Replica or Deactivated. What are the rules?

#1
As part of our photo business, we are setting up a mobile studio. We want to stage several different scenarios for the studio depending on what kind of event we are attending. The studio consists of two 6 metre x 3 metre marquees set up attached to each other making a total space of 6 metre x 6 metres. One half will consist of the studio with props and the other half will be for admin, viewing, printing, sales and so on.

A useful market for us would be the various military show events that take place around the country. One example is the Military Odyssey show in Kent. With that in mind, we are now busy designing a military themed setting.

A useful prop for such a scene would be weapons. For example, a WW1 setting with sandbags replicating a trench scene could have a couple of .303 rifles with bayonets and maybe a Webley revolver.

Our research though has shown that there is a raft of regulations on what you can own or not own. It appears to us that we could get some deactivated stuff and use it without any problems. The issue there is cost. A decent deactivated .303 would probably set us back around roughly six hundred quid or so. four or five of them for a group shot is serious money and then if we had a Webley as well, that would probably cost maybe four hundred quid or so. It all adds up to a lot of money just for props.

The alternative would be replica weapons. Replica's would certainly be less expensive even for reasonably realistic ones. The issue there seem's to be the legal position on having them particularly when we are at a public event albeit inside our studio.

From what I can make of it, it's very difficult to do what we want to do. We are not en-enactors which seems to be a way around it. Even if we joined a re-enactment society, we truthfully wouldn't be using replica weapons for for the proper purpose of the society.

We can't use the brightly coloured stuff that shows it isn't a proper weapon. that kind of defeats the purpose of the picture.

Does anybody have any experience of what we are looking at? Does anybody know where it has been done elsewhere and how we might go forward successfully using replica weapons without breaking the law?

Otherwise, we might have to stick to Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland!

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
Last edited:
#2
Not my expertise, but as far as i know your intended use - as props in a photo business - should be within the intent of the law, which is supposed to allow use of normal (ie not painted wierd colours) replicas for film, theatre, re-enacting and other organised pursuits.

First stop should be somewher like BASC legal department, who can give an accurate legal answer.

Second stop - armed with the accurate answer - would be to write to your local Police firearms licensing department and confirm with them the intended acquisition and use. So long as you get some sort of acknowledgement, you should be clear to go...

(...or not. Welcome to the world of badly-conceived firearms legislation, conflicting advice, ignorant police officers, etc and so on. Maybe get some legal insurance!)


p.s. resin replicas are fairly affordable.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
1. On Arrse, you can either be a Labour supporter or a Walt Enabler, but not both. :wink:
2. Given the liberal left hysteria regarding 'firearms' ranging from a spud gun upwards (and greatly encouraged by your political fellow travellers), err hugely on the side of caution - legislation/interpretation will only get more intense and no judge/policeman is going to lose professional ground by failing to take a hard line on perceived firearms offences. Look on the extra paid on deactivated weapons as simply the cost of doing business - it may well be cheaper and easier in the long run.
3. Good luck to you in your venture and for having the guts to put yourself in the financial firing line, just don't underestimate other people's capacity for legal knobbery at your expense, particularly if they're trying to make a point..
 

DaManBugs

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Well, the re-enactors have all the props anyway, so why not include them in the piccies? After all, it's a bit pointless setting up a sangar scene if no-one's in it, innit?

MsG
 
T

Tinman74

Guest
#5
For the sake of the rest of Arrse, grab a sten gun, deactivated obviously and point it toward an armed police officer, atleast you'll get more fro t page coverage that way.
 
#6
Replicas fall into the VCR act, if memory serves me correctly. You have to have a legit reason to buy one that looks real i.e. not coloured blue or orange. Soooo, the fact that you are a "theatrical" company would enable you to purchase and use them.

Denix replica SMLE - cheap but rubbish. May be OK for your purposes.
 
#7
As long as you are over 18 you can own a real firearm that has been deactivated so as it is incapable of firing but to own a replica, that also doesn't & never could fire the VCR act applies.

Can anyone explain the logic to me?
 
#8
As long as you are over 18 you can own a real firearm that has been deactivated so as it is incapable of firing but to own a replica, that also doesn't & never could fire the VCR act applies.

Can anyone explain the logic to me?
You're not expecting to find logic in firearms legislation surely?
 
#9
#10
You're not expecting to find logic in firearms legislation surely?
Good point, well presented.

It never made sense that you need paperwork to own a toy, but the real thing anyone can have.
Utter nonsense.
 
#11
I ran a ww2 themed photography stall at an event, it was popular an attraction but didn't get many people wanting to pay for it, the camera phone is killing the mobile event studio at present.

I'm thinking of binning the event studio entirely. anyway, that aside I had two re-enactors who came with their own gear, some of it was deac, some was replica. Only a few people recognised the difference and in the photos you can't spot which is which.

When I was doing Viking and Saxon re-enactment our reason (not excuse) for carrying both blunt (for actual fighting) and sharp (for demos, displays etc) was that as re-enactors we had a legitimate reason for owning and carrying such items. Obviously we didn't carry sharp openly outside of a showground, even my blunt stuff was kept in a box when in transit.
 
#12
Can't you just get a firearms certificate and buy genuine, un-deactivated rifles? Leave the ammo at home, and there's your props. I don't know about the Webley, I think you're SOL on that one.

At least if you bought the real thing, they would hold their value.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#14
As part of our photo business, we are setting up a mobile studio. We want to stage several different scenarios for the studio depending on what kind of event we are attending. The studio consists of two 6 metre x 3 metre marquees set up attached to each other making a total space of 6 metre x 6 metres. One half will consist of the studio with props and the other half will be for admin, viewing, printing, sales and so on.

A useful market for us would be the various military show events that take place around the country. One example is the Military Odyssey show in Kent. With that in mind, we are now busy designing a military themed setting.

A useful prop for such a scene would be weapons. For example, a WW1 setting with sandbags replicating a trench scene could have a couple of .303 rifles with bayonets and maybe a Webley revolver.

Our research though has shown that there is a raft of regulations on what you can own or not own. It appears to us that we could get some deactivated stuff and use it without any problems. The issue there is cost. A decent deactivated .303 would probably set us back around roughly six hundred quid or so. four or five of them for a group shot is serious money and then if we had a Webley as well, that would probably cost maybe four hundred quid or so. It all adds up to a lot of money just for props.

The alternative would be replica weapons. Replica's would certainly be less expensive even for reasonably realistic ones. The issue there seem's to be the legal position on having them particularly when we are at a public event albeit inside our studio.

From what I can make of it, it's very difficult to do what we want to do. We are not en-enactors which seems to be a way around it. Even if we joined a re-enactment society, we truthfully wouldn't be using replica weapons for for the proper purpose of the society.

We can't use the brightly coloured stuff that shows it isn't a proper weapon. that kind of defeats the purpose of the picture.

Does anybody have any experience of what we are looking at? Does anybody know where it has been done elsewhere and how we might go forward successfully using replica weapons without breaking the law?

Otherwise, we might have to stick to Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland!

Thanks in advance for any advice.
For that amount of weapons there would be a considerable discount up to about 50% if you really do drive the bargain, alternatively there is the option of hiring them or borrowing them from friends in the trade. if you wanted a war and peace stand event then replicas wouldn't be an issue, a wooden Thompson would be under fifty quid whereas a react would be closer to seven hundred, both prices are retail!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#15
Can't you just get a firearms certificate and buy genuine, un-deactivated rifles? Leave the ammo at home, and there's your props. I don't know about the Webley, I think you're SOL on that one.

At least if you bought the real thing, they would hold their value.
Nice but wishful thinking, reacts being off ticket are worth more than the real thing which is often licensed, in a large organised event such as war and peace you would not be committing an offence by allowing the public to buy or handle replica weapons.
 
#16
As long as you are over 18 you can own a real firearm that has been deactivated so as it is incapable of firing but to own a replica, that also doesn't & never could fire the VCR act applies.

Can anyone explain the logic to me?
Over 18? Who says? Deacts are deemed to no longer be firearms and so how can there be an age bar?
 
#17
There's been some interesting posts with some good tips and I'm grateful for the information that people have given.

Many thanks so far.
 
#18
I ran a ww2 themed photography stall at an event, it was popular an attraction but didn't get many people wanting to pay for it, the camera phone is killing the mobile event studio at present.
Well in light of that, that's rule No1 then. No phone camera's allowed inside our studio marquee.

Another point in our favour. Our marquees are blue coloured. While that was chosen as a "corporate theme" colour, a discovery straight away was that any photos taken in it have a fairly obvious blue caste. in them.

That's something that we can set the equipment to automatically correct as we print them. That's a facility that anybody who might succeed in taking a picture with their phone obviously won't have. :)
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#19
As part of our photo business, we are setting up a mobile studio. We want to stage several different scenarios for the studio depending on what kind of event we are attending. The studio consists of two 6 metre x 3 metre marquees set up attached to each other making a total space of 6 metre x 6 metres. One half will consist of the studio with props and the other half will be for admin, viewing, printing, sales and so on.

A useful market for us would be the various military show events that take place around the country. One example is the Military Odyssey show in Kent. With that in mind, we are now busy designing a military themed setting.

A useful prop for such a scene would be weapons. For example, a WW1 setting with sandbags replicating a trench scene could have a couple of .303 rifles with bayonets and maybe a Webley revolver.

Our research though has shown that there is a raft of regulations on what you can own or not own. It appears to us that we could get some deactivated stuff and use it without any problems. The issue there is cost. A decent deactivated .303 would probably set us back around roughly six hundred quid or so. four or five of them for a group shot is serious money and then if we had a Webley as well, that would probably cost maybe four hundred quid or so. It all adds up to a lot of money just for props.

The alternative would be replica weapons. Replica's would certainly be less expensive even for reasonably realistic ones. The issue there seem's to be the legal position on having them particularly when we are at a public event albeit inside our studio.

From what I can make of it, it's very difficult to do what we want to do. We are not en-enactors which seems to be a way around it. Even if we joined a re-enactment society, we truthfully wouldn't be using replica weapons for for the proper purpose of the society.

We can't use the brightly coloured stuff that shows it isn't a proper weapon. that kind of defeats the purpose of the picture.

Does anybody have any experience of what we are looking at? Does anybody know where it has been done elsewhere and how we might go forward successfully using replica weapons without breaking the law?

Otherwise, we might have to stick to Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland!

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Try Silvermans in London they hire military props to film companies.
You might also try a local military re-enactment group
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top