The following is to be considered general guidance for the attendees of Westercon 66 regarding the display of costume-related weapons in all public areas. It is impossible to address all possible situations here; use the specifics listed here as a guide, and remember that the purpose of this policy is to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable convention. Just because we don’t specifically mention some dumb, unsafe behavior doesn’t mean it’s ok to do it.
The Convention Operations Department (ConOps) has primary responsibility for seeing that policy is adhered to. The Head of ConOps, or her designated representative, will serve as Weapons Mistress. ConOps and the Convention Committee reserve the right to make unilateral decisions as necessary to address situations that are not listed here. Situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis, with the Head of ConOps and Westercon 66 Con Chairs being the final authority.
Weapons, costumes, items, props or devices that the ConOps evaluates as presenting a danger to the wearer or others will not be allowed. Costumers will be asked to return unsafe items to their rooms. Please consult with the ConOps if you have any doubts about your costume items.
These policies apply to Westercon 66 in general: when you are in the halls, the various rooms used by the convention, or at open parties. Individual events will have their own policies about what is acceptable on for those participating in that specific event. The overall convention Weapons Policy does not supersede the Masquerade Weapons Policies. Please refer to the various events rules for clarification; if you are not sure, check with the coordinators of the event.
Weapons In General
If you kill it, you eat it. If your weapon kills it, you eat it.
You are responsible for your actions, and you are responsible for the actions of others if they involve your weapons.
A common sense policy will prevail. This means that bearers of realistic looking weaponry are likely to be held to somewhat higher standards than someone with an obviously outlandish ray gun that blows bubbles. The way in which your weapon or actions are used will be judged from the standpoint of the people these affect. As much as possible we will use a “reasonable fan” standard, but remember that this varies widely, and that others not part of Westercon 66 may be present.
All weapons will be costume related. Please do not wander the halls in street clothes with submachine guns, broadswords or plasma photon disrupters.
If you can, peace bond your weapon, so that it can’t be removed from the holster, quiver, sheath or whatever. ConOps will have several ways of doing this available for you.
Careless handling of any weapon will be grounds for a weapons time-out or stronger actions. You may be asked to take your weapons back to your room in the interest of everyone’s safety. An escort to your room and/or weapons confiscation will be used as appropriate in extreme cases.
Do not point your weapon at anyone. Do not draw on anyone. Do not wave your weapon about in a threatening manner.
Within designated photo areas, you may assume poses with that appear to be aiming a weapon at another, if the other person is a willing and knowing participant in the pose and you have first checked to make sure that no one else is in a position in which s/he could be threatened or hurt. Calling “clear” before you draw is always a good idea.
When transporting weapons from vehicle or dealers’ room to hotel room, etc. please place in container or wrap in, and move your items as unobtrusively as possible. While it is tempting to proudly brandish your new battleaxe, hotel security, ConOps and the local law enforcement officers will not share your enthusiasm. Dealers who sell weapons must securely wrap each item at the point of sale and provide each customer with a printed copy of these rules.
Obvious drunkenness or druggedness will be grounds for a weapons time-out or stronger actions.
If you have specific Weapons Policy questions prior to the con, please contact the Westercon 66 Convention Operations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No actual firearms are allowed.
Realistic weapons are not allowed under local law: if your weapon is a replica of a real firearm or looks like something that might be a real firearm, it must be marked with an orange ring around the barrel. (If you aren’t sure how “realistic” your weapon is, ask yourself: if I pointed this at a policeman, what would he do. ConOps will be glad to help you make this decision if necessary.)
No live or blank ammunition will be allowed, either with or without a firearm. Dummy/inert rounds and realistic castings will be allowed but will be inspected. All “toy” weapons will remain unloaded, whether they shoot marshmallows or Nerf balls, or stuffed sheep.
Lasers project coherent light. We will not make you disable your laser; you will not use the laser in public areas.
Sharp Things And Blunt Instruments
Edged weapons (swords, axes, knives, etc.) will be obviously blunt or sheathed and peace-bonded. Remember that even blunted edges can be dangerous and take especial care in handling them in a safe and non-threatening manner.
Arrows should be peace bonded into quivers.
Coil and peace-bond bullwhips. Other whips and their ilk will be evaluated on a case by case basis, with consideration given both to keeping the weapon safe from causing harm and on the conduct of the costumer.
Clubs, staffs, canes and the like will be evaluated more on the conduct of the costumer than the actual item. Carry these items, don’t flail about.
The idea is to display your weapons in a safe and non-threatening manner. Don’t be stupid and don’t be a twit.
Please comply with any instructions given to you by the ConOps or the Committee. We are not there to harass costumers but for the safety and peaceful conduct of the convention. You will be treated with respect and we ask the same in return.
By way of example:
- Don’t brandish your weapons all over the place like a psychotic movie bad guy.
- Don’t chase psychotic movie bad guys down the corridor with your weapons drawn
- Don’t bring your real fire-arms.
- Don’t let your swords fall out of their sheaths.
- Don’t point your marshmallow blaster at the Weapon Mistress to show her it’s harmless.
- Don’t draw live steel in a crowded corridor.
- Don’t nock an arrow into a strung bow and draw it randomly (in fact, don’t draw it at all).
- Don’t surprise the show directors.
- DON’T BE STUPID!
And remember, if you are chasing someone through the hotel lobby brandishing your katana/machete/airsoft gun/phaser/bat’leth/chakram, the odds are very good that the cops will show up, and they may shoot first and ask for costuming details later. If you ignored requests from convention staff to knock it off earlier, it may even have been one of us who called them.