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Justin Andrews

2015-2016 Police and Crime Bill changes.

Not sure if people are aware of a notable change in the law coming in soon.

Under the 2015-2016 Police and Crime bill, section 57 will be amended to read

Quote:
“(1B) In subsection (1)(a), “lethal barrelled weapon” means a barrelled
weapon of any description from which a shot, bullet or other missile,
with kinetic energy of more than one joule at the muzzle of the weapon,
can be discharged.


see page 127
http://www.publications.parliamen...ls/lbill/2016-2017/0055/17055.pdf

Does this mean that Nerf guns modded to fire above 1J muzzle velocity will now be classified as lethally barreled (and therefore a firearm under law) weapons?
Boff

Yup. They're pressing on with this despite the UKAPU's efforts to lobby for changes. We've been keeping an eye on it here but it doesn't look it's going to be changed any time soon. The airsoft community are pissed as hell and fighting it tooth and nail.

EDIT: To clarify, it looks like the airsoft community have managed to negotiate an exemption for their sites to go for the status quo of 1.35J for FA and 2.5J for SA. We are, however, stuffed with the 1J limit. This is going to make things entertaining.

EDIT #2: I'll get a full informational post put together once I've done a bunch of maths and what nots for when it actually comes into force. If you're using Koosh at <130FPS then you're fine but Rival and Voberries are going to have some fun.
SayYesToCress

Seems a bit over the top....

Using the good old kinetic energy equals half times the mass times the velocity squared gives you an upper limit of 146 feet/second for a 1 gram dart, so most people's blasters would be fine.  If you fix the velocity at 130fps which seems typical for a high end flywheeler then the most your dart can weigh is 1.27 grams.  For a typical 90fps springer then the dart can be up to 2.65 grams.  How heavy do aftermarket darts tend to be?

Surely they should be considering the cross-sectional area of the impact though in their definitions of what constitutes being lethal, ffs...
Twibz

This effing country
Boff


Original image if it doesn't load

For the technically curious, this the chart I put together when the Bill was first flagged to me a couple of months back. I took average weights of various projectile classes and plotted them for their muzzle energies at various velocities. The fields highlighted in red are over and above the 1J limit. Smile

For the even more curious, their lethality threshold isn't supported by the science. It's entirely arbitrary at 1J. The worst you're likely to get at 1J is an eye injury (those kick in around 0.8J) and some welts. Those of you looking to cross sectional areas are correct, Kinetic Energy Density (i.e. the amount of energy per unit of impact area) is indeed the more pressing factor in whether you'll get an injury.
Twibz

What's that, fear as opposed to science is causing legislation changes?

RAGE begin/

--Edit--
On a more serious note, we should perform some SCIENCE to prove how ineffective this legislation is. Get an un-licenced air rifle (that falls below this new threshold), and an upgraded blaster (that would now be illegal), some ballistic gel, a camera and record their shots into the gel at 20, 10 and 5 m and at point blank range. Then the results should speak for themselves and we could well get a debate in parliament.

We can do it. This is so dumb it makes my head hurt.
SayYesToCress

Rival rounds "lethal" at 3s voltage velocities; lol.
UKNerfWar

In the interest of completeness, where do MEGAs fall into this chart?
Boff

Fucked if I know, I didn't have enough of them on hand to get a representative sample to weigh. Nor did I want to compromise the company's printer budget/spend next month's rent on buying enough that I could. Razz

If someone can get me an average mass using 10 or more then I'll punch it in and re-publish.
blindgeekuk

Thanks for that Boff.
old_man_nerf

From an event organisers perspective can this be viewed as a good thing? Now we have a legally defined standard under which we can permit or ban blasters and/or ammo types. It needs a chronograph to work but if you are going to permit modded blasters this seems like a sensible investment.

Obviously the singled Titan users will be a bit miffed but for most 130/140 fps is a hard limit to achieve anyway.....
Boff

We always had a framework: 1.35J for FA and 2.5J for SA, same as the airsoft exemption in the new bill. Smile It's just a lot closer to home now and 1J flat. The old regulations were contained in a statutory instrument issued by the Home Office regarding lethality thresholds rather than being framed in primary legislation as this new limit is so it was a bugger to locate. I've linked it on here a couple of times as a guide.

As it stands, the act is not in force but I keep getting email updates every time the Bill moves anywhere in Parliament. Once it receives Royal Assent, I'll update the sticky on modding information for imitation firearms to cover both paint jobs and ballistic characteristics.
UKNerfWar

I'll get some data on MEGA darts for you.
Davera

I would like to add that the average plod, stopping you with a plastic toy in your hands, full of foam, firing it at people who are willing to be shot, at is not going to get the scales and calculator out.

However, that said, it's good to know the law and where we fit in it.

This does also answer a question I was going to pose of "why 130fps limit".
Dustybin

What is the formula being used here? I want to do a few more calculations inbetween 130 and 140 fps using koosh...
Boff

If you convert your units to metres per second and kilograms, you can use 1/2m*v^2 where m is the mass of the projectile and v is the velocity. The FPS -> m/s conversion is x * 0.3048 where x  is your FPS value. Smile
SSGT

KE=0.5mv^2

These are the max velocities for each projectile using the average masses from Boff's sheet:

Northwind

Slight aside but, what's the legal definition of a barrelled weapon? A hammershot, for instance, has no barrel.
Seiryuu

Northwind wrote:
Slight aside but, what's the legal definition of a barrelled weapon? A hammershot, for instance, has no barrel.


A Hammershot has 5 barrels in a revolving drum.

Twibz wrote:
...we should perform some SCIENCE to prove how ineffective this legislation is.


Get a Nerf gun, crank it up to ~100 fps, stick a long needle in your dart, kill someone.
That'd make them listen.

Boff wrote:
If you're using Koosh at <130FPS then you're fine but Rival and Voberries are going to have some fun.


As per the wording outlined above, if you can fire Voberries and FVJs in excess of 1J then it's a "Lethally Barrelled Weapon" irrespective of what you actually load it with. Even if you're not quite past the limit with the darts you use.

EDIT: Does it still count as a barrelled weapon if the dart fits onto the outside of the muzzle? Are retro Nerf bows ok?
Dustybin

You just made me imagine everyone using rebelle bows firing at 150 fps because they have no barrel.
Twibz

Seiryuu wrote:


Twibz wrote:
...we should perform some SCIENCE to prove how ineffective this legislation is.


Get a Nerf gun, crank it up to ~100 fps, stick a long needle in your dart, kill someone.
That'd make them listen.



Not exactly what I had in mind lol.

As Boff has said, it's about kinetic energy density. It takes such a small force to pierce human skin, but that's at a point. You can prove this at home (note: don't do what I'm about to say without doing EXACTLY what I say. And kids, DON'T do this at all. Twibz...has problems and almost everything he says should be with the added caveat that he's mental.).
Get a sharp, unserrated knife, put it blade down on your palm and press it into your hand without moving the blade, else you WILL cause yourself injury. You will not cut draw blood, and you can do this really quite hard without doing so. Now get a small pin, and press it slightly into your thumb. How much force did it take to break your skin with the pin verses how much force did you apply and not cut yourself before? You just proved it's energy density, not just energy that's the biggest factor This is why we need to perform the SCIENCE to prove that this arbitrary ruling is complete donkey balls.
We can fire koosh at 150fps without causing injury (doubly so because it's a squishy projectile). The only fair and objective measurand is to use ballistic gel to work out something's lethality, or indeed lack thereof.

TL;DR
Stupid legislation is stupid.

Dustybin wrote:
You just made me imagine everyone using rebelle bows firing at 150 fps because they have no barrel.


Legolas army FTW. I'm in.

--EDIT--
Just read this back to myself and I'm sorry if it comes off as condescending, that's really not my intention.
Boff

This whole thing is a political viper's nest so tread carefully: this thread is supposed to be about the technical restrictions imposed by the Bill at hand. For the sake of clarify, it's being introduced as part of a larger EU directive to harmonise standards on firearms definitions. The government cannot for the moment change that and whether they will listen to the evidence when presented with it is optimistic at best.

For now, it's better to know that this Bill hasn't received Royal Assent and so isn't law yet. It's not likely to change in its contents between now and then so we're just going to have to adapt and be sensible. The 130FPS cap was always designed as a way of keeping things sub-1J and it turns out we were pretty prescient for doing so.

The use of after-market darts down the line might be an issue, as correctly pointed out. Hasbro will be able to circumvent the problem by saying their stock stuff is locked down sub-1J and modders have violated the warranty by modding or using after-market darts. 3rd party sellers, however are going to have a tougher time of it. As I've said, the information will be updated once I know when the bill is coming into force.

Oh and with my mod hat on, the first person to mention 'Brexit' or start political soap-boxing will get the thread locked and get smacked with my ban-hammer for going off topic.
Seiryuu

Twibz wrote:
Not exactly what I had in mind lol.


I knew it wasn't but if you can murder someone below the limit it proves the limit is pointless. Which it is.
Northwind

Seiryuu wrote:
A Hammershot has 5 barrels in a revolving drum.


That's where you need to know definitions. In firearms terminology, no it doesn't. In UK law terminology, could be damn nearly anything.
daniel k

s may seem ignorant, but I cannot see this being policed. The variability in muzzle velocities alone would make such a law hard to enforce, and I doubt they will equip police with the same tech boff used to give us calculations on what was and wasn't legal.
Boff

The biggest problem for us comes with organised games. It's critical that organisers keep within the guidelines based on current legislation and we'll be fine. If some tit in the park with a 170FPS Octoshot opens up on a random passer-by, it's their problem not ours. If we can keep our organised games safe and within the lines then we'll continue to keep everything as it is without issue.

Yes, you're not likely to see a change in the enforcement in real life but it's our job as organisers and community leaders to prepare for the worst. We're responsible for getting the hobby to grow and in turn setting the example. It's a pain in the arse and I'd like to see it repealed but I've got bigger fish to fry on that front.

Plus there's the bright side that now that airsoft have their little exemption in law, our hobby is a lot more distinct. Bonus. Very Happy
haloxxbilly

I doubt your going to get arrested if your playing a toy that shoots foam darts though..
Dustybin

The one thing that I find funny about this law is that it basically says if you get shot at 132 fps by a koosh dart then you will not survive.
Twibz

^^ We should use this ruling in a war.

You got tagged? You're out.

Fin.
The Dark Kitten

Dustybin wrote:
The one thing that I find funny about this law is that it basically says if you get shot at 132 fps by a koosh dart then you will not survive.

Right ZHoM's Canceled then!
But seriously this is a tad silly for HM Gov to put in this in.
Does anyone know the motive?
Twibz

The Dark Kitten wrote:

Does anyone know the motive?

Politicians are quick to apply laws to things they don't really understand, and are quite good at making it look like they're doing the public a favour by doing so?

Boff no banhammer pls, not soapboxing

--Edit--
Serious answer:
I'm thinking the answer is in the working of the legislation.
"means a barrelled weapon of any description from which a shot, bullet or other missile, with kinetic energy..."
Technically at the moment I could go and make a pretty lethal gauss gun with electronical goodness that is perfectly legal, as current legislation (iirc) talks about pressure in the barrel, which said gauss gun doesn't produce, so this catch all term catches other forms of accelerating the projectile.

Of course, I wound never make such a weapon. No matter how awesome it would be.
This guy has though. Epic
Seiryuu

That reminds me, I was going to make a Nerf coil gun...
Dustybin

I don't think that would fall under the imitation firearms law...
Justajolt

Who knew flinging foam could be so complicated. *brain overload* Mad
Justin Andrews

Dustybin wrote:
The one thing that I find funny about this law is that it basically says if you get shot at 132 fps by a koosh dart then you will not survive.


I believe the definition of lethal is a not kill, but capable of causing a non-trivial injury.

Quote:
Lethality is a complex issue and although case law exists (Moore v Gooderham [1960] 3 All E.R. 575), only a court can decide whether any particular weapon is capable of causing "more than trifling and trivial" injury and is therefore is a "firearm" for the purposes of the Acts. The Forensic Science Provider (FSP) will be able to advise in any case where "lethality" is likely to be an issue. See also: R v Thorpe 85 Cr. App. R 107 CA.

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/firearms/

Long story short, the new bill is designed to clear up a legal grey area, and reduce messing around with definitions in court cases, which is indeed a good thing.

The problem is just that 1J is pretty damn low, and as, others here have pointed out, fails to take into account the materials and cross section of the projectile delivering that 1J of energy. For example, I play LARP games which use archery where the arrows have a foam head about 60mm across, those arrows are fired with close to 35J of energy at people, and are very safe indeed.
UKNerfWar

I'm mostly being pedantic, but what about tennis ball machines? Some quick maths came up with a maximum figure of ~14 joules for an entry level machine.

If they're exempt from the new laws, we could probably get around it by inventing a new game.

Players can only carry Rival blasters and must be equipped at all times with a tiny tennis racket. One point for a hit, two points if you manage to return a shot with your racket and hit your opponent.
Boff

I think flywheelers might be exempt. All the references in the Firearms Act mention compressed gas. It's stupid o'clock and I'm sitting here trawling through it I can't say for certain but there are only references to gas compressed weapons whether through compressed gas or cartridge rifles that create hot compressed gas.
Northwind

We have the same weird distinction with the Air Weapons and Licencing (Scotland) Act- it's not clear if it includes blasters, it's certainly not supposed to but the definitions are too wooly for certainty. But it definitely would only affect air blasters, not flywheelers.

Laws and sausages.
UKNerfWar

This just in. From the UKAPU Facebook page.

Code:
We have some great news for UK airsoft this morning. Lord Shrewsbury of the GTA has voluntarily decided to withdraw his amendment in regards to the airsoft exception from the Policing and Crime Bill 2015/16. This is the best possible outcome for UK airsoft. Lord Shrewsbury tells us he better understands airsoft now that he is properly informed, and that he is extremely keen to work with us and move forwards as a part of a unified firearms community. Please get word out and apply the brakes on this campaign, there’s nothing we need to counteract right now, the airsoft exception is not being questioned, and we certainly don’t want at this stage to create fruitless hassle for our valuable new ally. So to clarify, tweets emails and letters to Lords and Lord Shrewsbury should stop now.

When asked to contribute to this campaign the response from the UK airsoft was phenomenal. You should feel proud of the good work you’ve put in. There was a tiny element that was abusive and even threatening towards Lord Shrewsbury and needless to say, this is totally unacceptable behaviour and counterproductive, we condemn this behaviour unreservedly. Those individuals have been reported to the Police and we hope that such individuals are subject to the full weight of the law. But on the whole we saw an overwhelming positive response. I even saw some Mums writing to representatives to say tell them that airsoft had been a huge force for good in their children’s lives. I’d also like to make you aware that the 3 UK airsoft associations have done a colossal amount (most of it behind the scenes) to get us this far, and will continue to work for you over the coming months, so please keep supporting them in turn. Another group which gave us huge support was real firearms shooters, and grass roots shooting organisations such as Firearms UK. There wasn’t anything at stake for real firearms people and yet they leapt to the defence of airsofters. Bear that in mind should you see the firearms community facing hardship in the future.

Things are not finished with the PCB by any means. We still have concerns that, even with the exception in place, if you unwittingly import a slightly hot fully auto AEG, or if your fully auto HPA or GBB replicas are tested at maxed out pressure and with heavy ammo you could face section 5 firearms charges (5 years mandatory sentence), which would be wildly disproportionate and unacceptable, even if it only ever happens to one of us.

So we ask everyone to keep up to date with this Bill for the next few months and keep discussing it.

If you are still receiving replies from MPs and Lords, please continue to post them on the group so we can ‘map the ground’. This group is very well informed and a useful asset in itself.

Be sure to Like UK Airsoft Players Union to keep up to date https://www.facebook.com/UKAPU/ but more importantly players should join UKAPU, so we can keep doing what we do http://www.ukapu.org.uk/join/

Airsoft Trade Body will have its website online soon so get involved if you run an airsoft business and want to safeguard it http://www.atb.org.uk/

Retailer membership of old stalwart UKARA is of course available from their website http://www.ukara.org.uk/index.php

Please like, comment and share*.

Kind Regards,
Matt Furey-King, Frank Bothamley & Tim Wyborn
On behalf of UKAPU, UKARA & ATB
Boff

Airsoft get their exemption. Smile I'm happy I contributed to this in some small way, I joined UKAPU a few months back when this was all gathering steam so I'm glad my £10 for so went to good use.

Now to put the PCB in front of the lawyers for the flywheel systems.
Dustybin

Can we do this for Nerf? I don't like this limit because I WILL accidentally go over it with my blasters.
Seiryuu

When is this set to come into effect?
Boff

It hasn't received Royal Assent yet, it's still in the committee stages with the House of Lords so no idea when it'll be in force yet. Next reading is scheduled for 14th September which is the final one from memory. I'd expect early next year at this rate. Smile
old_man_nerf

Dustybin wrote:
Can we do this for Nerf? I don't like this limit because I WILL accidentally go over it with my blasters.


In that case we need to talk about tolerance levels because I doubt anyone can produce a blaster that consistently hits 129 fps every shot given the variety and condition of the darts we use.
NewportNerfer113

Is this not why we use an average.... totake into account that variance?
Boff

Quick update on this: the bill has passed through the Lords so the Commons are due to review the amendments made by them in the next couple of weeks. Once that's done, the bill will receive Royal Assent and we'll get notice of when it'll legally come into force. Please stand by.
Justajolt

Accustrike Darts' greater mass will give them a lower permitted FPS. Just a thought. Sorry if it's already been posted above. I couldn't see it.
OldNoob

Dart masses are in the spreadsheet, just look at similar dart mass.

THIS IS STILL NOT A PROBLEM FOR GAMES PLAYED IN CLOSED VENUES.
Boff

Bumpity bump! Just to let you all know this Bill has just received Royal Assent. It is now the Police and Crime Act 2017 and codifies the 1J limit for barrelled air blasters into UK law. If you're curious about the political spin on this then it's here. I don't see a 'comes into force date' just yet so assume it's active now until the House of Commons library catches up and tells me otherwise.

As previously stated, this does not affect games on private land and our current working legal opinion is that it doesn't affect flywheel blasters. Of course, now the Bill is law, we can get a proper opinion on the situation without having to test it in the courts.

Just so you're all aware... Smile
Baldrick

Does anyone know how the really old Nerf weapons that shoot a projectile from around the barrel are effected, I know that the titan will fire it's original missile at way more than 1J (this was checked by Boff on his chrono at a GC event a couple of years back).
Northwind

My reading is that it wouldn't. The reason being, the ke is measured at the muzzle of the "barrel". So while it's open to interpretation whether or not a barrel that goes inside a missile still counts as a barrel in legal terms, you can't measure the ke of a projectile at the muzzle when there's no muzzle. Regardless of the intent of the law they seem exempt in practical terms (aside- this could apply more tenuously to something like a swarmfire, where it'd be equally impossible to measure ke at the "muzzle" as the dart extends past it. And also possibly spear guns and the like. None of this seems to have been given any consideration in the law, unless it's buried somewhere)

But the flipside is, the less your blaster looks like a gun, and the less your ammo looks like a bullet, the less likely it is to ever arise.

I think a keen lawyer might want to get into whether or not a flywheeler is a weapon. Springers and other air blasters would be under the firearms act, but I'm not aware of any specification which would apply to a flywheel blaster.

(aside; this change in the law also doesn't affect trebuchets as they're unbarreled- thy also remain legally neither weapons (unless intentionally fired at a person, whereabon they become offensive weapons) nor firearms, and are also legal to hunt wild game with. )

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