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Shipping Blasters from the US to the UK or other Countries

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So I've been trying to search for the answer to a blaster shipping question. Does anyone know if you can ship completed blasters from the US to specifically the UK but would also like to know about other countries as well. Is there ever a problem with them not being delivered because of customs or other laws? If anyone could chime in who has this experience that would be great. It would be nice to know for future members as well, to any issues shipping from US to any countries. Thanks!

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You might want to touch base with Chris (themaninthesuitcase).  He may be familiar with the UK Customs policies on that.  As you mentioned, it would be interesting to find out which countries allow prop weapons to be shipped there.  Also, I would try slavefive.

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I have had problems with ebay US if on the adverts blaster or gun is written, they get stopped at customs and returned.

 

From Australia to any other country I make sure I don't but gun or blaster on the customs forms, just star wars toy costume plastic prop, never had an issue with them getting through.

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For the UK, roughly: it's complex.

 

The law you need to worry about covers RIF (Replica Imitation Firearms) which includes anything like a prop or a BB gun that could reasonably be seen as a real firearm at a glance.  To be classed as an RF (Replica Firearm) it needs to be more than 50% brightly coloured (usually orange or green), in which case it would not be an issue.  For reference it's also illegal to manufaucture a RIF, so ordering a RF and painting it black is illegal for example.

 

Where it gets complicated is RIFs are not illegal, more they are controlled.  You can have one with a valid UKARA member number (UK Airsoft database), or if you are a reenactor or for theatrical purposes.  Problem is the last 2 aren't properly defined to the best of my knowledge.  In the event of the latter two you will be required to offer up defending evedence that you meet the requirements and have a valid reason for the RIF on a case by case basis.

 

Worked example based on a recent ish UKG member:

  • Member ordered a RIF from the US.
  • On arrival in the UK HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seize the RIF at the border,
  • HMRC notify the recipient of this and request proof
  • Member sent a letter documenting the 501st/UKG and showed proof they believed it fell under reenactment/theatrical use.
  • HRMC agree and release the item.
I believe the above took months not weeks. If customs disagree I'd assume the goods would be destroyed.

 

This is a much better (but longer) explanaiton: http://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/business/trading_standards/business_support/product_safety/imitation_firearms.aspxby a county council, so should be trustworthy.

 

The clause "does not have the appearance of a firearm e.g. a futuristic space gun or a super soaker water pistol." wouldn't apply to most Star Wars weapons as they do look very much like a standard firearm, not a space gun from a game or film.

 

The exemptions we would use are:

  • the purposes or theatrical performances and rehearsals
  • the organisation and holding of historical re-enactments, where the organiser holds public liability insurance for such events
  • the organisation and holding of the acting out of military or law enforcement scenarios for the purpose of recreation, where the organiser holds public liability insurance for such events. This includes Airsoft skirmishing.
The UKG has PLI for members, but you would need to be a full cleared member for this to apply.

 

Usual I am not a lawyer/customs official applies.

Edited by themaninthesuitcase
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Excellent information, Chris, and thanks for posting that.  I'm not sure if I'd attempt to "sneak one through" customs.  Packages are routinely x-rayed in most countries, (especially these days) and mis-labeling one on the customs form would immediately send up a red flag.  

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Yeah wow thanks for the info Chris.  It is pretty clear at this point that it wouldn't be a wise idea to ship completed blasters to the UK.  And thanks for the info Glen.  It sheds some light on how shipping goes with Australia. 

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Great information on importing blasters to the UK Chris. I wonder how it will work with blaster kits like the one Chris - Fieldmarshall is working on? I've imported bits and pieces of blasters ( bolt, grip, stock etc) but none been metal or have been as obvious as a full receiver tube.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thank you very much.
This info helps tremendously.

Hopefully this will help people to better understand our reluctance to ship internationally.

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International shipping has always been an issue. Being that we utilize PayPal most people are initially willing to accept the responsibilities if Customs stops the shipment. However, if something happens, as a viable business paying taxes and employees it does hurt when claims are made on PayPal hindering our ability to run the business.

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Great information on importing blasters to the UK Chris. I wonder how it will work with blaster kits like the one Chris - Fieldmarshall is working on? I've imported bits and pieces of blasters ( bolt, grip, stock etc) but none been metal or have been as obvious as a full receiver tube.

As far as I understand it, and again not a lawyer, kits are fine. Though you'd technically become the manufacturer but that's no different to a doopy kit at that point.

 

Im sure there's a line you might cross if the replica parts are too close to already firearm parts. But I've ordered resin mags from the US no issue.

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As far as I understand it, and again not a lawyer, kits are fine. Though you'd technically become the manufacturer but that's no different to a doopy kit at that point.

 

Im sure there's a line you might cross if the replica parts are too close to already firearm parts. But I've ordered resin mags from the US no issue.

That's where the problem might lie with fieldmarshalls kit. Have you seen how crazy good that stuff is? I've ordered a few parts from him that should hopefully arrive in the next week or so. Time will tell if they get stopped. Again will depend on the description declared for shipping.

 

 

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International shipping has always been an issue. Being that we utilize PayPal most people are initially willing to accept the responsibilities if Customs stops the shipment. However, if something happens, as a viable business paying taxes and employees it does hurt when claims are made on PayPal hindering our ability to run the business.

 

So Lewis I am glad you chimed in here.  Because I would feel that if anyone had some insight on this topic it would be you.  Seeing as how you are always selling a completed blaster because of how they are made, personally do you run into any issues with shipping to other countries?  Have you found that you have had bigger problems shipping to one country vs. the next?

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Our general rule of thumb is to not ship outside the country...

 

For Canada, we have some individuals that will ship to the border and have them transported across...

 

Other countries can use alternate shipping methods...the UK and Australia seem to be the most difficult and have had ZERO success in getting them there aside from members buying while here and taking them back with their costumes...

 

Like John and Nate, we all want members to have great products to troop with and try to be as accommodating as possible...

Edited by slavefive
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For Sweden it's real easy, as long as it's not a functional firearm, or has ever been one (meaning deacts), then anything goes. If it has been a firearm or currently (as in live fire, lethal stuff) then you need a proper licence for that specific firearm secured through proper agencies (ie police) bore you are allowed to buy the item.

 

So replicas, air softs and air guns and such, with a total impart energy of less than 1 joule (the point where the projectile is capable of piercing the forehead bone) are a non-issue.

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I bought a Hyperfirm E11 and a Bapty E11 in the US last year.

German customs were mainly interested in the price to charge import taxes. The officer looked at the blasters, classified them as toys and asked for a bill of sales to calculate the import fee.

Toy guns that look like real ones have to be stored in a locked container for transport.

Important: Airsoft Guns with auto fire and an energy over 0.5 Joule are forbidden in Germany.

All other airsoft guns with an energy over 7.5 Joule are classified as live weapons and you need a permit to own them.

Edited by Novak Dimon
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We're trying to make these easier to get a hold of but I think in the end, the blasters are, at first glance, a real gun. That seems to be the common problem when shipping out of the country. Within the US, the only major problems come from replica gun laws. Technically, we need to install bright orange tips into the blasters prior to shipment. They are supposed to be glued in place. In the past, we have not bothered to do so but we are currently discussing the addition of an orange plug into the barrel tip. 

 

Not sure that this will stay in through the shipping process but I think it's a necessity that it is installed prior to shipment out of California. 

 

As Lewis stated above, after taxes, material costs, shipping supplies, etc. the loss of payment via paypal or credit card claim is enough to obliterate the profit from several blaster sales. That's always been the deterrent to shipping over borders.

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John is actually being nice. You also need to add rent, workmans comp, and insurance....the margins become even more slim...and with a full blown loss it can be quite harmful...better off just shipping one for free, don't anyone get any ideas! ;)

 

The one thing that does concern me looking towards the future of our hobby are what types of laws that may come into effect within our own borders...

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Agreed. I think the first thing to be taken away will be the ability to carry a replica or prop gun. Costumers will be left with trooping without blasters. Buy them now while you can.  ;)

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This is all great info so far guys.  I appreciate the feedback.  If there is anyone out there from an area that hasn't been covered yet, I would love to hear from you.  So far we've got the UK, Sweden, Germany, and Australia. 

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Shipping from the USA to Canada can be dodgy. I've stated it many times on here before. People have had shipments stopped or seized at the border by customs. Keep in mind that it's not just what's written on the shipping label, the packages can be X rayed or opened by customs as it's the law. We've had a couple people visited by the local police after they were notified by customs.

Canadians have had better luck with "model kits" shipped in pieces like Doopydoos etc rather than complete blasters painted black. We've had people get blasters shipped to the border and try to bring them over by car but as a garrison we can no longer condone this as people can get into trouble.

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If I bought a replica that did get stuck in customs, I'd still pay you for it. It's not the sellers fault.

 

I bought a solid bronze hand-schaub webley from the states a few years ago that did get stuck in customs. But that was just to calculate import tax and VAT. I paid those fees at the post office when picking it up. Super easy (although a bit expensive, for an already expensive replica)

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Is shipping a blaster in multiple parts an option ?

 

No part then looks like a weapon, if it's broken up in a sympathetic way then using a few pins and glue at the recipients end should get it back to almost normal.

 

Having no knowledge of casting or how difficult it might be, just thought it could be an option, there could be a lot of interest if it was feasible.

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We've had a couple people visited by the local police after they were notified by customs.

 

 

Wow really?  They must have been darn good replicas.

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So far we've got the UK, Sweden, Germany, and Australia. 

 

No, you don´t really have Germany. The given infos are not wrong, but they are not complete.

 

While you are allowed to OWN deacs, replicas, toys, ...... whatever, you are not allowed to have them open in public.

This part of NDs post covers it : "Toy guns that look like real ones have to be stored in a locked container for transport."

Even if you have a gunlike thing you are allowed to have, you are only allowed to bring it out of your house in a locked carry case. So trooping with it is not allowed by the law, unless you have it all the time inside the container/suitcase. No Stormtrooper with a blaster, more like a Stormtrooper lawyer or businessman. :laugh1: 

 

At an organized event or something related you might get lucky and have no problems (most LEOs know SW), but there is no guarantee for that. One officer in a bad mood, or panic People could bring you in serious trouble, getting arrested, seized blaster, ...... 

 

And things for sure will not be better in the future. Better people prepare to get used to troop without blasters.

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Agreed. I think the first thing to be taken away will be the ability to carry a replica or prop gun. Costumers will be left with trooping without blasters. Buy them now while you can.  ;)

 

Wow, great post, Great for your win if people buy them - but for the law it doesn´t matter  when they were bought to carry in public.

 

And for display at home there are much better things than a rubber stick.

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