Symposium Weapons Policy Update

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Starting in April 2015, the International Steampunk Symposium will not permit the use or display of realistic looking prop guns within the convention.

This decision is designed to increase the overall safety of the roughly thousand people who be in attendance the weekend of April 24th to 26th, 2015. In light of recent and local events to Ohio that involved the fatal police shootings of persons carrying realistic looking BB guns, we feel it safer not to take such risks for Symposium attendees.


Realistic replicas are no longer permitted at the Symposium.

We realize that convention goers are not the problem here, and this is not intended as any kind of “punishment” toward enthusiasts of real and/or prop firearms. The potential danger is if a person not part of the convention mistakes a realistic looking prop for a real weapon and calls the police to report it as so. If police respond to a 911 call about an armed person in a public space, they are trained to treat this seriously and will arrive at the scene prepared for the worst case scenario; in the heat of the moment it can be extremely difficult to correctly assess the situation.

This of course is our worst case scenario, and many will reject it as being over cautious or paranoid, but if the possibility exists that a Symposium attendee could be injured then we must plan for the safety of all who attend. We want to provide a safe environment for all to have an enjoyable weekend.

So what do we mean by “realistic” weapons? The focus is on realistic replicas of pistols and rifles, and an orange tip is not enough if the other 99% of the gun looks real. Weapons such as swords may be realistic, and essentially real in that they could hurt someone, therefore all swords must remain sheathed and peace-tied at all times; anyone brandishing a sword or knife at the convention will face potential expulsion from the Symposium in the interests of others’ safety.


“Fantastical” weapons are permitted at the Symposium.

Steampunk is a non-historically accurate genre, so there is still plenty of opportunity to wear and display fantastical weaponry that is often exaggerated enough to not be mistaken for an actual weapon. Many steampunks paint and modify foam dart guns, or construct pistols and rifles out of various wood, brass, and other materials . . . we have no intention of stifling your creativity and imagination.

If you have a weapon as part of your outfit, please visit the Safety & Security desk located next to Registration (near Sorrento at the North Entrance) to have it verified and peace-bonded. Any weapon prop that is deemed to be too realistic looking must be returned to your room or vehicle for safe keeping. Our staff and volunteers, easily identifiable by their orange lanyards, will be happy to guide you to the Safety & Security desk for verification if you are not sure where to go for the prop check.

We are looking forward to seeing you all in April for one of the best Steampunk experiences in North America, and we thank you for your cooperation in keeping the International Steampunk Symposium and safe and enjoyable convention for all attendees.

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