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Yes, however it is an offence to possess an imitation firearm in a public place (unless the person can prove he / she has a reasonable excuse) or to manufacture, import or sell a realistic imitation firearm. There are some exceptions for weapons used in historical re-enactments, theatrical productions and film making.

It is also an offence to possess an article capable of being used to convert an imitation firearm, where the person intends to use the article (whether by itself or with other articles) to convert such a firearm. Registered firearms dealers are exempt from this offence.

An imitation firearm has been defined as 'anything, which has the appearance of a firearm' so could include toy guns. Many imitation weapons are very realistic and until the weapon has been seized it is difficult to ascertain whether it is genuine or not.

All calls to police involving firearms are treated as if it is a genuine firearm so be aware that if you do wave an imitation firearm around you could find yourself surrounded by firearms officers pointing real weapons at you.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.