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Blank firing importation question

  • 09-11-2020 12:28am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4 Frnk21


    Im looking to start a rental blank firing business for theatrical purposes but im having some trouble understanding the logistics of actually acquiring blank firing guns. I know you need superintendent permission to buy the gun and to buy the ammunition but what about importing them?
    The only places i can actually find them for sale are in Germany, Czech and the UK. Germany and Czech seem like my best bet since most UK vendors don't ship outside of the UK but how do i actually import them?

    Is their a separate permission i need to import the blank firing guns and ammunition or is it the same permission from the superintendent? Will they get stopped at the border and an ERU outside my front door the next day?

    I honestly think the market is their for blank firing guns but the laws don't seem to give very much guidance on the subject.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,223 ✭✭✭ Chiparus


    The issue may be more the rental of the blank firing gun, while you may obtain permission to posess such an device, if you rent it out the user you rent it to may not have permission.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,280 ✭✭✭ tudderone


    There is already people who supply the film/tv industry here with blankfirers, they have done it for years. Its not a huge market anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 Frnk21


    tudderone wrote: »
    There is already people who supply the film/tv industry here with blankfirers, they have done it for years. Its not a huge market anyway.

    Really? I couldn't find any companies offering blank firing guns for film/theater, could you provide some links?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 Frnk21


    Chiparus wrote: »
    The issue may be more the rental of the blank firing gun, while you may obtain permission to posess such an device, if you rent it out the user you rent it to may not have permission.

    I think i should clarify, when i mean "rent" i mean somebody wants to film a scene for a show or movie, i go down and show them how to safely operate the blank firing guns then they film the scene. The guns never actually leave my possession, they just fire them a few times while filming and thats it.
    Apparently its a pretty big industry in places like Russia and the US because they tend to be alot more realistic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,280 ✭✭✭ tudderone


    I cannot to be honest, its years since i was in contact with them, they would be very well known in the film industry, as they do stunt work etc too. No point in them having a website as they only supply the few studios here, RTE etc too. They don't sell blankfirers, i know i tried to buy one.


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  • Site Banned Posts: 26 ✭✭✭ bubbagumss


    you need a firearms license you cant lend it out unless they have firearms licence


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,280 ✭✭✭ tudderone


    I think there is an exception if a firearm is or film or theatre use. But its all tightly regulated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 194 ✭✭ keith s


    Have you got a market for it or are you just thinking it would be a good idea?

    If you're planning to do it, have you already made contact with anyone in the film/TV industry?

    If you can't find information on anyone doing this, maybe you could find out from RTE or similar, who they get in when they need them?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,805 ✭✭✭ juice1304


    Firearms used in the movie industry are usually actual firearms that have been modified, they cut the lugs off the barrels and change the weight of the slide by milling out material and springs so the blank cartridge has enough energy to overcome the mass of the slide etc. There are people who supply the industry here already as i know people who have imported firearms for them etc. It would be a fairly big investment if you want to do it for an actual business as you would have to purchase a substantial amount of firearms.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭ Grizzly 45


    Frnk21 wrote: »
    Really? I couldn't find any companies offering blank firing guns for film/theater, could you provide some links?

    Talk to Joe Condren. He is a stuntman and also provides[ed] firearms for many Irish Film/TV productions. Dunno is he still in the trade.
    He is/was a firearms dealer, which is a prerequisite for this , as you are going to be handling what are essentially still looked on as restricted firearms under the law, and with the new EU directive on a prohibition on select-fire weapons that have been converted to blank-firing prop guns, it will be almost a requirement

    Have a look on stunt register Ireland for contact details.

    Confucius say."He who says one man cannot change World. Never has eaten bat soup in Wuhan!"



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,280 ✭✭✭ tudderone


    Grizzly 45 wrote: »
    Talk to Joe Condren. He is a stuntman and also provides[ed] firearms for many Irish Film/TV productions. Dunno is he still in the trade.
    He is/was a firearms dealer, which is a prerequisite for this , as you are going to be handling what are essentially still looked on as restricted firearms under the law, and with the new EU directive on a prohibition on select-fire weapons that have been converted to blank-firing prop guns, it will be almost a requirement

    Have a look on stunt register Ireland for contact details.

    I reckon it would be a logistical, bureaucratic and possibly a legal nightmare to get a gun hire business off the ground here now. Imagine, you would be dealing with the police, restricted firearms, secure storage in your premises and on site, transportation, health and safety in the workplace, etc etc. You would want to earning serious money before i'd wade through all that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭ Grizzly 45


    It's still doable,but it would be a VERY hard row to hoe in the first couple of years to get in some sort of money.I don't think you can even go straight away to restricted dealer either.

    AGS, DOJ and Revenue want to see you making some sort of trade, turnover or loss before they clear you for the full restricted dealership,or so I'm told, to prevent lads just using it as an excuse to buy and stockpile what they fancy without bothering with licenses.

    You'd really want to do your homework on this one as a viable business starting as a newbie in this. Frankly,I can't see that much of a market for just prop gun rental to the Irish entertainment industry. As a sideline maybe to something else related like a pyrotechnician, explosive expert, etc,but I cant see us producing enough films, scripts etc to warrant a supply of blank firing arms...

    Confucius say."He who says one man cannot change World. Never has eaten bat soup in Wuhan!"



  • Registered Users Posts: 37,370 ✭✭✭✭ Mellor


    Grizzly 45 wrote: »
    Frankly,I can't see that much of a market for just prop gun rental to the Irish entertainment industry. As a sideline maybe to something else related like a pyrotechnician, explosive expert, etc,but I cant see us producing enough films, scripts etc to warrant a supply of blank firing arms...

    100% this ^^^.
    It could maybe be a profitable side deal for a dealer who has all the prerequisites in place any way. But I simply can’t see the demand for this as a stand alone business in a small industry.

    Many guns in smaller films, tv, or stage productions are non firing props. It’s just safer and easier to achieve the effects with other means.
    In bigger production films, the firearms you see are often real firearms. Especially with very specific firearms are scripted. The blacks they fire are not standard blanks. They are typically loaded with more powder, or special powder in order to produce a muzzle flash for the camera.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭ Grizzly 45


    PLUS...And people in the entertainment industry and re-enactors in the EU are only waking up to this now. You cant convert any former select fire or machine guns to blank-firing props anymore either.:(

    They are now, as are the current stock out there, CAT A Prohibited firearms under the EU gun ban directive. Courtsey of the religion of peace proponents using shoddily converted AK clones in the Bataclan/Paris massacres. And the EU Gods never considered this little problem either for exemptions.

    So that leaves you with the right problem if the script calls for some latest Gucci kit firearm and you are filming here. Under this new legislation, doing a film like "Saving Pvt Ryan" would be a nightmare, if not impossible in the EU anymore.

    Confucius say."He who says one man cannot change World. Never has eaten bat soup in Wuhan!"



  • Registered Users Posts: 481 ✭✭ Munsterlad102


    mg-props.co.uk do some reasonably priced plug fire blanks but I'm not sure if they fire the standard 8 or 9mm PAK blank round. The ammunition that they use is reusable but is something crazy like 3 quid a round. Food for thought anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4 Frnk21


    mg-props.co.uk do some reasonably priced plug fire blanks but I'm not sure if they fire the standard 8 or 9mm PAK blank round. The ammunition that they use is reusable but is something crazy like 3 quid a round. Food for thought anyway.

    Interesting, i've never heard of plug fire guns. As far as i can tell they're 2.70 per round but they're reusable at .085c per round

    It might be easier to convince the superintendent about these than actual blank firing guns since they don't use blanks but instead are just caps like on a cap gun but bigger.
    I'll do some research and see what regulations might apply to these.


  • Registered Users Posts: 481 ✭✭ Munsterlad102


    Frnk21 wrote: »
    Interesting, i've never heard of plug fire guns. As far as i can tell they're 2.70 per round but they're reusable at .085c per round

    It might be easier to convince the superintendent about these than actual blank firing guns since they don't use blanks but instead are just caps like on a cap gun but bigger.
    I'll do some research and see what regulations might apply to these.

    Yeah the blank guns themself were remarkably cheap, even for full auto ones. It’s probably worth asking whether they find the disposable 9mm PAK rounds as well because some chap losing a mag full of plug fire rounds would be a very costly mistake.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,280 ✭✭✭ tudderone


    There was a guy on that combat dealers show the other night, he is employed by the British and Hollywood film industry to supply the guns and do the pyrotechnics and all that. There seems to be good money in it, but i would think you would want to know your stuff, and be more than someone who shows up with a case of pistols and drops them off.

    This guy was ex-services and was able to drill the actors how to do things in a realistic way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭ Grizzly 45


    Yup, as well as coach the actors that even blank firers can be just as deadly as real ones.
    Ask Brandon Lee about that one..oh well, you can't as he shot himself in the head with a blank-firing pistol on the set of the Crow 2 and a bit f the blank entered his skull and killed him.

    Confucius say."He who says one man cannot change World. Never has eaten bat soup in Wuhan!"



  • Registered Users Posts: 481 ✭✭ Munsterlad102


    Grizzly 45 wrote: »
    Yup, as well as coach the actors that even blank firers can be just as deadly as real ones.
    Ask Brandon Lee about that one..oh well, you can't as he shot himself in the head with a blank-firing pistol on the set of the Crow 2 and a bit f the blank entered his skull and killed him.

    To be fair, the blanks were just normal rounds with the powder removed but yeah you can still kill yourself with modern blank guns. If you got some safety qualification or some trainer course, it would probably be best.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 775 ✭✭✭ otmmyboy2


    On the PFC replicas, the vast majority will not fire blanks without extensive modification.
    There were some, I think sten guns of some variety, which were converted way back when, but their legality would be interesting since in Ireland those PFC replicas are unregulated and blank firers require an authorisation.
    Also since blank firers are counted as live firearms in Ireland I think there is some law which makes it illegal to convert a replica firearm to a live firearm.
    Depending on that definition of live firearms it either might only be doable to get a gunsmith to convert the PFC guns, or it may be illegal to convert completely.

    Finally most PFC guns that are full auto would, if converted to fire blanks, be classed as full auto firearms in Ireland, and thus cat A prohibited.

    Open to correction on any of the above but from my recollection that is accurate.

    Never forget, the end goal is zero firearms of any type.

    S.I. No. 187/1972 - Firearms (Temporary Custody) Order - Firearms seized

    Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 - Firearms banned & grandfathered

    S.I. No. 420/2019 - Magazine ban



  • Registered Users Posts: 37,370 ✭✭✭✭ Mellor


    Grizzly 45 wrote: »
    Ask Brandon Lee about that one..oh well, you can't as he shot himself in the head with a blank-firing pistol on the set of the Crow 2 and a bit f the blank entered his skull and killed him.

    At least 3 thongs you said there disagree with the alleged incident.

    He was shot by another actor. Shooting your self in head with a blank wouldn't be scripted I imagine. He was shot in the stomach.

    He bullet was loaded with dummy rounds (bullet but no powder) for close up. When they'd swapped to black. The bullet from the dummy round was dislodged and stayed in the barrel, and was propedded my the blank when fired at him from across the room.


    Or at least that the official story. All sorts of claims of swapped rounds existed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 775 ✭✭✭ otmmyboy2


    Just had a quick look and there was an actor, Jon-Erik Hexum, who died after playing Russian roulette with a blank firing 44 magnum revolver that he had pointed at his head, being unaware of the dangers of blanks too.

    Evidently there had been some filming delay and he unloaded all but 1 blank round and began playing Russian roulette to lighten the mood.

    Might be who Grizzly was thinking of, since I do think Brandon Lee was killed as Mellor described.

    There was an extras scene in the Doom movie actually where the actors were being put through boot camp and before they got issued blank firing rifles to train with the armourer sat them in a classroom and shot a polystyrene head with a blank.
    It's face was completely destroyed, and everyone sat up a lot straighter.
    Bloody good illustration of the dangers of blanks!

    Never forget, the end goal is zero firearms of any type.

    S.I. No. 187/1972 - Firearms (Temporary Custody) Order - Firearms seized

    Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 - Firearms banned & grandfathered

    S.I. No. 420/2019 - Magazine ban



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭ Grizzly 45


    Yup got that one mixed up. Thought it was Lee who was shot in the head.
    From Allthatisintresting.com

    The Death Of Brandon Lee
    The role was to star in the action film The Crow as Eric Draven, a murdered rockstar who returns from the dead to exact revenge on the gang that killed him and his girlfriend. Since the character’s death is pivotal to his arc in the movie, the scene in which he dies was saved for the latter part of the production. But it would end in Brandon Lee’s actual demise.
    The scene was supposed to be simple: director Alex Proyas intended for Lee to walk through a doorway carrying a grocery bag and costar Michael Massee would fire blanks at him from 15 feet away. Lee would then flip a switch fitted to the bag which would activate “squibs” (which are essentially small fireworks) that then simulated bloody bullet wounds.
    “It wasn’t the first time they tried the scene,” a police spokesperson said after the event. The gun had been made specially by the props team to simulate realistic rounds, but on that fateful night in March, it was loaded with a dummy bullet from a previous scene.

    The gun was only supposed to fire blanks, but that dummy bullet had become lodged inside without anyone noticing. Even though it wasn’t a real bullet, the force with which the dummy was unlodged was comparable to that of a real one. When Massee fired, unknowingly, Lee was struck in the stomach and two arteries were immediately severed.
    Lee collapsed on set and was rushed to the hospital. He was in surgery for six hours, but to no avail. He died at 1:04 p.m on March 31.

    Police initially believed that the squibs rigged on to Lee’s person had caused his wounds. “When the other actor fired a shot, the explosive charge went off inside the bag,” said officer Michael Overton. “After that, we don’t know what happened.”

    But the doctor who performed emergency surgery on Lee vehemently disagreed with this account. Dr. Warren W. McMurry of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in North Carolina, where Brandon Lee died, concluded that the fatal injuries were consistent with a bullet wound. “I felt that that was what we were most likely dealing with,” he said.

    Indeed, even professionals in the industry, like Lee’s close friend John Soet, were unconvinced that a squib charge could do such damage.

    “I’ve worked in films and directed a few low-budget features,” he said. “As powerful as squibs are, I can’t recall a single incident where anyone was injured by them. Generally, they are pretty powerful. They do carry a hefty explosive charge. If you are not well-padded, you can get a bruise.”

    Dr. McMurry added that he saw no signs indicative of an explosion and that the entry wound was the size of a silver dollar.

    According to Dr. McMurry, the projectile had made a straightforward path to Lee’s spine where X-rays indeed showed a lodged metal object. The Wilmington Police Department consequently classified the incident as an “accidental shooting.”


    from Earlier in the shoot, a prop guy went down to their local prop shop to buy items for the production, during which he also purchased a set of live bullets which he took back to the set of The Crow. As live rounds should never be kept on a film set, the film’s prop master removed them and stored them in the trunk of his own car. As live bullets are never used in films, guns are loaded with blanks which are bullet cases filled with primer – a form of gunpowder – that creates the firing effect. Unlike a real bullet, however, blanks have a cardboard tip on the end rather than a lead one, so that any impact the bullet would have once fired from a gun would be minimal if any. During a scene in which a victim looks down the barrel of a gun being loaded, it was discovered that there were no blanks on set. In an effort to save time, the prop guys took the live bullets from the car and modified them into blanks, also creating dummy rounds – which didn’t have gunpowder but kept the lead tip – to be used for close-ups. Unbeknownst to anyone on set, when the dummy round was loaded into the gun for that shot, the lead tip got lodged in the barrel.

    Two weeks later, on March 30th, that same gun was used for the scene where Brandon Lee was to be shot by Michael Massee’s character Funboy. The scene called for Lee to walk into his apartment, and then activate a squib – a packet of blood that would simulate the gunshot wound – once Massee fired the gun and fall to the ground. Everything went as planned. The gun went off, the squib went off, and Lee fell down. It wasn’t until after Proyas called cut that anyone realised Lee wasn’t moving. In fact, he was losing a tonne of blood from a silver dime-sized bullet wound. Unfortunately, when the gun with the blank was fired it also propelled the lead tip that had been lodged there two weeks earlier, hitting Lee in his abdomen just above his navel.





    [/I]
    Either which way,working with prop guns,blank-firing or others.you still need to be damn careful with them.

    Confucius say."He who says one man cannot change World. Never has eaten bat soup in Wuhan!"



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