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PAX Cosplayers - your opinions requested (about costume weapons)!

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    Trooper0621Trooper0621 Registered User regular
    A single check in station is what SDCC uses, and also what I've seen at the two major anime conventions in California (Fanime and Anime Expo)
    - It looks like a real firearm at "second glance." (Yes, even if it's a kid's toy.)

    This is the probably the toughest one to enforce, as it is highly subjective. I've staffed the 'rover' security team at Fanime for several years, eventually being promoted to one of 4 shift leads. As a very cosplay-heavy convention, we used to get a LOT of similar complaints about people getting the OK from one rover but then another one would say it wasn't allowed, leading cosplayers to become extremely frustrated with what seemed like arbitrary enforcement.

    If what you seek is to avoid intimidating attendees and enforcing safety, my advice is to stress two things: Functionality and behavior. Non-functioning is easy and clearcut to enforce for most people...no projectiles shooting out, no edged weapons, no heavy clubs (i.e. plastic bats okay, but not metal bats). On behavior, restrict play fighting and pointing of weapons at people. Stipulate that when posing with a firearm-replica on convention grounds, props should be pointed straight up or down, never at a person, just like a real firearm.

    If you rely on the 'looks like a firearm' based on subjective views, you end up basically rolling dice when you go to a con. All of these arguably look very much like firearms at 'second glance', especially when many are designed to look like modern day weapons or in the case of star wars guns, are actual modified weapons.
    4837128826_9147fdcd4b.jpg
    star_wars_blaster_replicas.jpg
    nerfguns.jpg
    ME3_Mattock_Assault_Rifle.png

    In cons that like to rely on a subjective rules end up being the type of con where you just keep returning to the prop checking table until you find the person that figures "oh, its a star wars blaster, so its okay". It becomes very hard to implement evenly. At Fanime, I eventually convince the staff to relax the standards (err on giving the cosplayers the benefit of the doubt) and we also had a small core group of people that were always on the weapons desk so the decisions were more consistant from cosplayer to cosplayer.

    Off on a tangent: The 'no deactivated airsoft' is always a tricky rule as well. If you have a body kit for an airsoft gun, without any parts in it, does that count as 'deactivated airsoft'? Or just plastic bits? Most cons I know keep this rule however, mostly because it serves its purpose of keeping people from even attempting to bring airsoft-based props in. Most people that go through the trouble of say, buying an Aliens airsoft pulse rifle kit would be better off gambling with the 'hope they recognize it from the films and dont care' game than to bother to try and change what is a staple rule for almost every con.

    Wow, I'm rambling.

    tl;dr At a second glance, do any of the above pictures weapons look like weapons? (ignore the needler) Make sure all your staff who will be checking weapons are in agreement and can articulate WHY they feel a weapon is somehow intimidating/not intimidating/etc.

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    LoneWanderer88LoneWanderer88 PennsylvaniaRegistered User regular
    Going with the gentleman above me, note that cosplayers generally aren't there to make trouble. They are there to have fun and show off their stuff. So erring on the side of the cosplayers is a good gesture of goodwill anyway. Just make sure that the people occupying the station KNOW for certain what exactly is allowed so there is no second guessing each other, and once they give their judgement, there is no second guessing it either from the other security attendants, or from the con-goer themselves. And if for some reason something isn't allowed, not flat out taking it is a nice gesture as well. Just tell them to return it to their hotel room or car, as things tend to get lost or thrown out when it ends up in the hands of the volunteers.

    "Bein' brave doesn't mean you're not scared. It means you're scared as hell, and then you pick up the shotgun anyway." ~"Bill" Overbeck
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    arwen_doll16_LOTRarwen_doll16_LOTR Commander Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Keep in mind everyone that
    "all checked costume weapons that are allowed will be required to have a zip tie put on them to show they have been checked and are ok. This will be in addition to a sticker on the back of your badge with a description of the item and who checked it. "

    This quote is from AaronC who is one of the head enforcers in charge of security at the show and the one dealing with all of the costume stuff from us.

    This was also discussed within the costume forum itself and more info can be found there on the first post of what is going on and has been decided so far for costume weapons. http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/148811/prime-pax-prime-2012-costumes/p1

    arwen_doll16_LOTR on
    I should go.
    534159_4247466298641_1660805487_n.jpg
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    AaronCAaronC Enforcer - Lieutenant Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    All good points.

    The staff who will be making the decisions are the members of the small Security Management Team. They will be staffing one location, the Info Desk on the 4th Floor. They will also be going through the early line up lines outside to get those cosplayers checked before the event starts. This should minimize any wait time. There will always be two members of the team at the info desk between show opening hours and the close of Expo.

    We fully understand that cosplayers are 99 percent of the time the 'good guys'. I look at the above listed weapons and the only ones the look questionable are to the right of the nerf blaster machine gun.

    You are right though, it is a bit subjective and there isn't a good answer to that, except that the people staffing the booth and making the decisions are hard core sci-fi nerds and also pretty hard core real life shooters, so I and they know the difference between a fake sci fi weapon and a real one. We won't be asking stormtroopers to leave their blasters at home.

    As far as airsoft goes, its not allowed. If you bring an alien pulse rifle then it better be an empty shell, if you bring a TM tommy gun with a pulse rifle outer fitting then its not going to be allowed. I'm sorry, but that is the rule.

    Regarding uneven enforcement. The on site roving or stationary Enforcers who are through out the convention will not be confiscating people's cosplay items or making rulings. If they see you with something that hasn't been checked, then they will send you to the check booth. You should already have headed there, but not everyone reads the forums so its not a big deal. We are trusting that most cosplayers will comply with this. If some don't (for example they get told to go check their weapon and don't and then get seen again), then they will have to deal with the consequences.

    All in all I am expecting a good year with few snags, its the first year of the enforcement of the old policy, so I expect a few bumps, but I think it is going to go well.

    -Aaron

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    AaronCAaronC Enforcer - Lieutenant Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    DuelLadyS wrote: »
    My only other suggestion is- be very clear to everyone what happens when weapons DON'T pass. I had a friend lose 2 nerf guns at a con becuase he didn't know they needed to be deactivated. The booth folks broke policy and confiscated the guns immedately (they were supposed to let you take such items back to your car/hotel room). He had to leave early, forgot to try and get them back, and despite some quick emails, the guys in charge of the whole thing had dumped them already by the day after the con. It wasn't a pleasant affair. (I guess that means 'try and hold onto people's stuff for more than 12 hours' too. :P)

    We will not be holding on to anything that is not allowed. The attendee can either take them somewhere (hotel room/car) or possibly check them if there is a coat check. If there is no coat check I would recommend on of the hotels where you can usually check things.

    If they can't do any of that, then they have to leave.

    TL:DR - We won't be confiscating anything.

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    AaronCAaronC Enforcer - Lieutenant Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    Hey all, I'm one of those few that enjoy cosplaying to PAX (I've done it every year so far in some degree). Obviously, I'm trying to do my best not to get things taken away. I'm planning on doing a Garrett (from Thief) costume next year, and while most of his stuff is easy enough to make sure it doesn't break the rules, I wanted to confirm one other detail before deciding on it. I wanted to do his bow and some of his elemental arrows, but obviously, the rule against projectile weapons covers that as well. Is there any way to be able to bring that in without problems? I was thinking of messing up the string and putting a cheapy one that doesn't bend (as long as part of the check isn't to like TUG VIOLENTLY on it, breaking it). Would that work? I would just like the call of an enforcer on the matter. :)

    Sounds awesome. If the bow doesn't function then it would be fine. If the string can be drawn back at all, then... yeah not going to work. If you modify the string so that it can't take any pull then it would be fine.

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    AaronCAaronC Enforcer - Lieutenant Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    If people want a thread to answer specficly weapons related questions then I can do that here rather than tie up the costume thread. Either way works for me. I really appreciate the input everyone has regarding what works at other con's what they think will work best for PAX and how to make improvements, please continue with those comments. The policy itself is not up for debate and there are no plans to change it. Everyone is more than welcome to comment on it, I read every post here, but don't expect anything to change.

    -AirWolf

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    zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    AaronC wrote: »
    If people want a thread to answer specficly weapons related questions then I can do that here rather than tie up the costume thread. Either way works for me. I really appreciate the input everyone has regarding what works at other con's what they think will work best for PAX and how to make improvements, please continue with those comments. The policy itself is not up for debate and there are no plans to change it. Everyone is more than welcome to comment on it, I read every post here, but don't expect anything to change.

    -AirWolf

    I think if you're not planning any more changes to the policy until after PAX, I'm going to close this thread, and direct any suggestions/comments on the policy to the post-pax suggestions thread. General Q&A about specific costume weapons can still continue in the regular costume thread or the FAQ thread, as it has in the past.

This discussion has been closed.