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Weapons Policies

Last Updated: May 01, 2019 10:29AM PDT

Effective Date: January 24, 2019

Anime Expo® and the SPJA reserve the right to modify and/or update this policy at any time in their sole discretion and without prior notice.


Your participation in SPJA Events means that you agree to comply with this Weapons Policy. An “Event” shall mean any event held by The Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation (“SPJA” or “we”), such as Anime Expo®, or Project Anime®.

You further understand and agree that, for your own safety and the safety of everyone at an Event, SPJA has the absolute and immediate discretion and right to inspect your costumes, prop weapons, and any other item you bring to the Event. We may temporarily or permanently remove any attendee in our sole and absolute discretion at any time for violating this Weapons Policy — because your safety and the safety of every attendee is of the utmost importance.

No Real Weapons Are Allowed at an Event.

This includes firearms, knives, curio, relic, antique firearms, any form of ammunition, any item designed or manufactured with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, whether carried openly or concealed, even if any such weapons are inoperable or unusable, and irrespective of whether you are licensed to possess such weapon. Items that may otherwise be legal for you to own or carry are not welcome at any Event if they violate this Weapons Policy.


Note: The following items are not permitted at any SPJA Event.

  • All Metal Weapons
  • Firearms, Ammunition, Rifles, Shotguns, Handguns, Blowguns, Tasers, Laser Pointers, Laser-Aiming Devices or similar Laser Devices
  • Explosives, Incendiary Devices, Chemical Weapons, and Pepper Spray / Mace
  • Knives, Live Blades/Swords (including Katana and other Martial Arts Style Swords), Daggers, Sword Canes, Switchblades, Bali-Song (Butterfly Knife), Axes, Kunai, Ice Skates, and Hatchets
  • Metal Pole Arms, Wooden/Metal Bats, Paddles, Stilts, Golf Clubs, and Vuvuzelas
  • Archery and Hunting Bows, Arrows, Nunchucks, Brass Knuckles, and Whips
  • Any item designed or manufactured with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person or property, any item that is illegal in the state of California, or any item that appears, in SPJA’s sole discretion, to be dangerous or which would pose or place others at risk or harm, immediate or otherwise

Note that some venues prohibit other items e.g. glass bottles, food, alcohol, and e-cigarettes. Please check with the venue before bringing such items.


All weapons sold and/or purchased at the Event are redeemed outside in a specified Weapons Redemption area. All weapons that do not adhere to Anime Expo’s Weapons Policy are prohibited from entering the Event


Items that people normally carry such as umbrellas or walking sticks/canes are permitted within the Event and subject to inspection upon entry.

Lightweight plastic or foam bats, paddles, and clubs are permitted.

Roller skates/blades, skateboards, scooters, go-karts, hoverboards, etc. are not permitted within the Event area. Ice Skates are not allowed, even with skate guards attached.

Power Tools are not permitted e.g. chainsaws, drills. Or hedge trimmers.


Prop weapons are inoperable weapons that support the overall look of your costume or character. For example, plastic airsoft guns, Nerf guns, water guns, dart guns, disc guns, pellet guns, and cap guns are prop weapons.


Prop weapons must be submitted to “Weapons Check” for Peace Bonding. SPJA has the sole discretion to approve prop weapons. Please visit us at one of our Weapons Check booths during the Event. Locations are to be determined and announced on our website at Other Event Weapons Check booth locations shall be designated in the programs and on signs.

We may revoke your Peace Bond at any time in our sole discretion. Behavior which will warrant revocation of your Peace Bond includes:

  • Brandishing an item in an inappropriate fashion, such as play-fighting or swinging the prop around
  • Causing complaints from other attendees of the Event
  • Tampering or altering of the Peace Bond


If a prop weapon is, or was, at any time capable of firing anything, it must be rendered permanently inoperable in order to qualify for Peace Bonding. You can do this by, for example, permanently plugging the barrel with glue, caulk, or any non-removable substance and hot gluing all moving components of the prop in place. You must be able to prove that the prop weapon is permanently inoperable upon inspection.

In addition, to qualify for Peace Bonding, your prop weapon must meet the following criteria:

  • All props/prop weapons cannot contain any metal or metal components.
  • Your prop weapon cannot be more than 7 feet (2.13 meters) in any direction or weigh more than 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms).
  • Prop explosives or ammunition cannot be made out of metal.
  • All swords and bladed prop weapons must adhere to the following rules:
    • They cannot be made out of metal
    • If your non-metal blade has a sharp edge or pointed tip, it must be anchored to a hard sheath for the duration of the Event
    • If you do not have a hard sheath, your non-metal blade must have a blunt edge and blunt tip
  • All prop bows must be unstrung or have a low-tensile thread with no draw weight and be incapable of shooting.
  • All prop arrows must have blunt non-metal tips.
  • Metal chains are not permitted unless it is for cosplay and affixed to a piece of clothing and/or armor.
  • Any prop chain must be under 7 feet (2.13 meters) to avoid safety and fire hazards.

If your prop weapon is a toy, look-alike, or imitation firearm, then federal regulations (15 CFR § 272.3) require that it either be translucent enough to, permit unmistakable observation of the device’s complete contents or must have at least one of the following:

  • An Orange Solid Plug in Barrel: Have a blaze orange (Fed-Std-595B 12199) or orange color brighter than that specified by the federal standard color number solid plug permanently affixed to the muzzle end of the barrel as an integral part of the entire device and recessed no more than 6 millimeters from the muzzle end of the barrel; or
  • An Orange Barrel Marking: A blaze orange (Fed-Std-595B 12199) or orange color brighter than that specified by the Federal Standard color number, marking permanently affixed to the exterior surface of the barrel, covering the circumference of the barrel from the muzzle end for a depth of at least 6 millimeters; or
  • Entire Surface Coloration: Coloration of the entire exterior surface of the device in white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple, either singly or as the predominant color in combination with other colors in any pattern.
  • Please take care when outside or when transporting any form of firearm prop.

Regardless of how realistic the prop may look, ensure that it is completely hidden while traveling and be aware of your surroundings, attire, and the appearance of your props to bystanders when outside of the Event. Do not assume a costume will reassure people that your prop is not a real weapon.

Peace-Bonded Weapons at the Event.

You may display your prop weapons only as costume pieces. Do not swing or brandish your prop weapon in any way that could be considered unsafe or threatening.

You may pose with a prop weapon in a brandishing manner, so long as no reasonable person would interpret it as anything but a pose for dramatic effect. Event staff or management may stop your posed brandishing in their sole discretion.

Please put your prop weapons away when leaving the Event site at night so that you don’t get the attention of local law enforcement. SPJA cannot be responsible for any actions taken by local law enforcement agencies, such as detaining and questioning you, if you decide to display or brandish your prop weapons at or outside of the Event.

Martial Arts Performances & Demos

You may display working martial arts weapons during, and 30 minutes before and after, a performance that has been approved by Event management in advance.

Of course, you must use common sense to avoid harming any person or property. You must conceal or wrap the weapons when transporting them to and from the demonstration, and you must remove the weapons immediately after the demonstration. Event staff reserves the right to stop any performance or demonstration in their sole discretion.

Law Enforcement Uniformed Costumes Are Prohibited


It’s just not safe to impersonate local law enforcement, emergency personnel, or first responders. SPJA has the absolute right and sole discretion to decide whether your costume looks too much like one of these uniforms, and to request the removal or modification of that costume. Should you refuse to cooperate, we may expel you from the Event in order to protect the safety and welfare of everyone at the Event.
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