Posted below is a copy of the minutes from our latest management meeting
Some of you have been asking why the association has been so quiet in recent times. Unfortunately, our committee positions are mostly vacant. We’ve had a period where we didn’t manage to get normal replacements for guys who were leaving (people tend to come and go) and then a general feeling of being worn down by the enormity of the task caused two of the remaining committee members to resign at the same time. As such, we’re down to a single committee member at the moment (out of 5 positions). To add to our misery, our membership database has broken down at the same time.
Bearing these facts in mind, James (our Treasurer) has stopped all new member registrations and member renewals. It just wouldn’t be fair to take your money if we’re providing none of the promised services. We did recently discuss the idea of dissolving the association, in a worst case scenario we’d rather that we closed shop than allowing it to limp on with no-one at the helm.
UKAPU was set up with the sole aim of becoming the manifestation of players will, a tool for you to use. But after 5 years of successfully defending many players who have been wronged by the law, and representing members to the media and different parts of government, UKAPU still doesn’t have the weight of the airsoft community behind it. It seems like the majority of players don’t want to be involved in airsoft outside of playing or don’t care to research the precarious situation. Threats to players rights aren’t just coming from outside of airsoft though; as with anything in life if you don’make your voice heard, someone else will talk on your behalf, and we know, for a fact, that the people illegitimately holding the power in UK airsoft right now are petitioning for things like a ban on persoanl RIF imports. Sadly, other new airsoft groups also have deep inherent flaws; an absence of transparency, democracy and management with heavily vested interests. So, you can see, the need for a strong players association hasn’t reduced one iota.
In spite of these recent issues our South East Representative, Bruce Clark, has volunteered to step up as Chairman and lead UKAPU. Bruce is a Captain in the Merchant Navy, ex forces, has allot of spare time on his hands and is extremely keen on Airsoft. He is the perfect man for the job. This week we’ll get Bruce officially slotted into the Chairman position, and I’ve high hopes that Bruce’s fresh ideas and enthusiasm will knock UKAPU back into life from the stagnation which has come about this year. Massive thanks to Bruce for stepping up.
Lately we’ve also had a respectable volume of volunteers step forward to fill the other vacant positions and I promise to be in touch with them during the next week (sorry its not been sooner, I have allot going on in my personal life at the moment). So, with a fresh team on the job and the old guard on hand to pass on their knowledge and experience, I can see UKAPU achieving great things in the near future!
Despite the new committee, the association still won’t last without more support from all airsoft players, and active participation from more members. My thanks to those who have continually talked us up and the core of awesome people who been loyal members over the years. UKAPU wouldn’t be here without you. But for those who have refrained from ‘picking a side’ or generally haven’t taken an interest in the future of airsoft, this could be your last chance to get behind a resource which is created for you and could be extremely valuable in your future.
Please post on our forum if you are interested in working for the association as a volunteer
For those of you who aren’t currently members, we’ll ask you to sign up (or renew) soon. Keep an eye on our our facebook page, twitter account, website or our articles in gun mart and airsoft action magazines. We’ll let you know as soon as the new membership database is back up and running.
Matt Furey-King, Consultant UKAPU
The Minutes from last years AGM will be available in the members section of the website shortly.
If you haven’t already don’t forget to re register on the forums so that you can access the discounts and members sections to keep up to date with UKAPU business and where you can save some money.
The transfer of the UKAPU site is now complete, please email firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any issues or question.
This years AGM will be held in the same venue as last year, the scout hut in meriden on Saturday 7th December at 7pm
address is Green Hut, Main road, Meriden CV7 7NG start time will be 7pm, please try to get there promptly so we can start on time, thanks.
For those wishing to do so; we will be playing at Fireball Squadron during the day to have a bit of a meet up prior to the AGM and to make it a little more worthwhile for those travelling a long way. details and directions can be found at www.fireballsquadron.com I hope to see you there!
UKAPU Response to recent events
I think it fair to say that the recent events have been well publicised. I am of course referring to the leaked email from Frank Bothamley to other UKARA members containing ideas on how to rework the VCRA.
I hope to address the issues raised in the email from a UKAPU perspective but also I want to avoid casting aspersions and name calling as it is counterproductive.
Firstly, I want to deal with the manner in which it was brought to light. Whilst I have a huge amount of respect for ‘Yossers airsoft oddesy’ I believe the manner in which the story was broken was guaranteed to result in a vitriolic outrage in the online airsoft community. This could have been as counterproductive and as damaging as the contents of the email itself. I hope that ‘Yosser’ can take something from this experience as well as the retailers, Mr. Bothamley and the wider airsoft community.
we should bear in mind that the email contained ideas. These were not proposals that had been submitted to the Home office and accepted, they were not new laws they were just ideas. It is important that this is remembered.
If these are submitted to the HO or the ACPO as they stand purely through others inaction as Mr. Bothamly alludes to then that would be another matter and one that UKAPU would fight as we do not agree with the recommendations in their entirety.
So let’s deal with the email
- Mr. Bothamley approached the HO and the ACPO over 12 months ago. As Chairman of UKARA and dealing with issues relating around the VCRA then that is his prerogative to do so as the breaches of the VCRA he was reporting were not being dealt with. Due to the nature of these discussions, a heads up and some feedback to the other associations (and to the UKARA members) would have been a matter of common courtesy, and would be in line with the coordinated approach that we have agreed upon.
- Any proposal that further limits the rights of players to purchase RIF’s places the control of second hand sales and personal imports into the hands of retailers is not something we would condone and would fight against it. There is no evidence that private imports and second hand sales are causing a problem.
- Mr. Bothamley’s call for RIF’s to be sold through airgun weapon RFD’s is just that. It is not asking for reclassification of airsoft guns to airgun status just that they be sold via a checkable source. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world as it would do away with some of the less than honest retailers. It could have an impact on some of the smaller shops but it is for them to decide if gaining RFD status is worthwhile. It makes checking a whole lot easier for both the police and trading standards however.
- UKARA would be defunct. Whilst the database and the association have been proven to be less than perfect and there are persistent accusations of new retailers being denied fair access, it has worked for the most part. It’s not perfect, and I believe that the database should be controlled independently, probably by sites, and with free access for all, in line with the original assertions that “it would not be a closed system”. With the system proposed by Mr. Bothamley, all that would be required would be proof of age. This would I think put us back to pre VCRA days, with RIFs available to all and thus all the problems that were perceived to exist prior to he VCRA would In effect exist once more.
- The proposals for the withdrawal of second hand sales and personal imports as outlined in Mr. Bothamley’s Email concern us the most. If he wishes to follow the model for airgun sales then these should remain unregulated and UKAPU would fight for this right to remain.
The result of this rather negative situation is that it has promoted discussion. Let’s hope that the outcome is more interest from players, sites and retailers in how they are represented. Bear in mind that, at the moment, we are doubtful that changes to these law are on the table.
–The main point of UKAPU is that it’s a way to get your voice heard. As we will be speaking to ACPO and the Home Office in the near future, would members want us to support changes to the VCRA or not? Would you prefer to see reforms from within the community? If you do want to see changes in the VCRA and specific defence, what would you like to change? Do you feel that the VCRA is fundamentally working? Is it workable and enforceable and are problems with enforcement even an issue for the airsoft community, or the duty of the Police and Government? Please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com or join the discussion on our forum if this has made you think about our hobby’s future.
I am sure that by now, literally everyone in the airsofting world in the UK will have seen, heard of or been told about a certain email from a certain retailer proposing to reshape the very face of airsoft? I have spoken with Frank and various other people about this and watched and listened with interest to the internet chatter, facebook groups and even the occasional reasoned argument before giving UKAPU’s stance.
I have drafted a reply and it is with the committee as some of them are far better wordsmiths than I so their input is vital but please be reminded that UKAPU is run by PLAYERS for PLAYERS. We do not have any site tie ins or retailer sponsorship. No one informs us of our opinion; we make our own minds up for what we believe to be the best thing for players to be able to continue to play this hobby we all love so much.
As soon as the committee have okayed the official responce I will post it here, there and quite literally everywhere. No doubt some will agree and some won’t but if it continues to encourage discussion and progression then it is a good thing.
Thanks for your contuned patience folks!
Its that time of year again when we need to hold our AGM. The proposed date will be december 7th and as we did last year we will spend the day playing at fireball and then retire to the Bassett’s Pole Pub at approximately 5pm for a bite to eat and the meeting will begin at 6pm, unfortunately we cannot hold the meeting at the pub so the location will need to be checked and comfirmed. I will update by the end of the week with a venue for the meeting.
There are a few committee positions that are up for election this time round and we always welcome new blood into the ranks of the management structure as it is what keeps UKAPU fresh and focussed on the players; so if you think you can help have a look at the either vacant or soon to be vacated slots and see if you can do something for UKAPU. Regional reps and the student positions will automatically be up for election and are single year posts due to the changing nature of those environments.
All nominations must be with the secretary before the middle of november so people can vote accordingly.
these are the officer posts
West midlands – Nomination Josh Golding
Northern Ireland – Nomination Jack Denvir
As you may have noticed, the website is slowly changing – please bear with us during this transitional time.
If you see any issues, have any suggestions or just want to give feedback, please do so in the comments!
Whilst at Fireball Squadron last week, the guys from Airsoft TV were there shooting some footage and speaking to some of the regular players. I was lucky enough to grab a few moments with them and do a short interview. The full film can be seen here
So a big thanks to the guys from Airsoft TV.