A bill has been read in the House of Commons that could cause issue for some airsofters.
Part of the bill,
which can be found to its full extent here, proposes an exclusion in Policing and Crime Bill 2015-16 that permits the sport of airsoft to continue without RIFs being classified as firearms.
This sounds fantastic, a great step forward the sport. Finally some recognition!
However, this is the bill in its current state:
57A Exception for airsoft guns (1)An “airsoft gun” is not to be regarded as a firearm for the purposes of this Act. (2)An “airsoft gun” is a barrelled weapon of any description from which only a small plastic missile, with kinetic energy at the muzzle of the weapon that does not exceed the permitted level, can be discharged. (3)“Small plastic missile” means a missile that— (a)is made wholly or partly from plastics, and (b)does not exceed 6 millimetres in diameter. (4)The permitted kinetic energy level is— (a)in the case of a weapon which is designed or adapted so that two or more missiles can be discharged successively without repeated pressure on the trigger, 1.3 joules; (b)in any other case, 2.5 joules.”
As you can see, the current exception to airsoft guns needs work.
Firstly, there’s no stipulation that airsoft ammunition must be spherical. Reddit user u/masterventris rightly states that someone could fire 6mm rods from their gun without repercussion.
Furthermore, this completely cuts off the 8mm market. Whilst 8mm airsoft replicas may not be the most popular in the
sport, there are collectors and manufacturers that still use 8mm ammunition and cutting these people out will be a huge loss to the airsoft industry in the UK. It is unclear whether these 8mm weapons would be ‘grand-fathered’ in and banned from sale or whether they would be flat-out illegal to sell or own. Regardless, it’s a change that the community would like to avoid.
We feel that this is a great step in the right direction for protecting our sport and getting it recognised. However, this needs to be better researched to ensure that our sport continues without hindrance or sacrifice.
If you’re in the UK,
we urge that you contact your local MP.
As always, remain civil. We must show that as a community we are sensible, reasonable people with a genuine interest in this sport and its continuance. Ask your MP to read into this subject, provide them materials and sources, point out your grievances with this bill and propose reasonable solutions.