Legal issues in airsoft

Legal issues in airsoft

Airsoft is a modern shooting sport. Airsoft guns themselves, are legal in many parts of the world, but not in all countries. Some countries have specific restrictions such as maximum muzzle energy, rules against using the trademarks of real firearms, and special marking requirements (such as brightly colored barrel tips).

Australia

Airsoft guns are federally banned, although [http://www.airsoftaustralia.com.au/ Airsoft Australia] have made significant progress in legalisation and are expecting a December 2008 final decision on the proposed bill.

Austria

* Airsoft guns and pistols are allowed, but restricted to maximal 0.08 joule for persons under 18 years of age.
* All users that are at least 14 years old do not need their parent's permission.
* Airsoft guns and pistols more than 0.08 joule can be purchased in specialized weapon shops only and all users have to be at least 18 years old

Belgium

* Airsoft guns and pistols can only be bought at officially licensed dealers, who carry a government permit along with a certified weapon of defense (W.O.D.) to import and sell firearms.

Bulgaria

* Airsoft is a legal sport in Bulgaria and there are no restrictions placed on the guns.
* People between 14-18 years old need their parents' permission. For the rest (18 and above) there are no restrictions.
* The Bulgarian law considers Airsoft guns to be Airguns - you don't need any documents, licenses or anything else to possess them.
* However, shooting in "protected" (quote from the law) areas is forbidden. Protected areas are schools, administrative buildings and other public property. Also, shooting with an Airgun/Airsoft gun in public areas is forbidden.
* There are no restrictions about carrying, possessing or using Airsoft guns in Bulgaria. There are no restrictions about the age of the players (traders don't sell Airguns/Airsoft guns to minors <18 though).
* There are no restrictions about lasers, flashlights etc. Basically, you could put anything on your gun.
* There's no need the end of the barrel to be painted in orange (like in the United States)
* There are no restrictions about the power of the Airguns/Airsoft guns - you could buy an 1J Airsoft as well as an 80J PCP Airgun
* There are no restrictions about carrying Airsoft guns in public areas (it is not a good idea, however).

Canada

From the Canada Firearms Centre's fact sheet on airguns: [http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/factsheets/airguns_e.asp]
* Airsoft guns that closely resemble real firearms are classified as replica firearms and can only be imported by companies possessing a Business Firearms License. It is unlawful to sell or transfer replica firearms without this license.
* Above convert|500|ft/s|m/s|abbr=on and 5.7 joules, air guns are considered controlled firearms and must be registered.
* No legal distinction is made between airsoft and true firearms when they are used for the purposes of crime.
* In Ontario the minimum age to purchase airsoft is 18. Children under 18 must be supervised by someone over 18.
* Airsoft guns imported into the country by private citizens are at risk of being seized and destroyed at the border by customs agents. The few Canadian airsoft retailers that exist take advantage of this fact and the prices are high in comparison to other countries.One other thing about their airsoft guns are that they must be clear and not painted in order to be legal.

The People's Republic of China

* In the People's Republic of China, it has been illegal for years mainland China. However, it is essentially an underground sport, and local authorities has been raiding this sport that anyone carrying these guns have been arrested and their stocks been confiscated to government. Market stalls and Shops have stopped selling airsoft guns. It is legal in China's SARs (Special Administrative Regions, such as Macau and Hong Kong) but there also its getting underground, several cargo companies already refuse to do anything with them.

Macau

* In Macau, China, all airsoft guns are legal but may not be fired with a muzzle energy above two (2) joules of kinetic energy.

Czech Republic

* Airsoft guns have the same status as real firearms, yet they fit into a category where no gun license is needed.
* The use of airsoft guns is allowed for players that are least 18 years old.
* Airsoft guns may not have an energy greater than 16 joules.
* The use of laser sights and flashlights is forbidden.
* Usage and open carrying of airsoft guns in public places is highly forbidden.
* Playing is forbidden in places which are freely accessible by civilians - it can be played only on places that are private and closed.

Denmark

Airsoft guns are mentioned in the Danish "Våbenlov" (Arms control legislation).
* You have to be at least 18 years old to buy, hand over and possess airsoft guns.
* You can use airsoft guns, on police approved sites, with a permission slip, at the age of 16.
* A firearms certificate is not required.

Finland

* Visible transportation of replica firearms in public areas is forbidden. All replica firearms must be covered with something, for example, a weapon case.
* Land owner's permission is needed to play airsoft in any area.
* Minors (under the age of 18) are able to purchase airsoft guns only with written permission from their legal guardians.

France

* Visible transportation of replica firearms in public areas is forbidden. All replica firearms must be covered with something, for example, a weapon case.
* Land owner's permission is needed to play airsoft in any area.
* Minors (under the age of 18) can only buy or use airsoft gun which are under 0.07 joules in power.
* Airsoft gun may only have a power under 2 joules , otherwise they are considered to be a weapon and must be registered.

Germany

* Airsoft guns under 0.5 joule are considered toy guns and can be freely sold to all persons above 3 years of age. Distributors agreed to raise the limit to least 14 years of age. [This is realized and the limit is thus 14 years]
* All airsoft guns between 0.5 joule and 7.5 joule must be bolt-action or semiautomatic only and can only be sold to people 18 years or older. These are considered "free" firearms, as a result:
** Sales of guns of more than 0.5 joule are allowed only in weapon shops.
** Guns must be marked with the trader's weapon abbreviation and a F-in-a-pentagon mark as well as the airsoft gun caliber (such as "6 mm BB").
* Target illuminating devices and lasers may "not" be attached to guns but are legal otherwise. For example: possession of a flashlight is allowed, even shooting with the flashlight in one hand and the gun in the other; but attaching it via mount ring to the rail system of a gun is not. Devices made specifically for the purpose of being attached to a gun (like certain flashlights with integrated foregrip for mil-spec rail) are prohibited.
* While the possession of airsoft guns is allowed, the actual use in a game is (at least) hotly debated. For sure, most players using guns with more than 0.5 joule muzzle energy leave Germany to play in countries like France, Belgium, Denmark or the Czech Republic.
** More information can be found at [http://airsoft-faq.de/wiki.pl/RechtsFAQ Airsoft FAQ on laws in Germany] , which covers more complicated issues like the "Kleiner Waffenschein", issues with the OWiG §118 in Bavaria and a definition of the term "combat shooting".

Greece

*The airsoft is basically an underground sport in Greece because the law is a little foggy. According to law the airsoft guns are not real firearms and they are free to purchase from shops.
*The airsoft guns usage and buying are not permitted for people under 18 years, however it is possible with parental supervision.
*It is prohibited to have any replica gun in public sight. This is threatened as illegal possession of a real firearm.
*The use of lasers, scopes and flashlights on a replica weapon is prohibited by the law.

Hong Kong

* In Hong Kong, all airsoft guns are legal but may not be fired with a muzzle energy above 2 joules.
* You are only allowed to play airsoft in private areas and non-country park areas.
* You may not reveal the airsoft guns in public areas.

Hungary

* The laws for airsoft in Hungary are simple (however there are additional rules). They're classified as airguns under 7.5 Joules. Fully automatic operation is legal. There is no age limit for buying, but minors (between 16 and 18) can only use them under the supervision of an adult.
* Airsoft guns can only be sold in licensed gun shops and these guns must have the proofmark of the "Hungarian Firearm Proofing Authority" (www.mkh.hu). An inspection of the gun is required for private import.
* Shooting of airguns: must be confined to a railed off private property or a shooting range. No pellet/BB should leave the range or property.
* Modification: modification of an airgun for higher muzzle energy is prohibited, but under 7.5 Joules there is no legal penalty for such act (above 7.5 Joules airguns classified as firearms which require license).
* Transportation: unloaded, in a closed case/bag.
* Storage: unloaded, gun separated from pellets/BBs, closed container, unauthorized persons should not have access to the gun
* Above the restrictions of law there are additional rules named "Hungarin Airsoft Regulation" or MASZ for short. All well-organized games (99 percent) are played by these rules.
* MASZ specifies the gun to use 6mm BB-s with the ballistic energy up to 1,7 Joules with any shooting type, 3,3 Joules with one-shot spring or half-auto weapon that can used only over 20 meters and only by adults. In CQB (Close Quarters Battle) up to 1,5 Joules semi-auto or spring or up to 1,1 Joules with automatic. It contains expectations for the right protection (mainly for the eyes) and other useful rules and instructions for ingame and other situation like: surrendering, pyrotechnic, injuries, civilians, and orders for correct operating of guns.MASZ: [http://web.axelero.hu/szlejer2/MASZ-2008.pdf]

Indonesia

* In Indonesia, there are no strict rules about it, and still under no consideration by the government as to whether airsoft guns are treated as "toys" or are almost equal to real guns. However, airsoft were first brought to Indonesia circa 2000 - 2001. The founders of Indonesian airsoft communities put some restrictions on airsoft games.
** For example, airsoft players are prohibited to upgrade their gun to above 100m/s, or they'll be rejected from the community.
** Anyone who wants to buy an airsoft gun, must be at least 18 years old and know the regulations and rules about the airsoft gun.

Some events have occurred that are perceived as endangering the continuity of the hobby, such as some robberies in which airsoft replicas were used.

Therefore, in order to control its grown, there is a govt authorized club called PERBAKIN (Indonesian Shooting Club) which is currently appointed by police to accommodate Airsoft as a new born sport. however, this information about Perbakin is inaccurate, an anonymous tip informs that PERBAKIN do not have any agenda whatsoever relating to airsoft

Most likely that the Airsoft will be under IPSC supervision since one of the sport type can be categorized as IPSC (practical shooting) and not just only skirmish (war game).However this statement can only be a wishfull thingking cosidering how little the government's attention in this activity. Govt don't approve skrimish as a sport, they only permit Target shooting and IPSC only. In other words, if you want to play Airsoft, you should become a member of this Perbakin Club and not participating in skirmishes, but only in IPSC.

Ireland

The status of Airsoft in Ireland was changed after the 2006 Criminal Justice Act, which amended the previous Firearms Acts from 1925, 1963, 1972 and 1990.

Where once authorization or a license was required for all devices which fired a projectile from a barrel, The law now defines a firearm as (amongst other things);

"an air gun (including an air rifle and air pistol) with a muzzle energy greater than one joule of kinetic energy or any other weapon incorporating a barrel from which any projectile can be discharged with such a muzzle energy"

The aim of this change was to establish a minimum power a device must have to be classified a firearm in order to eliminate the legal oddity where toy suction cup dart guns and the like were legally classified as firearms, thus bringing Ireland into line with the rest of the EU. In this case, one joule was used as the limit, as opposed to seven joules in Germany, 12 foot-pounds force (8.9 J) in the UK and so on. The one joule limit most likely arose from UK case law where it was found that energies in excess of one joule were required to penetrate an eyeball (thus causing serious injury). As a result, airsoft devices under one joule of power have been declassified and have become perfectly legal to possess and use within The Republic of Ireland. Those over one joule of power remain perfectly legal to possess and use within the Republic, so long as a firearms certificate is applied for and granted by the local Garda superintendent - but they are at this point classed legally as actual firearms.

Airsoft devices with a muzzle energy in excess of one joule must be licenced and as such must have a serial number marked indelibly on them; with firearms this is achieved by stamping or engraving the number on the receiver or other critical component of the firearm; with airsoft devices which do not have such serial numbers, one must be indelibly marked on the airsoft device. A discussion on the exact manner in which this is to be done should be had with the local Garda Superintendent, as different Superintendents may have different preferences for this. However it should be noted that the airsoft device in question would then legally be a licenced firearm and shooting any person with it would constitute assault, furthermore, no Airsoft site in Ireland would allow any player to use an airsoft device in excess of 1 Joule, licenced or not.

Israel

Airsoft guns are classified as "dangerous toys" which makes airsoft illegal to import, manufacture and sell. This law is not very well enforced, however, and it is possible to find retailers who import MPEG level airsoft guns and also AEG level airsoft guns.

Israeli airsofters have created an airsoft association in an attempt to make airsoft legal - Girit "Girit Airsoft Association in Israel"("גירית – עמותת איירסופט לישראל"). Girit is cooperating with the Israeli Shooting Federation, joining it shortly as a member and cooperating with other governmental authorities in an attempt to make airsoft legal in Israel.For more information you may refer to http://www.airsoft.org.il

Girit Airsoft Association has established cooperation with USAPSA, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Swedish and Czech airsofters. An Israeli national airsoft tactical shooting competition took place near Beit Berel March 2007.

Italy

Airsoft guns and pistols are allowed a muzzle velocity below 100 m/s (328 ft/s) i.e. equivalent to a muzzle energy equal or minor to 1 joule: under the law, airsoft guns are not classified as firearms but as toys. You can buy and sell it both from stores and from another private citizen, either domestically or from abroad: Internet purchasing and mail shipping is legal and unrestricted. No license or registration is required.
* Red tips must be present on the barrel ends of the airsoft gun when they are imported and sold by a store. Once you own the airsoft gun, you may remove the red tip; however, the similarity between genuine firearms and airsoft replicas is close enough to provoke interaction with law enforcement personnel if an airsoft gun is mistaken for its real counterpart. Airsoft used to commit a crime is treated as if you had the real gun, assault weapons carry an extra mandatory sentence in addition to the regular punishment for the crime committed.
* As the law limits the muzzle energy that an airsoft replica can develop before being classified by law as an air gun, modifying an airsoft gun to deliver more power or to shoot anything other than 6mm BB plastic pellets is a felony.
* There is no mandatory minimum age to purchase airsoft and/or use it during a regular match; the Italian Ministry of Interior only "recommends" to restrict their sales to people over the age of 18, or 14 if accompanied by a parent or legal tutor or if the replica is not particularly realistic or powerful (i.e. low-grade airsoft products).
* Usage and open carrying of air soft guns in public places is forbidden. You can play in a private property away from public sight, or in a well-delimited private or state property after having asked the local authorities for a limited-time permit (usually from 6 to 48 hours), and having alerted the local police command, to avoid alarmed citizens calling for emergency.

Japan

* In Japan, airsoft guns are legal, but may not shoot with a muzzle energy above 0.98 joules.
* Legal requirements are set on airsoft model manufacturers to prevent any possibility of a replica weapon being converted into an actual firearm.
* Standards include (but are not limited to) use of low-melting point metals and non-ballistic plastics in structural components and incompatibility of mechanical components with actual firearm components and mechanisms.
* The overall litmus test used by the Japanese National Police Authority is whether the replica weapon can be made to chamber and fire an actual round of ammunition.
* These standards have proven successful within Japan, as it has been found that criminal elements discovered that it is significantly easier to purchase an actual illegal weapon in comparison to modifying a comparatively fragile replica into a functional firearm.
* Due to this reality, most crimes involving a threat of physical violence are often perpetrated with edged weapons, as firearms seen in public are (by default) believed to be toys by the public at large.

Luxembourg

All airsoft guns are treated under the national weapon law and demand a personal user certificate.

Lithuania

Registration of any sort is not required for airsoft weapons, however, they are only available for purchase to people over 18 years. Airsoft players have established unofficial set of rules, which regulates the behavior of players, belonging to the community.

Malaysia

Airsoft is completely Illegal/Banned.Anyone caught in possession of such replicas can be charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms, although they are replicas.There has been cases where people are "issued" licenses to carry airsoft replicas, but this is not true and no such licenses or permits have ever been issued by anyone.

Netherlands

The law places full restrictions on Airsoft Weapons, rendering possession illegal. When one looks at the Dutch law on this subject, airsoft is not explicitly mentioned, and the characteristics of airsoft weapons would place the weapons in Category I of the Dutch gun laws (legal to own and operate without a license). However, the Dutch Ministry of Justice can make exceptions, which it has for airsoft weapons, (The reason given is that the weapons look so realistic, that they can be used for intimidation), placing airsoft weapons that are 1:1 replicas and/or realistic in Category IV (illegal without any possibility of acquiring a permit). The sport itself has the same legal status as paintball, but since Airsoft players prefer 1:1 realistic replicas the Dutch players travel to Belgium instead.

New Zealand

Single-shot and semi-automatic (all automatic weapons require a special restricted endorsement) air-powered weapons are legal to possess and use in New Zealand, provided that the person is either over 18 years of age, or 16 with a firearms license. A person under 18 may not possess an air gun but may use one under the direct supervision of someone over 18 or a firearms license holder.

It is illegal to use these weapons in any manner that may endanger or intimidate members of the public (pointing, brandishing, etc) except where there is reasonable cause, such as an Airsoft game.

Citation
last = Police
first = New Zealand
title = Airguns Factsheet
url=http://www.police.govt.nz/service/firearms/infosheet04.html
accessdate = 2007-07-24

Norway

The Arms control legislation (Våpenforskrift) requires:
* One to be at least 18 years old to buy, hand over, possess and use airsoft guns.
* A firearms certificate is not required.

Philippines

Organized airsoft started in 1985, and interest in the hobby had gone up and down, several times over the past 20 years. The airsoft gaming community initially conducted their games in secrecy, but in the recent years has reached the mainstream due to the tremendous surge of newbies, owing to the advent of cheap China-made airsoft guns. Airsoft teams are mostly clan organized, with a number of groups claiming representation, to a certain extent, of the local airsoft community, organizing and coordinating between local teams, especially during big events where hundreds of players from teams all over the country converge on selected venues for friendly tournaments.

Letter of Instruction 1264, a Presidential Directive, signed by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1982, bans the import, sale and public display of gun replicas, but purchase of airsoft guns and the movement of airsoft players are largely untouched by the government, with only a few confiscated shipments marring that record. No direct regulations have been placed on the airsoft community, and players of all ages and background are welcomed to play.

Philippine law considers any contraption a firearm if it fires a projectile larger than 5.5 mm in diameter, however, local media has suggested that airsofting will soon be considered officially legal provided there are a few exceptions like the proposed ordinance of repainting the replica gun to make it look less realistic and more distinguishable from an authentic firearm (similar to laws in the United States). However given the structure of the Philippine government and their method of operation, such a ratification may take several years to be processed.

As of 24 July 2006 the-then Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Oscar Calderon has signed a Memo approving a petition for classification of airsoft guns as air guns under current PNP Rules and Regulations dated 29 January 1992, and thus providing an opportunity for legal ownership and transport of airsoft guns under specific conditions. Despite the approval of the memo its validity is still a subject of debate. Under Philippine law, a memo from the Chief PNP amending the PNP Rules and Regulations cannot over rule/repeal or amend a Presidential directive. Only the Legislative body, the Supreme Court or the present President can do so. Since the PNP has the authority to classify what constitutes a gun replica and airsoft guns were deemed different from replicas there maybe no need to repeal LOI 1264 in order to achieve full legalization of airsoft in the Philippines.

At present, the current PNP Chief Director, General Avelino Razon Jr has signed a revised version of the 2006 Memo and has given the airsoft community 6 months to comply with revised rules and regulations. Airsoft guns must now be registered and airsofters must also sequester a permit to legally transport their guns to authorized game sites. Unregistered airsoft guns may be confiscated.

Poland

Airsoft guns fall into the same category as paintball guns and air-powered weapons up to 17 Joules and are available to people over 18 years of age, registration of any sort is not required. This, however, is not strictly enforced and many cheap spring replicas may be found in toy shops (due to common practice of labelling them as "toys"). Generally, the police considers airsoft replicas toys rather than "non-lethal weapons". The Polish airsoft community has formulated "Airsoft Rules", an unofficial set of rules regarding airsoft as a whole. While they are not enforced in any specific way, abiding "Airsoft Rules" is a sign of "playing fair" and belonging to the community.Excerpts from "Airsoft Rules":
* Eye protection must be worn at all times during the game.
* Brandishing replicas in public places is not allowed. Doing so may lead to ejection from the community.
* Local law enforcement (police, Forest Guard etc.) must be informed earlier about every airsoft game taking place in the area.
* Players between 16 and 18 years of age are able to participate in airsoft games only with written permission from their parents.

Portugal

Airsoft is legal in Portugal under the name of Softair. Softair falls into a specific category designated as "Arma de softair" or in English "softair gun". According to the new Guns and Ammunitions Act (DR - Lei n.°5/2006 de 23 de Fevereiro - Regime Jurídico das armas e suas munições) some of the main excerpts are:
* Any softair gun must be totally or partially painted in fluorescent red or yellow color;
* Maximum energy level at muzzle exit must not exceed 1.3 Joules (or 374 fps);
* Softair gun purchase is limited to:
** Minimum age of 18;
** Only for sport practice;
** Buyer/gun owner must be registered in a softair federation;
* Softair players/gun owners don't need to possess Public Liability insurance;
* Other special limitations may apply to softair gunsmiths and players.This information is an excerpt of the law, for further information refer to full document (DR - Lei n.°5/2006).

Romania

Law nr. 295 from 2004 (Regimul Armelor şi Muniţiilor) regulates all use of weapons and associated ammunition:
* The law is quite unclear (in what concerns airsoft weapons) as to whether this kind of weapon classifies as "non-lethal weapon" or "toy".
* The law regulates the use of air-powered weapons (e.g. sport/competition use, that use a metal projectile) under "non-lethal" category and solely requires that you (1) are at least 18 years old and (2) register your weapon at the police precinct nearest from your location.
* The law specifies that usage of night vision (infrared) or laser aiming devices "designed for military use" is completely restricted to members of the army and associated entities even if the aiming device is used on a lower-restriction category weapon (e.g. such as on an airsoft gun). The law, however, does not restrict in any way the use of aiming devices not designed for military use.
* The law specifies that, should you attempt to use a non-lethal or replica gun to perform (or attempt to perform) armed robbery, you shall be prosecuted as if a real gun was used.

** Airsoft and paintball replicas can not be covered by Law nr. 295/2004 regarding the Guns and Ammo regime (Regimul armelor şi al muniţiilor), they are not listed in the law's annex as a gun because of their destination and mode of operation, therefor there's no need for an authorization to buy, own and use them.

** A new addition to the law 295/2004 was made at 17/02/2008 called OUG 28/2008 which restricts evenmore the forms and regulations.

lovenia

* One has to be at least 18 years to buy airsoft guns.
* If the velocity of an airsoft gun is below 100 m/s (328 ft/s) i.e. equivalent to 1 joule, it is considered to be a toy.
* If the velocity is higher than 100 m/s (328 ft/s), the airsoft gun is classified as a section D weapon in the Firearms control legislation of Slovenia. Additionally "Air Soft Clubs and National Shooters Association" in Slovenia recommend that airsoft gun velocities should not be above 100 m/s (1 J).

ingapore

Used to be legal, no age limit to purchase Airsoft guns. One year after the sport was introduced in the country it was banned due to safety issues. A [http://www.gopetition.com/online/9203.html petition] is underway hoping to legalise Airsoft. Currently, only a few clubs in Singapore managed to set up IPSC shooting using Airsoft guns, with permission from the government and firearm licenses. Currently, the clubs allow purchasing of Airsoft pistols but not allowed to be brought back home. There are no skirmishes except the shooting of paper targets.

pain

Airsoft guns are regarded as low power weapons and AEGs must have:
* Semiautomatic rifles and pistols: less than 2.4 joules
* Other automatic electric guns: less than 1.00 joules and local police validation.

weden

One must be at least 18 years old to buy airsoft guns. One is allowed to use airsoft guns in Sweden even if one is under 18 years of age. However, if someone under 18 wants an airsoft gun, an adult will have to purchase it for them.

In order to possess a gas, air or spring operated firearm without a license the impact energy of a projectile fired at a distance of 3 meters must be less than 10 joules. If it is semi or fully automatic the impcet energy must be less than 3 joules.

witzerland

* Airsoft guns are not considered as subject to the weapon legislation and no permission is necessary.
* All kinds of laser sights are forbidden.

United Kingdom

There are currently certain restrictions on the possession of airsoft replicas, which came in with the introduction of the ASBA (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003) Amendments, which prohibit the possession of any firearms replica in a public place without good cause (to be concealed in a hard gun case or sealed container only not to be left in view of public at any time) . The prohibition of self-contained gas cartridge weapons similar to that made by Brocock can arguably apply to Moscarts and BB-Shower grenade systems, however a formal case precedent has yet to be set. There were initial concerns among the airsoft community that the Violent Crime Reduction Bill (passed an Act in November 2006, but not yet commenced) would in future prevent airsoft skirmishers from buying realistic imitation firearms. However, on the 20th of September 2006 the Association of British Airsofters (ABA) received a letter from Tony McNulty (Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing at the Home Office) saying that he has "decided to provide a defence for airsoft skirmishing in relation to the ban on the sale etc. of realistic firearms". There has been confirmation airsoft will receive an exemption. This letter has been scanned and reproduced on the ABA website [http://www.associationofbritishairsoft.org/] . Note that membership of the ABA may be required in order to view the letter.

Since then, the Bill has received Royal Assent, and while now Statute Law in the UK, is still a matter of some (at times heated) discussion in the UK Airsofting community - not least of which the question as to how the Act, and Specific Defence, will work, the process of which is still being decided upon at the Home Office, at the time of this edit (5th December 2006).

The Defence will be based on whether or not a person is a Skirmisher. One of the measures put in place by retailers to aid in identifying Skirmishers is a database of skirmishers registered in a central database. A person must be a regular skirmisher (i.e. skirmish 3 or more times in no less than two months) in order to be registered, and the airsoft site they register/skirmish at must hold public Public Liability Insurance. Once a skirmisher is registered they receive a membership card and must produce this before buying or trading airsoft weapons from these retailers, though not a legal requirement (As long as you can prove that you are an airsoft skirmisher you may purchase Realistic Imitation Firearms or RIFs. (Airsoft guns deemed to be realistic.) It is expected that HM Customs & Excise will also have access to the database to verify the identity of importers.

The VCRA (Violent Crime Reduction Act) came into effect as of the 1st October 2006, thus meaning that RIF (Realistic Imitation Firearms) can only be purchased by registered members of an airsoft skirmish site (accessories and ammunition are not covered by the VCRA). Only those people over the age of 18 can purchase Replica Imitation Firearms. IF (Imitation Firearms), however, are still legal and may be purchased by anyone 18 or over and used by any age, regardless of membership status. These usually take the form of "Two-Tone" guns - normal Airsoft guns, that have been painted in bright colours in order to mark them out clearly as Imitation Firearms and not Realistic Imitation Firearms.

United States

* Under Federal Law,
** Airsoft guns are not classified as firearms and are legal for all ages under federal law, as well as the laws in each state. However, in some major cities and population centers the definition of a firearm within their respected ordinances includes propulsion by spring or compressed air, thus subject to applicable laws.
** A 6 mm minimum orange tip must be present on the barrel end of the airsoft gun to identify it as such for any commercial sales. [Penalties for entering into commerce of imitation firearms: http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode15/usc_sec_15_00005001----000-.html] Once sold, local laws may vary on whether or not the orange tip must be kept - in many places, no laws exist restricting one from removing or replacing the orange tip, but one should check the local laws before making such a modification.
** Airsoft guns' trademarks must be removed where the manufacturer does not have an existing license agreement with the manufacturer of the real fire arm. For example: Classic Army has a licensing agreement with Armalite, so the trademarks can stay on imported replicas of Armalite's weapons. In practice enforcement is hit or miss. You might get an "unlicensed" gun through customs with trademarks intact, while a licensed gun might be held in Customs by an uninformed customs agent. House Resolution 607, sponsored in early 2007, would change this if passed, allowing imports to retain trademarks even if there is no agreement between the real firearms manufacturer and the replica manufacturer. [ [http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-607 GovTrack.us.] H.R. 607--110th Congress (2007): Military Toy Replica Act, GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation) http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-607 (accessed Mar 28, 2007)]
** In addition, the similarity between genuine firearms and airsoft replicas is close enough to provoke interaction with local law enforcement personnel if an airsoft gun is carried openly in public.
** If someone were to, for example, attempt a robbery with an airsoft gun, they would be charged as if the airsoft gun were a real firearm.Fact|date=October 2007
* New York City requires that all realistic toy or imitation firearm be made of clear or brightly colored plastics; furthermore, New York City makes possession of any air pistol or air rifle or similar instrument in which the propelling force is a spring or air, unlawful without a license. "See" New York City Administrative Code § 10-131(b) and New York City Administrative Code § 10-131(g)(1)(a) [Excerpt from New York City Administrative Code, specific sections pertaining to firearms and airguns: http://www.nysrpa.org/nyc-admincode.pdf] . The rest of New York State is unaffected by these laws, and there are no state regulations limiting or prohibiting airsoft.
* Michigan allows the purchase of Airsoft guns. However, they must have an orange tip on the barrel.
* Texas allows Airsoft guns to be owned but most cities require that the Airsoft guns be discharged only while outside city limits.
* Some cities in Illinois considers shipping or distributing airsoft guns illegal.

ee also

* Airsoft
* Airsoft guns

References

4. Philippines, Airsoft guns need to be registered - http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Metro&p=49&type=2&sec=26&aid=20080717108


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