“First they came for the fully-automatic machine guns, and I’d didn’t protest because I didn’t own a machine gun…”
As the BBC reports, even joke guns and toys swords must be registered and stored locked up in today’s Britain.
A Cornish village drama group has had to register a toy gun with the police to comply with health and safety rules.
Carnon Downs drama group in Cornwall have also had to keep their plastic cutlasses and wooden swords locked up for the pantomime, Robinson Crusoe.
Producers of the show called the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rules “farcical”.
A spokesman for the HSE said the rules were designed to make risks “sensibly managed”.
The climax of the show is a fight in which actors use replica 4ft-foot long plastic cutlasses.
There is also a toy gun which produces a flag saying “Bang”.
The directors contacted police after receiving advice from the HSE and the National Operatic and Dramatic Association.
The HSE have a page on their website called Entertainment Information Sheet 20 which lays down strict rules for the handling of guns, swords and other weapons on set.
Drama group co-director Linda Barker said: “The cutlasses count as weapons even though they are replicas and made of plastic and apparently they could be mistaken for real ones.
“Our only gun was a panto pistol which produces a flag with the word bang on it.
“Our local police at Truro were fantastic and they have registered the gun, the two plastic cutlasses and our six wooden swords.”
She added: “It gets a bit farcical when you are dealing with plastic swords. It is not as if anyone is likely to be scared by them.”
Neighbourhood beat officer Pc Nigel Hyde said: “We have been informed and made a note.
“It seems a bit unusual but other forms of replica weapons have been used to carry out crimes and the consequences have been serious.”
A spokesman for the HSE said: “We do not want to stop people putting on pantos or having fun as long as the risks are sensible managed.”
Hat tip to Walter Olson.
Dominique R. Poirier
You know what? This story strongly reminds me of High Plains Drifter, a western film made in 1973, starring Clint Eastwood.
For the record, in High Plains Drifter three felons, due to be released from the jail in Yuma in a few days, are expected to return to the town of Lago and wreak havoc.
Clint Eastwood casting a mysterious unknown marksman the local inhabitant name “The Stranger” is hired by the town to kill the felons and to protect them. They offer him “anything he might want” in return. But the inhabitant ignore that The Stranger came in this town for the sake of vengeance against them. For their former Sheriff had been whipped to death by these three felons before everyoneâ€™s eyes.
The Stranger takes full advantage of his carte blanche in the town, and his demands are both heavy and bizarre. Eastwood’s character exacts a steep price for his help with the three returning felons and although he trains the townspeople and gives them a strategy, he is particularly ruthless and even asks the hotelier to empty the hotel of all its occupants so he can settle in by himself.
At some point The Stranger decrees that a dwarf who lives in Lago and who befriended him is the new mayor, and also the new Sheriff of the town. Lagoâ€™s inhabitants are so cowardly that they accept all those fancies without a word of protestation.
Shortly before encountering the returning felons, the Stranger literally has the locals paint the entire town red at their own expense, and he also makes them set up a costly picnic table awaiting their return.
By the film’s end, the Stranger’s vengeance is complete after a final brutal whipping scene echoing that of the past. The town is in ruins and many of the prominent citizens are dead or missing, but the men the town has feared are dead, too.
As a mark of ultimate and cold irony The Stranger had renamed the town of Lago, “Hell” and he never told them he is the brother of the defunct Sheriff, thus leaving them into total ignorance of the cause of this terrible happening.
Reading that just…made me want to die, haha.
(PS, I prefer the theory that Clint Eastwood is a ghost or angel of death.)
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