along with their views on the proposed legislation •Finally I will conclude with a review of the presentation and a discussion of how the research could be improved.Within this presentation I will cover: * My research questions •A background to the topic •A summary of the proposed legislation •The extent of firearms offending in general and with specific focus upon deactivated weapons •The methods used in conducting the research •My findigns relating to the demographics of re-enactors and their weapons.
what effect has the Violent Crime Reduction Act had upon re-enactors in relation to the use of Imitation firearms? Secondly.In conducting this piece of research. while related to a small community in the United Kingdom. and thus the topic.
. also has wider meaning in relation to legitimate firearms ownership. However. In terms of the wider debate of Criminological ideas. Firstly. I intended to investigate two key areas. gun crime is becoming a more increasingly focused upon area of crime by the media and politicians. for the purposes of this presentation I will be focusing purely upon Deactivated Firearms. what effect could the proposed controls on deactivated firearms have upon re-enactment? I have an interest in both of these areas because I myself am a WW2 re-enactor and these pieces of legislation would affect me in certain ways and therefore I decided to find out what other re-enactors thought of them.
Historical re-enactment as a pastime can generally be broken down into three different types of event. Tactical Battle – unlike the previous two. Living History – a portrayal of everyday events during the period for a public audience. for example allowing the firearm to be field stripped as seen in the photograph of the Luger * Post-1995 where a more rigorous method of deactivation has been applied in order to increase the difficulty of reactivating the weapon. usually based upon specific battles such as D-Day beach. There are three different standards of deactivated weapon at present: * Pre-1989 which are uncertified and of varying standards of deactivation * Following the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988. Battle re-enactment – a carefully planned recreation of large scale battles for a public audience.Within this presentation there are several different subjects which will be referred to. tactical battles are generally a private affair where re-enactors practice authentic tactics and strategies rather than a preplanned show Deactivated weapons are real firearms which have been adapted in compliance with British law to no longer be able to fire a projectile. Firstly. for example a train station operating under Blitz conditions as can be seen in the first image. the scope of the project relates to the effect of firearms legislation upon historical re-enactment. a single standard of deactivation was introduced which is referred to as pre-1995 standard which left the guns in a state closer to their original state. specifically the World War Two period. and therefore no longer allowing field stripping
. where most if not all the moving parts are welded together.
The aim of the paper was to identify a possible method of control to regulate the ownership and sale of deactivated weapons. The document laid out several different controls which are detailed on the slide. however for this presentation I will be focusing upon: * Making deactivated standards a mandatory requirement. whereby people convicted of serious criminal offences are banned from owning deactivated firearms in addition to the current ban on live and air weapons
.In 2009 the Home Office published a consultation paper titled Controls on Deactivated firearms. whereby all guns must be deactivated to one new standard which complies with EU legislation which requires all future deactivations to be irreversible * Require all pre-1995 guns to be updated to post-1995 standard * Firearms Certification system.
Additionally over half of all firearms offences were centered around 3 major urban locations. To provide some background to the history of firearms offending (excluding air weapons). used as a blunt instrument or used in a threatening manner”. however the trend has been reversed in recent years with figures for 2008/9 having fallen 26% from the peak. Just over 8000 offences were recorded by the Police in 2008/9. These figures show that while firearms offences are a serious issue.
. However it is important to note that changes to police recording standards in 1998 and 2002 mean comparisons of crime levels that overlap those date are difficult. but the figures still demonstrate an upwards trend which has been reversed in recent years.4% of all recorded crime. which amounts to less than 0. they are generally rare for most of the United Kingdom. From these it can be seen that there was an increase in offending between the mid-90s and mid-2000s. the slide shows the figures for various years related to firearms legislation or police recorded crime standards changes.In recorded crime statistics. Focusing on purely violent crime. Firearms offences include incidents where “a weapon has been fired. firearms use only accounted for 1% of all violent crime.
The Association of Chief Police Officers estimate that 10% of firearms incidents involve deactivated weapons. However. Unfortunately there is little systematic data or research focusing specifically on deactivated weapons. deactivated or fake. however there are estimates available from various firearms related organisations.000 pre-1989 deactivations which not required to be certified and thus would be harder to regulate. since these are police recorded crime figures. with less than 5 offences in every year since 200/45. the previous point regarding the weapon not being discharged applies and the true level could be much higher.000 certified deactivated weapons with a further 8000 new deactivations yearly.In terms of the extent of deactivated weapons ownership and misuses. there are currently 180. In 60% of firearms incidents and 86% of pistol incidents the firearm is never discharged so without recovering the weapon it is not possible to tell whether the weapon was live. More recently.
. however no figures are provided to back this statement up. Recorded figures show a very low rate of offending with deactivated firearms. National Ballistics Intelligence Service analysis has suggested that reactivated weapons are in fact becoming more common than real firearms. The Home Office also estimates that there are around 200.
police officers and Home Office staff.In order to research the questions laid out at the beginning of the presentation. However.
. I decided to utilise two different methods. which will be detailed further in a moment. Following the questionnaire process I will be conducting interviews with several different stakeholders in the process including re-enactors. Firstly. in order to identify the general views of the re-enactment community in relation to firearms legislation I decided to use a questionnaire. this process has not been conducted yet so for now I will focus upon the questionnaires.
Firstly. and thus broke the questionnaire down into these areas. respondents asked to assess whether each control mentioned earlier would affect them directly and given the choice to provide further explanation for their response.
. These were both partly quantitative and partly qualitative. I wanted to discover the demographics of the community and what types of firearm are routinely used. Secondly. in order to provide a background to the community. These questions are part of the quantitative study. The questionnaire was conducted online with adverts for the survey distributed amongst re-enactors and re-enactment websites.In designing the questionnaire I generated five substantive areas which I wanted to focus upon. focusing upon the proposed controls on deactivated weapons. For this presentation I will focus upon the following topics.
The respondents also demonstrate a range of experience in the hobby. Moving to gender. which would suggest that the majority of respondents should have some knowledge of firearms legislation and regulation. however just over half of respondents are over 40 and are above the age range most commonly associated with criminality. 91% of respondents indicated that their primary impression is a military based one and thus likely to involve firearm use. 85% of respondents own at least one firearm themselves. including one who has 30 years.
Focusing on the demographics of respondents first.
. however at some events weapons are available for hire so it is not strictly necessary to own a weapon yourself. every respondent except one has been male. This could be due to the focus on firearms and the fact females were rarely armed in WW2 so would not commonly be represented in modern day re-enactment either. Two thirds of respondents have military.A total of 33 respondents completed the questionnaire. Moving onto the first substantive area of the questionnaire. with the majority of respondents quite recently becoming involved. but several also have over 15 years experience in the hobby. In terms of ages. police or other firearms related organisations. we have a wide range of responses from 18 to 60.
while just under half would be affected by legislation on post-1995 respondents. These figures show a slight preference for more recent deactivations which can be linked to the higher cost of pre-1995. however there are also a high number of larger weapons owned as well.Respondents were asked what type of firearms they owned. Respondents were then asked what the nature of the firearms were. Overall from this.
. The key findings of this question are: 61% own at least one automatic pistol 40% own a revolver 57% own a Bolt-action rifle 46% own a Sub-machine gun The most commonly used firearm in criminal activity would be the pistol/revolver due to concealability (43% of offences in 2006/7) and a similarly a high ownership rate is shown in re-enactment. With 39% of respondents owning a pre-1995 deactivated weapons and 46% owning a post1995 deactivated. with the ability to choose multiple categories. we can see that any new legislation on pre-1995 deactivated weapons will affect just under two-fifths of the respondents.
which would more than likely be laid at the foot of the owners themselves. the latter of which was also associated with the imitation firearms laws also studied. The most favoured proposal was making all future deactivated weapons conform to one standard. which most respondents felt would not affect themselves directly.Moving onto the proposed controls on deactivated firearms. or that would restrict new members access to firearms tend to have higher rates of opposition. the most opposed proposal was to introduce a firearms certificate style system. Figures estimated by the Home Office suggests cost of updating these weapons to be upto £63. The vast majority of respondents felt that a firearms certificate system would essentially be a new tax with little actual benefit given the weapons are unable to fire unlike air and live weapons. for example an old spec M1 Garand can cost over £1000. Pre-1995 weapons often sell for much higher prices than post-1995. however the two other controls are demonstrated on the slide. Overall.
. with over half of respondents feeling it would affect them. Issues were raised over the cost of updating these weapons. resulting in a bill to update pre-1995 weapons which in turn would reduce their value on the market. However. with half of respondents feeling it would have an impact.8 million. from these it can be seen that the proposals that will have the most impact upon reenactors finances. The most costly proposal would be updating existing pre-1995 weapons to the more stringent 1995 standard. the most costly and the most favoured. Respondents were asked whether they felt each proposal would affect them and given the opportunity to explain why they felt this way. so if the future standard was even more strict then the weapons would be less attractive compared to replicas. concerns were raised about the current UK standard being too strict and not equal between different types of weapon. a couple of respondents felt the proposal would be beneficial in both reducing criminal access to the weapons but also provide a positive reputation for the community by showing that only certified reenactors have access to the weapons. Finally. While more respondents felt this would not impact upon themselves. while new spec can be found for under £500. I will be focusing on the most opposed.
* Most respondents had problems with the proposals which affected them financially or placed additional steps in the way of new members
. * The majority also had previous military or police service.Gun crime in the United Kingdom makes up less than 0. with deactivated weapon misuse generally below 5 recorded incidents a year. the majority of respondents were above the age generally associated with criminal activity. The Government has proposed legislation which can affect re-enactment in relation to deactivated weapons and this proposed legislation was the focus of part of my study.5% of all crime. From the research conducted so far. However. the Home Office believes this figure is below the true level of offending. * In terms of the breakdown of the community.
At present. I know at least two people personally who when given the survey assumed that I wanted them to pass it onto others they knew rather than complete it themselves since they feel they do not know much about firearms legislation since they do not use firearms themselves. probably in part due to the previous point. and thus a comparison between the actual affect on irish re-enactment vs the perceived affect on british reenactment would be an interesting area to investigate given more time and funding. so in-person interviews would be a more social method of data collection and thus likely to provide greater depth and knowledge. Given more time and funding. Alot of events in the community are seen as social events where reenactors can get together and share their love for the hobby. the research could be improved by conducting structured interviews with reenactors at events rather than attempting to convince them to complete a survey online. there is a possibility that only reenactors who are interested in firearms legislation would complete the survey. Additionally.Given the topic. the number of responses is pretty low. but also there are inherent difficulties in attempting to research a relatively small community like the WW2 re-enactment one compared to researching the entire historical re-enactment community or another area of study.
. one of the respondents raised the point that Irish reenactors are already required to purchase from registered firearms dealers and required to register for certification through the police.