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Thread: Puppy Trainer Falls Foul of VCR act

  1. #1

    Puppy Trainer Falls Foul of VCR act

    Last week a friend of mine, who has just started the serious training of his young Lab, asked to borrow my dummies and starting pistol to introduce the dog to noise with retrieves. I have had this gear for many years and as its a while since I used it last had to dig deep in the loft to find it. He duly took kit away and the first morning out in the stubble field behind his house with permission of the owner he started training. Now this is a very rural area with only a scattering of houses all quite distant from the field so he was surprized to see a figure striding towards him. The man turned out to be an unemployed ex-policeman who he has had bad blood with in the past over him blocking his drive with a vehicle. The guy asked him if he had a license for the pistol and when he was told it was a blank firer the lad said as it was not painted orange and looked to be front firing to him,it was illegal under the Violent Crime Reduction Act. My friend was shaken and feared he had committed an offence which could jepordise his firearms license so hurried to return the goods to me. This got me quite worried. I made a few calls but didnt want to land myself in bother so most was done unofficially. However it does seem that this act has outlawed the use of blank firers with a few exemptions, puppy training is not one of them, but if you dress up as James Bond for enactments you could be exempt! You can own a blank firer with no license provide it is orange and is top or side venting ( mine is in fact top venting) . Also its use in a public place could be troublesome and since the right to roam legislation virtuly makes all open land accessable to the public I dont know how you would stand if reported to the police while in a field. This to me is just another chipping away at our freedoms. One of the reasons given for the change in law is that if police firearms response see a lad armed with an orange pistol they will know it isnt real. I wonder when the first drug dealer will spray his real Glock orange to confuse. David

  2. #2
    The issue is when a blank firing or replica firearm is perceived as being a 'real' weapon. Think about the bloke shot when in possession of a table leg down south a few years ago??? May not look like a gun but the way it was being carried, brought to bear on the police and handled in such a manner to give the impression it was in fact a gun resulted in the police shooting the guy. Shame really when all he had to do was lay it down when instructed to do so. An extreme example that caused a lot of controversy but it could have been avoided.

    The reason the replicas are painted a bright colour is in the hope they in fact look exactly that, a replica or blank firing gun. I see your point about painting a glock, but it would have a kind of negative effect on someone it was pointed at who would probably laugh saying it was a replica........... until they got shot with it. But then that is not the point generally in pointing a gun at someone for money or another reason. It is the threat of what may come as opposed to having to carry the threat out that results in the desired course of action from the person looking up the dangerous end of the barrel....

    The police will always act initially on the perception given. They have to otherwise a gun thought to be a replica may turn out to be a real one and someone ends up dead. The person brandishing that weapon renders themselves to being dealt with as though it were real because of their actions. No one else to blame if indeed it turns out to be a replica.

    In just the same way if a member of the public complains about a blank firing gun being used because they think it is real, then a breach of the peace may be an appropriate complaint. Even after the weapon was shown to be a blank firing one. Hence it is very important to use them in an area this sort of issue will not arise.

    Even if this ex cop seems to be a bit of a plonker...

  3. #3
    Its a bummer , but David I am surprised you were not aware of this , the change was well publicised at the time,
    the change regarding blank firing pistols was straight forward, but some other things not so , flare guns used in Mountain Rescue for example we had to change our type of flares as the ones we were using became illegal.

    There was also a debate on whether blank operated dummy launchers were legal or not.

    jamross ,do you know what the outcome of that was

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by bogtrotter View Post
    Its a bummer , but David I am surprised you were not aware of this , the change was well publicised at the time,
    the change regarding blank firing pistols was straight forward, but some other things not so , flare guns used in Mountain Rescue for example we had to change our type of flares as the ones we were using became illegal.

    There was also a debate on whether blank operated dummy launchers were legal or not.

    jamross ,do you know what the outcome of that was
    Yes, the cops that did the shooting were eventually arrested!

    Aquited originally but subsequent forensic evidence showed a different story. At least I think that was how it panned out. from memory the final outcome was no proceedings against them, either criminal or internal..... But may be wrong?

    The issue was they had been told a man had a sawn off shotgun. guy carrying table legs matches description. refuses to lay the leg down when it was wrapped in polythene and actually brings it to waist height and points it at the cops...

    To be honest it is probably not the best example but it does highlight the perception ​issues...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by bogtrotter View Post
    Its a bummer , but David I am surprised you were not aware of this , the change was well publicised at the time,
    the change regarding blank firing pistols was straight forward, but some other things not so , flare guns used in Mountain Rescue for example we had to change our type of flares as the ones we were using became illegal.

    There was also a debate on whether blank operated dummy launchers were legal or not.

    jamross ,do you know what the outcome of that was
    Hi so what was the outcome re dummy launchers, I have seen recently shoulder stocks fitted to some launchers.

  6. #6
    Hello David.

    For this very reason, I use a 12 bore with Turner Richards, blank firing adaptors, as it gets the dog used to following the barrels, in addition to the muted noise of a .22 blank being fired. Yes, I have to use it on land I have permission to be / shoot on - rather than public land, and therefore I always carry a copy of my SGC. However, I was also confronted by an ex-plod ( it is always an ex !!! ) while training my dog, who actually `trespassed` about 80yards off a public footpath, through a copse, on to private land to make a citizens arrest for somebody using a shotgun - what a c*ck !!!

    When the situation was calmly ascertained by the attending active bobbies, who had arrived at haste in a patrol car, after he called 999, he was totally slapped down for being paranoid. They were actually very good in the circumstances, as I remained polite throughout, and explained that I was using blanks in a shotgun ( broken open ) and not a blank firing pistol. This was only three months ago.....

    As per replies from Jamross, it pays to know the law, from fact, and not 3rd hand information. BASC website is very good for this sort of reference.

    All the best.

    Neil.

  7. #7
    Surely the VCR Act stipulation on ORANGE PAINT refrerred to NEW BLANK FIRERS, or was it made retrospective?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by saddler View Post
    Surely the VCR Act stipulation on ORANGE PAINT refrerred to NEW BLANK FIRERS, or was it made retrospective?
    +1 I think this applied to new blank firers only, the retrospective applied to the Olympic 38 (?) which could allegedly be converted to a firing firearm.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by timbrayford View Post
    +1 I think this applied to new blank firers only, the retrospective applied to the Olympic 38 (?) which could allegedly be converted to a firing firearm.
    There have been a lot of calls back and forth since I posted about this and I have been contacted by another shooting friend who three weeks ago bought a blank firer in a job lot from Southams Action house on-line. They have yearly sales of mainly gunshops clearouts as well as a huge array of modern and old weapons. They were selling quite a few blank firers none of which were orange. I think most would be second -hand. This lad sent a friend in to the RFD where the lots are stored for despatch to find he would not release the pistol to him as it was not orange. The auctioneer is on holiday so we await the outcome.

    It seems this one has passed me by as I was totally unaware of it but as no-one else here had heard of it either I dont feel so bad. David

  10. #10
    But an air gun that looks exactly like a modern pistol is legal.

    Parliament clearly believes that using black paint is beyond criminals, and common sense is clearly beyond Parliamentarians.

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