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Town and PD sanctioning nerf wars, etc.

wars police towns nerf saftey liability help

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#1 J51Mustang



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Posted 26 June 2016 - 09:46 PM

So, my dad had second thoughts about me attending an upcoming nerf war (the one in Connecticut on July 2nd in Norwalk (it would be my first time going to one)). He questioned me about the safety and this nerfing community, then he went on about the police getting involved, property owners and liability issues if someone got injured, and the towns sanctioning nerfing. He was worried that someone, especially in this day and age, would report people shooting each other, resulting in people being arrested, possibly SWAT teams, etc. I mean, I see why he is worried, but I would think nerfing is a pretty safe hobby, safer than airsoft and paintball, and towns and police departments wouldn't care that much. So I am asking any people here, like Duxburian and Langley, who organize nerf wars and started this nerfing community, if the property owners of the area of the wars that take place know of these events, and if towns and police departments have sanctioned nerfing? What takes place when organizing a war and do towns, PD, and property owners even care? Should they care? I'm sorry for this guys, but I don't think any of us want the town or police to be involved. Have the police ever been involved with nerf-related activites? Any helpful answers will be appreciated.

Edited by J51Mustang, 27 June 2016 - 08:26 PM.

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#2 Guest_TheSilverhead_*

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 10:03 PM

Yes indeed they have been involved. Before my involvement, our campus HvZ had 3-4 police responses. People not involved in the game saw participants (and at times poorly marked blasters) and called the PD. Armed officers responded. Thankfully, no one was injured or arrested, but the department and campus security did not appreciate the false alarms.


It is the responsibility of the war organizer to talk to the property owner, related security departments, and local law enforcement. Open communication is key. We established guidelines for war timing, location, blaster marking and identification, and marking of active participants. Additionally, we used many channels of communication (Signs posted, all campus e-mails, facebook, school events page, and informing security and police officers on duty) of all of our events. We also modified war areas to reduce visibility to populations that might not know about the events (IE avoiding a stadium and highway front)


Since then, we have had zero calls to police and security. Long story short, every person involved in planning and participating has a primary responsibility for the safety of all involved. Keep your blasters bright, your clothes easy to spot, and keep everyone in the loop.


[Edited for spelling]

Edited by TheSilverhead, 26 June 2016 - 10:03 PM.

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#3 Snoop Doggy doge

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 10:15 PM

Gonna be flat out honest, Yes a town or police may get involved but it hasn't happened in a while in my experience. Your fathers concerns are valid but are very unlikely to occur. 

For police
Usually, they go on their way, just check out the war. That has happened a lot, and the outcome usually is dictated by how you approach and deal with the situation. In the NorthEast, we're very polite, we talk to the officer and usually they end up leaving, sometimes they're cool about it and in my experience, an officer really liked the blasters and thought they were cool. 

However, you may run into instances that the police are there to remove you. That has been the worst case scenario, they ask you to leave. Nobody has had guns drawn on them, (by the police) nobody in this hobby has gotten shot and nobody has had anything worst than being asked to move.

This is due to the approach, and what is going on. If a bunch of casually dressed guys with nerf blasters are running around, it looks better than people running around with camoflauge/military esque BDU's, excessive tac gear and real rifle replicas. There's a reason you're not supposed to dress tactically, and it's to prevent scaring people

For rest of a town
You're a lot more likely to run into civillians. Now reguarding property, you play on state property, don't ever play on someone elses because that's trespassing. Usually, most people don't care, you may get the angry parent or anti gun activist complain about how you're promoting violence but they go away if you refuse to interact. If you get someone who maintains the property, they may ask you to leave or what you're doing and you would have to go either way. 

In conclusion
I find it funny your dad said in this day and age. Police getting involved are statistically low, we've been doing this for a while and our guidelines minimize the chance and interactions with police ten fold. Next, we play in areas harder to see from the public, because we're "out of sight and out of mind" so walled in parks or far away from public view or a highway is ideal. Property, state property is open to everyone and nerfing isn't illegal. Medical liability issues. Be smart and you won't get hurt, haven't seen anything outside some cuts at wars, there is the very real potential of blinding yourself if you don't wear eyepro but chances are slim. You can always fall, but use common sense, don't jump off of shit, you're responsible for yourself. Attending a war does not make the host liable because you chose to play, you need to look out for yourself. (I always carry a first aid kit just in case too, but for scrapes) A lot of these issues have been pre thought out in advanced. 

TL;DR we keep our public interaction slim by being secluded and having safety measures like brighter blasters and clothes, police either check up, and may ask you to leave or may go. Civilians may see what's going on, they may ask you to go. We go if we are asked, we play on legal property, nerfing is not illegal so it is ok, and you are responsible for your own health safety, so don't be stupid.

Edited by Snoop Doggy doge, 26 June 2016 - 10:16 PM.

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#4 DX-Robert


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Posted 26 June 2016 - 11:42 PM

In this specific case, the venue has been very carefully picked, using past experience to minimize interactions with police, local property owners, and various passer-bys.  It is a field behind a public school, surrounded by bushes/trees and on a terrace below the level of the school itself and its main sports fields.  Therefore, it is completely out of view of anyone on the rest of the school grounds, and almost completely out of sight from nearby houses.  The field is not visible from the street.  It is not marked for baseball, football, or soccer.  It is extremely unlikely that anyone else will even pass by during the course of the day.

In the very unlikely event that a sports team or local group has reserved the field, we can move to a portion of the upper fields that are also unmarked for sports.  In the unlikely event of a kick out, we have a backup venue about 5 minutes away.  Police in our region have historically been a non-factor in our public parks and on public school grounds outside of school session.  

Additionally, Sam, Van, and I will be making and setting up "mobstacles", cover made out of tarp and PVC.  The big, blue tarps on grassy fields tend to make Nerf look more like a sports game when viewed from far away.  People can't really tell what it is, but it looks like some sport or another, so they think nothing of it.

The activity itself is very safe, other than the risk of hits to the eye, which is why eye protection is mandatory.  That said, no one is to be held liable for any injury or harm that does occur.  You agree to assume all risk when you attend these events.  If you do not agree to that, do not come.  The ability to continue playing on public property is contingent upon players taking responsibility for themselves.


Edited by Duxburian, 27 June 2016 - 12:17 AM.

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#5 Langley


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Posted 27 June 2016 - 09:10 AM

There aren't any property owners to be concerned about, these wars are all at public parks. We don't trespass on anyone's property. 


We do not ask for permission from the township or police department, because generally they can't officially give it to us.  Because of that, sometimes the police show up, or the park ranger.  The worst case scenario is that we are asked to leave the park and have to end the war early.  It has happened before.  But usually if the police roll up they don't even get out of their car, they just watch for a minute and then leave, or check in and make sure we're not playing paintball. 


We avoid doing anything that looks suspicious, we don't allow dart blasters that look anything remotely like real firearms, we wear brightly colored clothing, and we play right out in the open where it is clear that we are playing a game.  If a police officer does show up, we all stop playing and put our blasters down and the event host goes over and politely talks to the officer.  I've never had an issue with things escalating with the police at a war.

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#6 Carbon



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Posted 27 June 2016 - 10:03 AM

Additionally, Sam, Van, and I will be making and setting up "mobstacles", cover made out of tarp and PVC.  The big, blue tarps on grassy fields tend to make Nerf look more like a sports game when viewed from far away.  People can't really tell what it is, but it looks like some sport or another, so they think nothing of it.


This is an excellent point. Also, the props that go along with gametypes help reinforce the "game" message. Kiddie pools for DTC, baskets of balls for Carpe, and large, brightly colored flags for CTF are all somewhat silly, and help keep things harmless looking.

Edited by Carbon, 27 June 2016 - 10:03 AM.

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#7 The lord of fish

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 03:28 PM

If you are on private property that isn't yours and you don't have explicit permission to be on it, don't expect anything good to happen.

If there's a park office, ask if having a nerf war is ok. It really helps if you show to officials that its pretty harmless, family friendly game. If they say no, then find another place. If you aren't able to find some sort of park official, look up their regulations. 


Leave your realistic looking blasters at home, they might look cool, but its really not worth the potential for being mistaken as a real firearm.  If a police officer comes, put your blaster on the ground, and keep your hands away from your pockets. They don't know you're having a harmless game with toys, and probably received a call saying there are people running around with guns. Just be courteous and respectful, and explain the game.   If they tell you to leave, ask them where a more appropriate place would be. 

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Do you think she'll sleep with a panic switch?

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