This information is provided to assist with the understanding of the effect that the above Act will have on the airsoft community within the U.K from the 1st of October 2007. RED 1 AIRSOFT LIMITED or it's staff including the author of this page is not a lawyer and makes no claim to a complete and irrefutable understanding of the law. If you have any concerns regarding legal issues, you should seek advice from a qualified practitioner.
RED 1 AIRSOFT LIMITED and it's staff would urge that those concerned read carefully as the offences involving RIF's (Realistic Imitation Firearms) are criminal and not civil and the penalties for contravening the Act and others are severe.
According to Section 36 of the VCRA (Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006) which came into effect on 1 October 2007, RIF's (Realistic Imitation Firearms) may not be sold, imported, or manufactured. Unrealistic imitation firearms (IF's) must have their principle color as transparent, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright blue, bright green, bright pink, or bright purple or have dimensions of no more than a height of 38 millimetres and a length of 70 millimetres (as defined in the Home Office regulations for the VCRA). Defences to the act are available for the following:
The notes for the VCRA state the following: The regulations provide for two new defenses. 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 and 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.
The airsoft defense is based on whether or not a person is a skirmisher. One of the measures put in place by retailers was the forming of a centrally recorded and maintained database. This system is managed by the United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association or UKARA. UKARA shares the database of registered skirmishers with the member retailers allowing quick and easy verification that the purchaser is allowed to buy a RIF under the VCRA skirmisher defense. To qualify for the UKARA database, a person must be a regular skirmisher (i.e. skirmish three or more times in no less than two months, and typically at one site) in order to be registered and the airsoft site they register at must hold public Public Liability Insurance.
UKARA was formed as a response to the drafting of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill in 2006 which later became an Act of Parliament.
UKARA is an association of UK Airsoft Retailers of which RED 1 AIRSOFT LIMITED is a member brought together to protect themselves from prosecution and enable a safe method of selling Realistic Imitation Firearms ( RiF's ) to the largest of the permitted purchaser groups in the UK, Airsoft Players.
The onus is on the seller of a RIF to make sure they only sell to a legitimate purchaser, prosecution could result as a failure to do this.
The Governments desire was to have a third party system in place which would track sales to legitimate purchasers of RiF's, checking their eligibility.
UKARA interest was to provide such a system and make it free to sites and players, and as inclusive as possible for the future of their market, without which they would not exist.
This has benefited all players and game sites, as it has produced a framework acceptable to the Government to allow Airsoft as a sport to remain viable.
The UKARA database keeps a record of all participating Airsoft players and game sites, and is used by retailers and the UKBA for verification of sales and imports.
For further information please visit the UKARA website