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What is controlled by the VCRA?

s.36(1) Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 states that:

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

But due to the following piece of legislation, legitimate airsoft skirmishers in the UK have a defence against any prosecution for anything that was listed above:

  1. Subsection (1) has effect subject to the defences in section 37.
  2. The Secretary of State may by regulations—
    1. provide for exceptions and exemptions from the offence under subsection (1); and
    2. provide for it to be a defence in proceedings for such an offence to show the matters specified or described in the regulations.

What does this mean, I hear you ask?

If you are someone who has played at a location that is insured for third party liability for the purposes of acting out law enforcement or military scenarios – or in simpler terms, you are someone who plays Airsoft, then you can do any of the above.

Legislation differs only slightly for Northern Ireland but for all intents and purposes it is the same.