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Firearms laws and replicas


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#1 Belmit

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 01:28 PM

Firstly, greetings all! I was advised to visit this forum by a friend who is both a police officer and firearms enthusiast, who felt my question would be better answered here by people with greater knowledge of the particular laws involved.

I'm hoping it's a fairly simple question regarding the VCR act and the law surrounding ownership and purchase of old West replica firearms. I'm looking to purchase a pair of Colt replicas, more specifically Peacemakers. I'd be using them for two things; as display pieces in the home and to try my hand at spinning them, as replicas are fairly faithful to the original weight and it looks like a great hobby. Unfortunately the info available online isn't too specific and I've found all kinds of statements varying from them being freely available and legal as long as I'm over 18 (including 1873 Colt replicas, even though they're post-1870 and therefore fall foul of the aforementioned act), to being illegal unless I'm part of a specific group like airsoft or theatrical.

I guess my question is simply this; if I just went ahead and purchased from a UK store, or EU importer (such as here: http://www.armsofthe...bd6dc4c22644558), would I be committing an offence? I'm fairly certain that 'replica firearms' also wouldn't look great on a customs invoice! I'm aware that modern replicas at least are required to be brightly coloured so they are somewhat distinguishable from the real thing, but this kind of renders an old West replica somewhat ridiculous for display.

Any advice anyone can offer would be great, as this is something I've been pondering and researching for a couple of months and it's getting to the point where I just have to decide to pursue it or forget it.

Many thanks!

#2 explodJP

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:59 PM

You have read the VCR 2007 I suppose and aware that importing a realistic replica is an offence unless you satisfy certain criteria.
It is also an offence to own unless you can comply with certain criteria , and you are aware of the differentiation pre and post 1870, this is due to pre 1870 they were generally not brass cartridge loading type weapons. If you go to a UK supply site eg http://www.beararm.c...irearm-ban.html you will see that in order to possess what you mention eg colt peacemaker you need to be able to prove your compliance . I would suggest that you follow this route, otherwise you could well have a expensive learning experience . HTSH

Edited by explodJP, 07 June 2010 - 05:00 PM.


#3 Fritz@Customs

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:10 PM

It is also an offence to own unless you can comply with certain criteria , and you are aware of the differentiation pre and post 1870, this is due to pre 1870 they were generally not brass cartridge loading type weapons. If you go to a UK supply site eg http://www.beararm.c...irearm-ban.html you will see that in order to possess what you mention eg colt peacemaker you need to be able to prove your compliance . I would suggest that you follow this route, otherwise you could well have a expensive learning experience . HTSH


Unless you are under 18, there is no offense in the VCR Act 2006 relating to ownership of a realistic imitation firearm. The four categories of offence are manufacturing, selling, adapting and importing. The requirements observed by retailers regarding the qualifying nature of a customer relate to the retailer's avoidance of committing an offence, not the purchaser. If a UK retailer was irresponsible enough to sell a realistic imitation fiream to "the man on the Clapham omnibus", the only offence committed is by the retailer.

If you buy from an EU supplier (or any other country) and bring the RIF in or have it posted to you, you would be committing the offense of importing the RIF unless you were a qualifying person in relation to the available defences under the VCRA 2006.

Edited by Fritz@Customs, 07 June 2010 - 05:31 PM.


#4 Belmit

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:34 PM

These are the problems I've come up against when looking for information on this. The VCR bill is pretty straightforward if a little daunting to the layman, but doesn't specifically mention anything about the 1870 'watershed' if you like. If the sale of realistic imitation firearms is illegal then I will of course need to be affiliated to a group that can legally purchase them, but again these groups aren't spelled out in the bill, only mentioned offhand on websites that sell them. I can't seem to find anyone in a position that can say 'If you want to comply, here are your only options, and these are the people you need to speak to', or anyone else who has found themselves in my position.

If the point of the law was to make people with genuine reasons for ownership give up because of uncertainty over said law then it's certainly working!

Again, to go back to my original post, I'm finding a lot of conflicting information on this and was hoping to get a definitive answer somewhere. For example, if I picked a model that was pre-1870, would it still be illegal for someone to sell it to me? After all it's still a realistic imitation firearm. I refuse to believe I'm the only UK individual who has come across this problem since the bill was introduced.

#5 Black Rat

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:35 PM

From the 1st of October 2007, the laws regarding airsoft guns have changed.

Airsoft guns are now considered realistic imitation firearms (RIFs) so you will only be able to purchase one if you are an airsoft skirmisher (someone who plays airsoft) with a valid membership number and over the age of 18.

If you are an airsoft skirmisher and under the age of 18, we will not be able to sell to you as this would be a breach of UK law.

You can become recognised as an airsoft skirmisher by attending your local insured airsoft site and joining their membership scheme. This will allow you to purchase a RIF.

We are only able to ship RIFs to the address that is associated with your membership card.

Accessories, such as magazines, scopes, ammunition and spare parts are not affected by the new change in law as they are not, and do not, resemble a realistic imitation firearm.

In basic terms: If you do not have an insured skirmish site membership or re-enactors membership, or any defence/exemption under the VCR act we cannot, and will not sell realistic imitation firearms to you.


Source

#6 Belmit

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:43 PM

VCR Act 2006


Aha, hadn't found this one. Will give it a read...

#7 Fritz@Customs

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 06:57 PM

Aha, hadn't found this one. Will give it a read...


Search for Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 on www.statutelaw.gov.uk (also includes all extant UK law)

Secn 36 deals with offences
Secn 37 deals with defences (i.e people who can import or be sold RIF's)
Secn 38 deals with meaning of RIF's (e.g size, colour, pre-1870 design

The post by Black Rat about airsoft relates to a seperate defence introduced by the Home Secretary, in addition to those in Secn 37

Hope this helps

Edited by Fritz@Customs, 07 June 2010 - 07:01 PM.


#8 Belmit

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:23 PM

Many thanks for that, had the exact parts I was looking for.

Seems to be that it's nigh on impossible if you're after a replica of a post-1870 firearm. Looks like many UK sites have pre-1870 Colt replicas that are close enough to what I'm after though, all legal to be sold to over-18s. I think this will be the safest route.

Thanks all for info.

#9 Grumpy275

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:17 PM

I would never have thought there was so much to having a toy gun

#10 PintOfKittens

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:06 PM

I would never have thought there was so much to having a toy gun


Problem is some toy guns can look REALLY realistic

#11 Grumpy275

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:19 PM

Problem is some toy guns can look REALLY realistic

Yes I realise that, but I do think that the present laws are the result of knee jerk reactions to an incident 15 years ago. I was working in Surrey when the Sport Shooters has to hand in their "legal" guns. I said then and I still say it has not saved one life. Those who want to use a gun to kill can get their hands on firearms without a problem.
Too many people in the UK do not know what they are talking about when it comes to firearms having never held a gun let alone fired one. During the firearms amnesty at the Nick I worked at I was the only person in the Station Office who was farmiliar with firearms. Of course there were some Officers who were experienced who could be called on.

#12 Grumpy275

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 08:09 PM

I have just received the following information from a friend in the USA regarding Guns and Doctors.
(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.


(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.


© Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.


Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Now think about this:


Guns


(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.


(Yes, that's 80 million)


(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.


© The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.


Statistics courtesy of FBI



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.'


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT Almost everyone has at least one doctor.

This means you are over 900 times more likely to be killed by a doctor as a gun owner!!!


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention




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