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Legalities

Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 Section 36 (1) defines the offence of Manufacture, import and sale of realistic imitation firearms

Changes to legislation: There are currently no known outstanding effects for the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, Section 36.

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if—
    (a) he manufactures a realistic imitation firearm;
    (b) he modifies an imitation firearm so that it becomes a realistic imitation firearm;
    (c) he sells a realistic imitation firearm; or
    (d) he brings a realistic imitation firearm into Great Britain or causes one to be brought into Great Britain.

Section 36 (2) points to exceptions:
(2) Subsection (1) has effect subject to the defences in section 37.

Section 36 (11) decrees where RIF's are defined:
(11) In this section “realistic imitation firearm” has the meaning given by section 38.

Section 37 details who may handle Section 36 goods:
37 Specific defences applying to the offence under s. 36
(1)It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 36 in respect of any conduct to show that the conduct was for the purpose only of making the imitation firearm in question available for one or more of the purposes specified in subsection (2).
(3) It shall also be a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 36 in respect of conduct falling within subsection (1)(d) of that section to show that the conduct—
    (a) was in the course of carrying on any trade or business; and
    (b) was for the purpose of making the imitation firearm in question available to be modified in a way which would result in its ceasing to be a realistic imitation firearm.

Section 37    Specific defences applying to the offence under s. 36
(1)It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 36 in respect of any conduct to show that the conduct was for the purpose only of making the imitation firearm in question available for one or more of the purposes specified in subsection (2).

(2)Those purposes are—
    (a)the purposes of a museum or gallery;
    (b)the purposes of theatrical performances and of rehearsals for such performances;
    (c)the production of films (within the meaning of Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48)_see section 5B of that Act);
    (d)the production of television programmes (within the meaning of the Communications Act 2003 (c. 21)_see section 405(1) of that Act);
    (e)the organisation and holding of historical re-enactments organised and held by persons specified or described for the purposes of this section by regulations made by the Secretary of State;
    (f)the purposes of functions that a person has in his capacity as a person in the service of Her Majesty.

(3) It shall also be a defence for a person charged with an offence under section 36 in respect of conduct falling within subsection (1)(d) of that section to show that the conduct—
    (a) was in the course of carrying on any trade or business; and
    (b) was for the purpose of making the imitation firearm in question available to be modified in a way which would result in its ceasing to be a realistic imitation firearm.

(4) For the purposes of this section a person shall be taken to have shown a matter specified in subsection (1) or (3) if—
    (a) sufficient evidence of that matter is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it; and
    (b)the contrary is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

(5)The power of the Secretary of State to make regulations under this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(6) That power includes power—
    (a) to make different provision for different cases;
    (b) to make provision subject to such exemptions and exceptions as the Secretary of State thinks fit; and
(c) to make such incidental, supplemental, consequential and transitional provision as he thinks fit.

(7)In this section—
    “historical re-enactment” means 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;
    “museum or gallery” includes any institution which—
        (a)  has as its purpose, or one of its purposes, the preservation, display and interpretation of material of historical, artistic or scientific interest; and
     (b) gives the public access to it.

Policing and Crime Act 2017 On January 31st 2017, the Policing and Crime Bill received Royal Assent (law, just waiting for a date to take effect). According to gov.uk “the Policing and Crime Act 2017 will enhance the democratic accountability of police forces and fire and rescue services through closer collaboration, and build public confidence in policing”.
    The Policing and Crime Act includes a number of changes to how firearms and ammunition are considered in the law and as such, some changes were being considered to their classification that would, without doubt, kill airsoft as we know it.
FPS limits have been set for airsoft weapons capable of firing 2 or more BBs with a single trigger pull. This limit has been set to 1.3j, or 370fps using a 0.20g BB.
FPS limits have also been set for single shot airsoft weapons. This limit is 2.5j or 519fps using 0.2g.
Weapons that are not within the above stated limits are classed as Section 5 firearms
Both HPA and GBB weapons can very simply be made to fire over these limits by using more powerful gas for (Gas Blow Back) GBB weapons and adjusting the regulator for (High Pressure Air) HPA. Neither of which requires any special knowledge or tools. Infact, GBB users will often find themselves accidentally firing over site limits purely due to temperature changes.
How GBB and HPA weapons fall into the PCA 2017 is still being considered and debated.


Amendments made by the Bill to the Firearms Act 1968

8.  The Bill amends the 1968 Act to provide a definition of lethality. A firearm will be considered ‘lethal’ if it is capable of discharging a projectile with a kinetic energy of more than 1 joule as measured at the muzzle of the weapon.
9.  The  Bill  also  exempts airsoft  weapons  which  will  minimise  the  impact  on  the airsoft trade while also ensuring public safety. 
11.  The  Bill  amends  the  1968  Act  to  provide  a  definition  of  a  ‘component  part’. 
    A component part will be defined as a: (i) the barrel, chamber, or cylinder; (ii) frame, body or receiver; or (iii) breech, block, bolt or other mechanism for containing the pressure of discharge at the rear of the chamber.
15.  The  Bill introduces a  new  offence  so  that  persons  who  are  in  possession  of  articles with  intent  to ( use  them  to)  unlawfully  convert  imitation  firearms,  without legal entitlement as a Registered Firearms Dealer, can be prosecuted. This is to correct  the  fact  that  there  is  currently  nothing  in  law  to  deter  persons  from  engaging in the process of unlawfully converting a firearm. The maximum penalty for the new offence is five years’ imprisonment.
17.  On  8  April  2016  the  EU  Implementing  Regulation  on  Deactivation  Standards  came into force.
18.  The  Bill  introduces  a  new  offence  to  sell  or  gift  a  weapon  that  has  not  been  deactivated  to  the  new  EU  Deactivation  Standards.    If  a  person  was  to  sell  a  weapon that was not deactivated to the new EU standards they would, following conviction on indictment, be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to a fine, or to both.

Some Useful figures:
Air Rifle A .22 pellet weighing 14.4 grains, maximum permissible speed is 612 ft/sec
A .177 pellet weighing 7.9 grains, maximum permissible speed is 826 ft/sec
Air pistol speeds are 433 ft/sec for a .22 and 584 ft/sec for a .177

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