VCRA Reboot Proposals?

Posted by Unknown On Wednesday, November 06, 2013

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Airsoft OdysseyRattling the Tigers Cage!
VCRA Reboot
Reporter: Yosser

How to Kill UK Airsoft - A Guide

So what would you say about a leading UK airsoft retailer and leading light in the formation of UKARA daring to suggest that airsoft weapons in the UK come under the SAME rules and restrictions as REAL DEAL firearms?

This is just one of the proposals put forward in correspondence Airsoft Odyssey has kindly been passed by our intelligence sources. What is being outlined to the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) , Home Office and anyone else that will listen is that ONLY RFD’s (Registered Firearms Dealers) be able to sell RIF’s.

The full suggestions sent to the Home Office include:

  • All RIFs should be sold through Air weapon RFDs, (at least 50% of UKARA retailers are already RFDs)
  • RIFs to be sold to 18 and over only
  • Only Air weapon RFDs should be allowed to import RIFs
  • No restrictions on posting RIFs
  • 2nd hand sales only through Air weapon RFD monitored resources.

This of course will potentially put an end to UKARA – a coffin that is being nailed shut by some of its own members, Zero-One selling via their Festival Wristbands! And NOW FireSupports own Frank making these proposals by rattling the tigers cage that doesn’t need to be disturbed.

UKARA have been quick to distance themselves from the representations made by Firesupports Frank Bothamley by writing to its membership and outlining its stance. Frank appears to have gone to ACPO and HO and may have given the impression that he was representing UK airsoft (via UKARA?) and asking to be involved in any VCRA update process. He is now hoping for the consultation process to begin, especially now that ACPO have essentially ruled VCRA unenforceable and have tried to palm it off to local trading standards organisations. The Home Office are of course now looking into what can now be done to make the law enforceable and simpler.

Plenty of UKARA members are now asking for FULL consultation and an emergency meeting to discuss what is happening as this is likely to put many of them effectively out of business if it where acted upon. Some are even expressing votes of no confidence in the current committee and asking for radical reform of the organisation.

So if Frank’s proposals (backed by SOME UKARA members) where to be adopted what would the effects for UK airsofters be?
Imagine the New world Order for UK Airsoft:

  • NO internet sales – no small internet only retailers
  • NO private importing RIFs/airsoft
  • Travelling distances across country to buy airsoft weapons IN PERSON
  • NO secondhand sales – all those forums and retailers out of business - less choice for players
  • Price control and huge price rises by a ‘CARTEL’ controlling UK airsofting

Scary stuff – you couldn’t make this stuff up – only in UK airsoft!

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  1. Anonymous Said,

    Sounds about right for FS and their airsoft mafia. First the ICS contract, now they want full control of the Market. Also they are hand in hand with AI Mag which most ppl do not realise. Ben Webb and Frank are the most elitist, self proclaimed airsoft gods about.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 9:09 PM

  2. Anonymous Said,

    blahh blahh blahh, stfu with your tabloid reporting.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 9:52 PM

  3. Spider Said,

    Great reporting fella - although I hope it's all a horrible mistake. It seems major UK retailers are determined to destroy our sport because they think it will enable them to control the market. Bit short-sighted really, when no-one is able to play because of the embuggerance no-one will be left to purchase their overpriced monopolised gear.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:00 PM

  4. Anonymous Said,

    we need to tread carefully as this is a sensitive topic on a public medium

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:04 PM

  5. Anonymous Said,

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:15 PM

  6. Anonymous Said,

    Whist I see the possible backlash something like this could have for our sport and community... I still think that its not all bad. Two-Tone Imitation Firearms (IFs) are doing serious damage to airsoft, as its all too easy for parents to by minors these colourful "Toys" which have the same power and specs as the high end Real Imitation Firearms (RIFS) without having to prove there eligibility to skirmish etc. I think tighter regulation could potentially raise the standing of airsoft within the view of the public as it could close loop holes such as IFs/Two-Tones and make it harder for those without the respect for our sport to damage our reputation.

    I do think tighter sanctions are required on sellers as some who will sell IF's to parents of minors knowing full well that it will be "gifted" to them to play with will face no repercussion and only work to endanger our sport.

    Having players required to be registered would have a positive impact in my eyes as it would be a reminder that we as players are responsible for our actions and those who failed to accept there responsibilities would have to face the music.

    The VCRA act in relation to airsoft was, in my opinion always a stop gap... The exemption was only granted for airsofters and re-en actors due to the work of a few to save it at the final hour, and I think its fair to say currently the systems in place are not perfect.

    This is not to say that I feel any of the proposed changes will be perfect... but if approached right, it could work to secure the future of airsoft and increase our standing as responsible adults who take our responsibilities seriously. Not all change is good, and yes it can be a scary transition which may not go are way... but I do feel if airsoft continues to grow in its current state... I predict more problems and incidents which will have a negative impact for our community, possibly causing it to vanish all together.

    Fingers crossed that those involved see sense and dont act to suit their own interests but work to help secure the future of our sport and community.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 10:27 PM

  7. Anonymous Said,

    Blah blah blah blah stop your crap FS are a load of jerk's who think they know it all.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:00 PM

  8. Will Said,

    If you want to be taken seriously, ensure your article is consistent in both spelling and other grammar. Also ensure that you have posted some citation, else all of the above is purely speculation. I'm sure you have to protect your "intelligence sources" but that doesn't mean you can't post what you've been sent so everyone can make their own judgement call.

    Secondly, I've either misunderstood your fictional "New world Order" (sic) or you have come to a massively wrong conclusion.
    1)”NO internet sales – no small internet only retailers” - at no point has your article stated that internet sales will be banned. The proposals (which do not necessarily equate to FireSupport's proposals, UKARA's proposals or even truth without a cited source) merely state that RFD's should be organising the sales.
    2) “NO private importing RIFs/airsoft” - I can't fault this point
    3) “Travelling distances across country to buy airsoft weapons IN PERSON” - Aside from the fact that I can't see how you would travel a distance across country not to buy in person, there is nothing stopping RIFs being posted. From point 4 of the proposals: “No restrictions on posting RIFs”
    4) “NO secondhand sales – all those forums and retailers out of business - less choice for players” - Again, secondhand (sic) sales are not banned, merely organised through a retailer. There are lots of ways this could be implemented from threads that have to be approved or retailers selling on behalf of someone (kind of like a swap shop). Personally, I would prefer to use forums but I can appreciate that it is open to a massive amount of abuse under current VCRA legislation.
    Forums don't generally go out of business because second hand sales aren't taking place, after all when was the last time you gave Zero One a cut of your sale because you used their forum to sell it. Most of the time, forums go under because the cost and time implications are massive. Online advertisements have to be intrusive to make money (which would stop people coming to the forum) and asking for donations often doesn't yield much result (I can't honestly say I haven't donated to a forum). Retailers won't go out of business if they are an RFD, if anything it'll make it easier for retailers to stay in business as the second hand market will dry up.
    5) “Price control and huge price rises by a ‘CARTEL’ controlling UK airsofting” - You are now mixing up exclusive contracts with no private importing. RFD's can import from anyone, that's what the proposal states. That means the only “CARTEL” (sic) that increase the price is the exporters whomever they are. An RFD could up their prices, but that would only harm their sales. Yes, I am aware that FireSupport do (or at least did) have a contract with ICS. It's nothing illegal, it's just good business. Other retailers can still buy ICS RIF's, they just need to approach a UK distributor instead and a quick comparison shows that the retailers are all at a similar price, so competition doesn't seem to have been affected.

    I'm not trying to change your mind, I just want you to see a reasonable and balanced view. Don't give in to sensationalist reporting.

    When the VCRA was first touted many proclaimed it to be the doom of airsoft in the UK. But we've prevailed. A little common sense can go a long way.

    As I said at the start, please post your sources. Without it, all I'm reading and commenting on is speculation and conjecture.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:01 PM

  9. Said,

    i very much doubt the gov will re-write a simple addition to the vc bill circa the 2007 reform to allow a forming of a cartel within the uk, the most simplest move would be that all members currently with ukara, bail and leave the rotten ship before it sinks, and take away the slipping confidence that people have with this cancer, put the control of verification to site owners and platforms such as nwacss and move on people, let retailers sell with the confidence as laid out with the statutory instrument, not the non statutory ukara shite, nutz/s.w.a.t.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:03 PM

  10. Unknown Said,

    thanks for the comments guys - sources cannot be revealed as i believe a witch hunt is already underway looking for the 'deep throat' in the org. - Beleiev what you want - and my point is about private sales being banned unless via a RFD - anyway enjoy - i've done my job by bringing to the attention of uk airsofters - over to to them now its in the open!

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:11 PM

  11. Anonymous Said,

    Bollock airsoft is not going to change I think its to easy to get a gun. Within two weeks of playing I had bought my first G36C and wernt even asked for a ukara. It does need to be regulated better when talking private sales but the price of guns shouldn't go up. I agree with every thing FS do and stand for Frank and John are good honest guys just having fun in a job they love doing.

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:28 PM

  12. vivek keshwala Said,

    To the person that called Ben elitist you clearly haven't met him and are a coward if you're going to slag someone off have the balls to say without hiding behind anonymity

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:37 PM

  13. Anonymous Said,

    Totally Agree that only RFD's should sell RIFS!!!

    Posted on November 6, 2013 at 11:48 PM

  14. Anonymous Said,

    Hi Guys

    As a Large Airsoft Retailer, UKARA member and RFD I totally support Franks plans as will most of the UKARA members who already abide by the VCR Act.....

    Lets just clarify a couple of points made and clearly not reported correctly;

    1. RIFS are NOT Air Weapons so therefore will not be classified as such, it would just mean you need to be an RFD to sell them. RIFS cannot even be Air Weapons as they are typically under 1.5 Joules, therefore do not fall into an Air Weapon Classification by Law.

    2. If not classified as Air Weapons (Which as above we know they can't be) RIFS will still be able to be sold online and posted to our customers

    3. NO PRIVATE SALES - This is rubbish........ As a Private individual in the UK I can sell a Full Power Hunting Air Rifle to another individual over 18 and post it to him....... So if RIFS are not Air Rifles as we've established they can't be........ 2 Private individuals will still be able to sell a gun to each other....

    Basically what we are proposing is that only an RFD will be able to sell and import new RIFS as a 'Retailer' surely this is a good thing?. Those not already RFD's just apply - A quick and Simple Process as I know from experience.... I only see a problem for those retailers operating from their bedrooms, usually without after sales support or warranty - A good thing surely???

    And finally I just want to add that there are already grumbles within ACPO, the Home Office and Trading standards, surely Frank at FS and every other retailer is best off to get involved in the discussions now???? At-least this way we can have a hand in any change of legislation rather than just letting some bureaucrat in Parliament make a decision that ultimately affects my livelihood and your hobby.....

    Lastly all I want to say is that the proposed plans are just that, it was a suggestion within the retailer forum, it hasn't been put forward to anyone in power and it was only sent out to gauge other retailers opinions!!! Remember we all make our livings from this so rest assured we are going to do what we can to protect the sport and our businesses!!!!

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:03 AM

  15. Anonymous Said,

    Not sure why but I put the facts about this up here, and as a supporter of this idea. It seems not to have been published??? Funny that

    Obviously its going to be a one sided argument and this forum doesn't want to hear from other UKARA Retailers and existing RFD's???

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:20 AM

  16. Anonymous Said,

    Many RFD's sell RIF's already, so whats new ?? they just put them on the airgun register and sell them as airguns...
    And also with many airguns now that look identical to RIF's you can buy an airgun easier than a RIF, in 2007 when the VCRA came out, most airguns looked like airguns and not RIF's
    As ACPO and the home office have stated that the VCRA does not work then alternatives have to be found.
    Remember we only have a defence, so if nothing is found the Home Office could easy say it is not working and remove our defence.
    It is better to have something than nothing, times change if we do not change our attitude and views rather than acting like children then we have no sport

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:25 AM

  17. Unknown Said,

    Our gun laws are so stupid. I can go out and buy a 177 or 22 air gun which looks real and can really domsome damage to people ( and usually cheaper than the airsoft alternative). Yet when I want to buy a toy gun which can do minimal damage, I need to be a regestered skirmisher and be over 18. I say get rid of two tones and get rid of the VCRA. If your stupid enough to missuse these toys then you deserve to be shot by the police.

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 5:17 AM

  18. Anonymous Said,

    I'd slag off any of these so called elitist softers to there faces, and anyone else i felt needed my personal input! i'm sick of hearing Tier this and Tier that and we have the bestest kit therefore we are am bestest softer, just turn up and play for christ sake, the hobby has its pit falls and we're all aware of those but just leave it alone and stop trying to fuck it up!
    Those retailers out there who bend the rules to sell guns shame on you and you should be named and shamed then spanked with a fine to a worthy charity!
    And if there are any truths in any of these rumours then those involved need to wind there necks in and stop being massive bell ends. Like wise if this whole thing has been started due to some silly vendetta and no real substance then also wind yer neck in and stop being a bell end too.

    Now play nicely and see you in the field.


    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 9:39 AM

  19. Anonymous Said,

    This article is a prime example of yellow tabloids. He clearly saw the e-mail but chose to only use parts of it and completely out of context. If Sun ever get an airsoft section you sir should apply.

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 11:48 AM

  20. Anonymous Said,

    I don't think Second Hand sales should be banned, but I could see why retailers would want to stimulate. However the main problem in airsoft is that everyone gets their tampons out as soon as the gossip comes to light. Seriously guys start discussing things in a healthy manor, why create such a bitch fest?

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:28 PM

  21. Anonymous Said,

    While I agree that the VCRA act needs to be looked at again due to the availability of 2 tones to everyone which in my opinion undermines everything the VCRA set out to achieve (2 tone and a tin of spraypaint = RIF) the sellling of RIF's at firearms dealers may be a step too far as many airsoft stores would go out of business.
    please note: I am not 100% against 2 tones and understand under 18s need a way to get into the sport without paying £35 rental every time they want to play (just ask the parents to spend £130 on a G&G combat machine 2 tone instead) I just don't like the unregulated availability which is in my opinion the greatest threat to airsoft (that and an unaware/uneducated public who accept paintball but would probably campaign to have airsoft banned due to the realistic nature of the guns).

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 1:29 PM

  22. Anonymous Said,

    jeez guys airsoft guns are "toys" and we are people whole like playing with toy guns and shooting each other with them..
    It is hard enough now to buy these toy guns as it is. Imagine a RFD having to stock essentially toy guns. I nearly lost an eye once to Nerf dart maybe we should restrict them toy gun sales as well. Ukara and the LAW regarding airsoft weapons does not work. The day i could buy my first RIF went to shop, Shop called Site job done. It can be that simple without needing the broken UKARA banner to fly under.

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 1:57 PM

  23. Anonymous Said,

    Scaremongering horseshite by a sad little man with delusions of grandeur.

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 3:58 PM

  24. Anonymous Said,

    Everyone quick to jump on the band wagon and cry 'wolf'. But remember the lesson in there. Get BOTH sides of a story before acting and don't just act.

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 5:57 PM

  25. Unknown Said,

    People across facebook have now published the actual emails nvolved from Frank to ukara retailers and the ukara response putting some distance between them and Frank's proposals. Zero one even made a statement on a thread about this saying they didnt agree with Frank either and he shouldn't have gone into discussions about this (past tense) so already he has mentioned this to the 'authorities'. So to all the doubters - just look around and when you do nothing and our hobby disappears - say thank you to being so dynamic about the issue.

    Posted on November 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

  26. Anonymous Said,

    Bankrupt Fire Support and kick Frank out of Airsoft!!

    Posted on November 8, 2013 at 7:59 AM

  27. Anthony Said,

    I personally would boycott any store, or site, signing up to such a scheme.
    Yet again it stinks of old school airsoft retailers, thinking they own the rights to UK airsoft.
    Airsofters should vote with their wallets, and boycott ANY shop or site supporting this idea.

    With many hundreds of thousands of rifs out there (pre VCRB) and many bought and sold second hand, there is no way such a scheme could be properly enforced, it would only work for new guns. (and even then you would need something like a firearm certificate , and individual serial numbers on EVERY SINGLE RIF)
    Also many airsoft sites would just become "clubs" where "friends" would do as they like within there own small community.

    Posted on November 8, 2013 at 1:49 PM

  28. Anthony Said,

    I want to see these emails, can anyone copy and paste them here ?

    Posted on November 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM

  29. Unknown Said,

    Yosser, You're an idiot!

    Posted on November 9, 2013 at 5:55 PM

  30. Anonymous Said,

    As a UKARA retailer I have seen everything involved and I don't agree with the proposals put forward by Frank. One thing I am shocked by the one thing that all his defenders seem to be missing is the reaction of the government to the propsals! Lets take one moment to understand that when you have them putting into law that in order to sell Airsoft RIFs you have to be a RDF then they turn round and explain that this now changes the classification of them from toys to a firearm. It may not be even as high as an air gun and they may end up with their own classification, but the first thing that gets you is a higher price.

    Let me explain at this moment in time Airsoft RIFs are classed as toys in the eyes of customs if that changes then so does the cost of importing them - no matter who you are big or small if you are just a retailer or a supplier your going to end up paying more to get the things and then as all businesses do those costs will be passed on.

    There are more problems to the RFD idea that could be gone into but I wont, let me just say that I agree with those that say the system could do with tightening up but not in this way.

    Finally for all those having a go at Yosser and those who are defending Frank I have seen everything all the Emails and the rest of the board of UKARA have said that they want nothing to do with his proposals go have a look on the Zero-in forum.

    lets just hope that actual cool heads prevail and this is all dropped before the government ( the one that wanted to ban airsoft in the first place ) get involved.

    Posted on November 9, 2013 at 10:33 PM

  31. Anonymous Said,

    As someone who works in Airsoft in the Midlands I was shocked that Frank, without telling anyone, had had up to a year's discussions with the HO and ACPO, then went to The Board, who told him to drop it, and when not satisfied, went to all UKARA members without The Board agreeing; arguing that unless someone has far better plans that everyone can agree to, or if you don't get involved, HE WILL PUT HIS PROPOSALS TO THE HO AS COMING FROM UKARA.

    Unfortunately, there is a small group who run UK Airsoft. If you tickle the belly of the beast, you can join. If not, you are on the outer. There are several retailers with financial clout who effectively run Airsoft, the company I work for is one, and two industry magazines; who print what we all wish them to print. They are not journalists. If it was not for AO, the Airsoft community would not have known about this as we all know the industry magazines would never have published it for their readers to debate.

    We all know the ways in which Frank's proposals will add to our bottom line, and get rid of the small operators, and in fact, I am told by my boss, that it is an open secret with the big boys that this is what is actually behind the proposals. Keep up the good work Yosser.

    Posted on November 10, 2013 at 12:28 AM

  32. Regardless of the facts, the choice to privately import should be determind by the buyer and not by those who seek to profit from its illegalisation. I import because I like to know what im buying is actually worth the money. and not the value added by a UK retailer for their over heads. Id like to point out what we all know as buyers is that the value of airsoft products in this country is misleading and does not reflect quality for the most part.

    Counter proposal: request tighter laws that future protect the sport while allowing import duty to be lowered for retails to stimulate UK sales. because thats what this all comes down to right, FS wants people to buy from them and not HK sites?

    Posted on November 12, 2013 at 2:47 PM

  33. Anonymous Said,

    I agree that there should be less toy airsoft rifles on the market. Perhaps as was said above we should get rid of them and if younger players want to do airsoft, then they buy a proper one and have it properly two toned (combat machine from store, have it done by the retailer)

    Posted on November 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM

  34. Anonymous Said,

    As a player, I'd like to think that my POV has a value. As a consequence, I also know the UKARA DOESN'T represent me, nor does it represent my best interests. I joined UKAPU for that reason and representation.

    For ANY individual to go to the powers that be, without first coming to other interested parties, or even their fellow UKARA members shows, to me, a complete lack of respect, and ideas way above their station. For something that would have such far reaching effects, UKARA on its own cannot be allowed to set the agenda without consultation with, at the very minimum, UKAPU and UKASGB.

    As a long term player, and forum moderator, I see huge issues with the VCRA. IFs are a huge bugbear, and something I have been vocal about since the very beginning. To have shops selling IFs that don't even comply with the VCRA/RIFR just indicates to me that the entire system is massively unfit for purpose. 2nd hand sales are another area that is open to abuse, I won't deny, and 'market stall' retailers are an ongoing issue. The fact that the VCRA failed to fix everything/anything is a reason to look to improve things, but NOT by one person, and NOT by a clique of the richest few.

    As has been said, if not for this blog, we, the players, would NEVER have been told about this until it was a done deal. That cannot be right. The fact that the individual has been speaking 'on our behalf' without even letting anyone know about it is a throwback to the 70s, with backroom deals that benefit only a few. For UKARA, as an entity, to emerge from this with even a shred of credibility (and I thank and acknowledge those who have publicly stated opposition to the entire situation) then they have to be whiter than white at every stage. They must invite opinion, and be humble enough to realise that they are NOT the airsoft governing body for the UK.

    People in general aren't upset that the VCRA is being examined, and ideas considered to improve what we have. But people ARE pissed that they feel that they aren't important enough to be kept in the loop. Ultimately, the individual consumer is king. Retailers and sites won't stay in business if you piss off the players. Sometimes, people forget that, and incidents like this serve as a wee reminder of that fact.

    Dave MacD.

    Posted on November 15, 2013 at 8:59 PM

  35. Anonymous Said,

    This pisses me off. I ordered £1000+ of airsoft gear from a couple of months ago and I was just preparing another £1000+ order with them. After reading this I will order what I need from HK & Taiwan shops instead (at a better price) and I will never use again. Thanks for highlighting this example of UK retailer greed!

    Posted on March 2, 2014 at 10:24 AM


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