearm is
realistic, its size, shape and principal colour must be taken into account and it
is to be regarded as distinguishable if these features are unrealistic for a real
firearm.
12. Paragraph 6(4) gives the Secretary of State a power to make regulations
specifying dimensions and colours that will be regarded as unrealistic. This is
designed to provide business with a degree of certainty about those imitations
in which they can trade. The aforementioned Violent Crime Reduction Act
2006 (Realistic Imitation Firearms) Regulations 2007 specify the following
dimensions and colours:
- a height of 38mm and a length of 70mm. An imitation firearm
with dimensions less than this is to be regarded as unrealistic;
- transparent;
- bright red;
- bright orange;
- bright yellow;
- bright green;
- bright pink; - bright purple; and
- bright blue.
13. An imitation firearm the principal colour of which is not one of those listed
in the Regulations does not automatically fall to be regarded as realistic,
although it is more likely that that will be the case. In these circumstances, the
general test of whether it is distinguishable from a real firearm, taking into
account its size, colour etc, should be applied. It is worth keeping in mind that
the intention behind this measure is to stop the supply of imitations which look
so realistic that they are being used by criminals to threaten and intimidate
their victims.
14. The definition of realistic imitation firearm given in the VCR Act and the
colours and dimensions specified in the Regulations relate only to the new
offence of manufacturing, importing, modifying or selling such items. They are
not intended to affect in any way the definition of an imitation firearm in
Article 3(2) of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 or how that
definition is applied elsewhere in the 2004 Order – for example, in firearms
offences such as those in Articles 58, 59, 60, 61 and 62. The fact that a bright
pink imitation firearm is not regarded as being realistic under the VCR Act
provisions would not in itself stop it being regarded as an imitation in the
commission of one of these offences.
Schedule 2, paragraph 7: Specification for imitation firearms
15. This paragraph makes it an offence to manufacture or import an imitation
firearm which does not conform to specifications to be laid down by the
Secretary of State. It also makes it an offence to modify an imitation firearm
so that it does not conform to the specifications or to modify a firearm to
create an imitation firearm which does not so conform. The intention is to put
in place manufacturing standards which will prevent imitation firearms being
converted to fire live ammunition and further guidance will be provided when
the regulations have been made.
Schedule 2, paragraph 8: Supplying imitation firearms to minors
16. This paragraph introduces two new offences. It makes it an offence for
anyone aged under 18 to purchase an imitation firearm and for anyone to sell
an imitation firearm to someone aged under 18.
17. “Imitation firearm” is defined in Article 2(2) of the 2004 Order as “any
thing which has the appearance of being a firearm, whether or not it is
capable of discharging any shot, bullet or other missile”. It will ultimately be for
the courts to decide whether any item falls within this definition but clearly it
will apply to the purchase and sale of realistic imitation firearms where this is
allowed under one of the statutory defences (see Schedule 2, paragraphs 4 to
6 above). It will also apply to non-realistic imitations which nevertheless have
“the appearance of being a firearm”. This could include some children’s toys
although many toys will look so different from a firearm that they might not be regarded as imitations at all (for example, some of the more futuristic looking
space guns). Where a toy is considered to be an imitation firearm, the
purchase will have to be made by a parent or other person aged over 18.
18. There is a defence for anyone charged with the offence of selling an
imitation firearm to someone under 18, where he can show that he had
reasonable grounds for believing the purchaser to be 18 or over – for
example, by seeing credible proof of age.
Schedule 2, paragraph 9: Increase of maximum sentence for possessing
an imitation firearm
19. This paragraph increases to 12 months the maximum custodial sentence
for an offence under Article 61(1) of the 2004 Order of carrying an imitation
firearm in public without reasonable excuse. The offence becomes triable
either way
 

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