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Shipping a blaster to the UK - ***9 year update***

 
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DVD Connoisseur
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:22 pm    Post subject: Shipping a blaster to the UK - ***9 year update*** Reply with quote

Hi. As a newbie to the forum, I'm wondering what the logistics are of ordering / importing a Deckard blaster to the UK. I'm semi-confident that the law permits the import of items like this as it's a science fiction replica (Han Solo blasters and Stormtrooper blasters are on sale here and I note that some speciality sites occasionally list Deckard blasters for sale) but I'm wondering if this is correct. After all, a decent replica looks quite threatening and the decision of legality may depend on the customs official at the time. Could the prop arguably be mistaken for a real firearm?

I'm looking for reassurance as I don't want to spend my hard earned gains on an item that will be melted down by HM Customs.

Many thanks in advance for help with this matter.


Last edited by DVD Connoisseur on Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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The Loyalizer
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. A good question. I'd suggest checking with your customs department, as I'm sure they'll be able to answer the question definitively.

I know here in the States, any replica firearm coming into the country has to have a blaze orange tip permanently affixed to it, and any registered trademarks removed or it will be seized.
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boy-c



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a ridiculous bill! I've been affected as well but I've managed to glean some info from the act which should explain simply how this works.

The VCR act distinguishes between Imitation Firearms and Realistic Imitation Firearms. Imitation Firearms are fine (this is what allows your local toy store to keep selling toy guns) but Realistic Imitation Firearms are most definitely not kosher. As well as using size and shape it appears that colour is a key determining factor as to whether it is just an Imitation or a Realistic Imitation Firearm.

The VCR Act states that for a life-sized replica firearm to be considered an Imitation Firearm as opposed to a Realistic Imitation Firearm, it must be :

6.— For the purposes of section 38(3)(b) of the 2006 Act, a colour is to be regarded as unrealistic for a real firearm only if it is a colour specified in paragraph (2).
(1)The colours specified in this paragraph are—
(a)bright red;
(b)bright orange;
(c)bright yellow;
(d)bright green;
(e)bright pink; and
(f)bright purple.

So, in essence, you should be fine as long as you are importing a kit or prop which is painted in one of the above colours.
As this bill has some pretty strong penalties including fines and prison sentences for importing, I would strongly recommend you clear everything with customs and speak to an officer (preferably the firearms officer) at your local police station.

As far as we can tell no-one has yet been charged, held or formally questioned in regards to replica firearms importation so it has yet to become clear how this is being enforced and how reasonably it is being investigated as this law is very open to interpretation. for example, a replica firearm is technically a close copy of a pre-existing real gun. The fact that the distinction is made between an Imitation Firearm and a Realistic Imitation Firearm means that the original definition is now not applicable, meaning that it could be argued that sci-fi weapons and props that would not be included in the original definition, and any other item that could be judged as a real gun, can also be roped into this bill.

Finally, within the absolute definition of the bill, it can be construed as manufacture of a Realistic Imitation Firearm if the item were to be imported in pieces and in the above colours, and then constructed and repainted. I have heard of someone who was informally questioned about this exact situation but as he was importing the kit to kitbash (i.e. use individual pieces on different models not related to firearms ) the items were not queried further.

Hope that helps

boy-c
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amish
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, great information Boy-c!

Also, welcome to the community DVD Connoisseur. I hope you are able to works things out to get your blaster. I imagine that the shipper of whatever blaster you want needs to be aware of the restrictions before shipping.
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DVD Connoisseur
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for all your help and the warm welcome to the boards.

Importing a replica certainly seems a complex business thesedays and the website of HR Customs hasn't been updated to include the new legislation. Most police officers are comfortable with sci-fi props (my recent visit to the Liverpool Spaceport Star Wars event confirmed this) but I think it's a matter of playing Russian roulette with customs officials.

I'll let you know how things work out! (If I've not been locked up...) Crying or Very sad

All the best

DVDC
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BRfan



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there
I'm new to the forums having recently 'rediscovered' Blade Runner with the final cut. I used to watch it all the time in the 80s and it's cool to see all the different versions now and contrast and compare. I just wondered if there's any more info on importing blaster replicas into the UK - specifically I'm thinking of getting the Offworld 2019 from a seller on ebay. Anybody here taken the plunge? Confused
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Rocky



Joined: 14 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BRfan wrote:
Hi there
I'm new to the forums having recently 'rediscovered' Blade Runner with the final cut. I used to watch it all the time in the 80s and it's cool to see all the different versions now and contrast and compare. I just wondered if there's any more info on importing blaster replicas into the UK - specifically I'm thinking of getting the Offworld 2019 from a seller on ebay. Anybody here taken the plunge? Confused


Hey,

I live in the UK and i've gone for it. The guy selling them on eBay has shipped quite a few to the UK, so I guess it should come through ok.

Rocky.
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BRfan



Joined: 15 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Rocky. So you're waiting for yours to arrive? I think I will go for it because it's a good price and such a cool item but I was kind of hoping to remove the (not so) thrilling 'iffy' aspect of it all!
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Rocky



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I bought it in the last batch of 5 that he sold a couple of days ago. I think it will take between 1-2 weeks to arrive. Items I've bought from the States in the past came in around a week, but because it's Christmas it could be a bit longer.
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BRfan



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rocky, did you have any communication with the seller on there? They didn't reply to my emails which makes me a bit jumpy but I see there's a long list of happy customers so, hey...
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Rocky



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BRfan wrote:
Rocky, did you have any communication with the seller on there? They didn't reply to my emails which makes me a bit jumpy but I see there's a long list of happy customers so, hey...


Hey, no I didn't bother. As I read in his feedback he wasn't very good with communication. I'm just going to wait for the item. He has many people who bought the blaster and are happy with it, so it should be ok.
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DVD Connoisseur
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm really hoping to buy a Worldcon but I haven't received any details as yet. The fact that it's all metal doesn't really worry me as it's difficult to mistake for a real firearm. And, with firearms ten a penny in the UK at the moment, I can't see a sci-fi replica being a source of concern.

Of course, I may end up eating my words! Crying or Very sad
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ChrisNightingale
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Location: Luton, UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,

Well as huge fan of Rich Coyle's WorldCon and really wanting to get one, I just got a reply from Customs and Excise about the importation of "replica film props". Here is their response which although a little vague seems to state as Hudson would say "Game Over man, Game Over". Even a kit isn't allow because a kit can be turned into a replica - well couldn't a lump of clay also!?!?!

Quote:
Importing replica film props (Firearms)

Following my interim reply sent to you on 16 January 2008, I have now received
further guidance from our Firearms Officer and this is given in the information that
follows.

"Under the Violent Crime Reduction Act offences were established relating to the
import, sale or manufacture of "Realistic Imitation Firearms". Realistic
Imitation Firearms are defined under the VCRA as an imitation firearm which has an
appearance that is so realistic as to make it indistinguishable for all practical
purposes from a real firearm. The term "real firearm" is further defined as
either a firearm of an actual make or model of a modern firearm or a generic modern
firearm. (Modern firearm being defined as of a design or mechanism post 1870).

I am aware that some of the weapons used in science fiction films were actually based
around real firearms. For example in Star Wars, certain of the "blasters" were
modelled around frames of sterling sub-machine guns and MG34 machine guns. These may
therefore be problematic in the context of the new offences under the Violent Crime
Reduction Act. I would advise against import of such items subject to any precedent
which may be set in the future by case-law.

The offences under VCRA apply from the perspective of how an item appears at the
point of manufacture, import or sale. If an item were imported in a form so as not
to have an appearance of a "realistic imitation firearm" at time of import (which
may be the circumstance if imported in kit form), then an offence would not be
committed under VCRA until or unless it was manufactured (built or assembled) into
the particular item with the appearance of a real firearm. Since the purpose of a kit
is to be assembled, then this merely moves the offence down the supply chain. It is
not clear whether such activity may be considered to constitute an offence under any
other act being an accessory to an offence or constituting an offence under
legislation such as the criminal attempts act.

The colour, dimensions and shape are all taken into account in assessing whether an
item is a realistic imitation firearm. If an imitation has a height of 38mm or less
and length of 70mm or less then it may be considered unrealistic. If the principal
colour is bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright pink, bright
purple or bright blue then an imitation will not be considered realistic. The
meaning of "Principal" is defined in the dictionary as being "first in order of
importance, main". An imitation firearm whose principal colour is not one of those
listed is not automatically considered realistic but cannot automatically be ruled
unrealistic.

It should also be noted that legislation passed prior to the Violent Crime Reduction
Act 2006 concerning "imitation firearms" must also be considered and that it is
an offence to import or possess an imitation firearm that may be readily convertible
into a lethal barrelled weapon (Firearms Act 1982)."

I hope that this information is helpful to you.

I must emphasise that the advice given is based on the information you have supplied.
If the nature of the transaction changes in technical detail, or the relevant
details provided were incomplete or incorrect, we will not be bound by this ruling.

________
BUY GLASS BONGS


Last edited by ChrisNightingale on Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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ridleyville
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Location: Billericay Essex UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had no problems importing the 2019 Blaster into the UK. Infact that is my 3rd PRop firearm and they have all been delivered safely. Two were infact opened and re sealed by customs. I had to pay import duty though.
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Eagle
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Shipping a blaster to the UK - general query Reply with quote

DVD Connoisseur wrote:
I'm semi-confident that the law permits the import of items like this as it's a science fiction replica...

A dangerous assumption.

This is the acid test; you're an armed police officer called to an incident and someone points [your replica] at you. If you would shoot [snap decision - and bearing in mind that armed officers have shot people holding table legs], you can't import it. Simple.

I've been in touch with the Home Office recently. I supplied them with photos of the Blade Runner blaster, Stormtrooper Blaster & Pulse Rifle. The upshot of their reply was that they are illegal to import.

You can always run around a field shooting plastic pellets and pretending to be a soldier though - that makes you a safe, stable person and will allow you to buy inert, non-firing, officially licenced and produced display shelf merchandise...
 
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DVD Connoisseur
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers, Eagle. At this point in time, I've yet to pull the trigger (ouch!) on a purchase of a blaster.

I'll wait 'til an opportunity arises in the UK, etc.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, my very first blaster arrived today (2007 version of the Off World 2019 Blaster). Managed to find one locally after my previous attempts to purchase one had failed. I'd been told it hadn't been set up with the LEDs but it was only a matter of seconds before I found the hidden switch and "voilà!" The battery's never been used and still has a fair bit of life in it, judging by the brightness of the LEDs.

As I'm not the most practical of collectors, I tried to remove the orange rubber stop with a corkscrew. This was unsuccessful but I think I may have caught the edges of the inner barrel during the process.

In the end, I coloured in the rubber with a black marker and managed to push it way into the barrel so it's well hidden. I also touched up the areas that looked like they'd been scraped. The marker actually looks like wear on the "metal" gun barrel, now.

This is a "placeholder" until I manage to acquire a more definitive blaster (which, going off the speed of this one, will be another 9 years away!).



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joberg
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there you go Wink ...and no, don't wait another 9 years. It seems ok to import the Tome and the Coyle without problems.
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