Hello! I was hoping to see if anyone knows anything about the weapons policy for the con concerning bows and crossbows. If the bow is non-functional, would I be allowed to carry it? Same with the crossbow, if it is non-functional, would that be allowed? In both cases, I would also not be carrying any arrows or crossbow bolts, just an empty quiver. Trying to figure out cosplay things so I don't plan something and then have it turn out I can't carry it! If anyone can chime in, it would be super helpful!
This is what it says in the Policies & Show Information under "Weapons & Costumes":
Weapons and items that appear to be weapons are not allowed at Gen Con. Self defense, recreational and utility items such as knifes, tazers, pepper spray, BB guns, cap guns, air-soft weapons, paintball guns, water guns, martial arts weaponry, including wooden practice weapons, etc, are not welcome, even if it is lawful to own and carry them in other public places. Off duty security, law-enforcement and military personnel are not allowed to bring their weapons to Gen Con. Items resembling futuristic weapons, fantasy weapons and non-projectile boffer weapons may be allowed provided they are not handled in a careless, threatening or destructive manner against persons or property.Questionable items can be brought to the Information Desk in the convention center during operating hours to be checked for compliance with this policy. Some events may provide exceptions to this policy under strict circumstances defined by that event. Items purchased in the Exhibit Hall that violate this policy must be wrapped and immediately removed from the convention premises.
I saw a couple "Cosplay" bows last year that had no string to them and therefore were visibly non functional even from a little distance. Crossbows I'm not so sure about.
My personal guess would be no string + fantasy/sci-fi styling = fine. If it quite clearly isn't a weapon, you should be OK I'd imagine. But take it to the information booth if it's questionable.
Don't try to imitate a real life weapon, even without a string.
2 years ago I saw a cosplayer with a bow that had a string. It was a really springy cord that had no strenth in it when drawn. Her arrows were tipped with rubber, or eraser material (painted and shaped, but still useless, bent when pressed so no molded plastic). So the bow looked functional but it wasn't.
I wish I could think of what kind of cord it is, bungee would be to strong and yarn wouldn't look right. Maybe it was elastic cording like you find in swim suits, but really thin, and strung very loose.
She had to prove to security that the weapon was inert, but was able to then go on her way.
May want to err on the side of caution with this. After the Phoenix incident, I expect that this year there will be an increased focus on keeping out any weapons that are remotely realistic looking.
I've also seen some Manga looking bows on people in Cosplay, with and without strings, and never saw any of them being bothered.. If anything, i would say bring a pic of it to the con, and ask the staff before bringing it in..
Generally at any con I've been to the more realistic it looks the more trouble you'll have to go through in regards to proving it's not an actual weapon or can become an actual weapon when the staff aren't looking. Mostly as it's easy to make an actual hunting bow go from being useless and a show piece to an actual weapon. Thus, the wording of the policy you got quoted at early. I have a bow with my cosplay but it's very fantasy stylized that it's useless as an actual weapon but I'll still take it to the front just in case as well as to ask if they need or want to mark they okay'ed it.
Some cons make you have to get a piece of colored tape put on a prop weapon to show you got it inspected and know if you do anything to break a rule with it you're going to get kicked out of the convention. I'm not certain if Gencon does, though I'll find out this year regarding such.
Im just guessing, but a stringless bow doesn't strike me as a weapon.
What do you guys think about a Han cos-player bring a DL-44? Looks fairly real, but with the full costume, I doubt anyone would mistake you for an armed gun man.
Edit: NOT MY PROP OR COSTUME. Just pulled it off of Google images as an example. I wish I had a DL-44 and a Han Empire costume that looked that good.....
That probably is a little too realistic looking IMO. From even a short distance I'd think it looks like a regular pistol with some attachments to make it appear 'fake' - though not when you inspect it closely like in your photo. I've got a feeling it would get some unwanted attention really fast.
Your prop is:
a. Super awesome.
b. Pretty clearly in violation of the policy (there is no way to discern at a glance and without close inspection this is not a real weapon).
But - you can always take it to the information desk to check.
Yeah, I see how someone could get into trouble carrying that around. I remember seeing Storm Troopers / space marines carrying around props that didn't look much faker than that DL-44 though so maybe not.
I made a Gen Con cosplay bow for my daughter two years ago. It was a fantasy bow and we strung it with an very loose elastic string. I took great pains to make it look nothing like a actual modern recurve so there would be no doubt it was a costume prop. I made the limbs much thicker than normal, made the overall bow smaller, and added extra flair to the string notches at the end of the limbs.
I was cosplaying Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead at the 2017 Indianapolis InConJunction and the Days Of The Dead conventions on June 30th and July 1st. My homemade crossbow nonfunctional prop was inspected and allowed at both conventions. Will my crossbow be allowed at Gen Con?
Daryl Dixon crossbow:
Goodwill: belt, Nerf riffle, children's bow and arrow set, Dollar Store: feathers, sponge and toe separators, Recycled material: mayo lids, Old Spice deodorant cap and I skipped the epoxy putty to use zip ties instead to attach the children's bow to the Nerf Riffle.
Note: There is no trigger and the plastic arrows are static since the rubber arrow tips are glued inside of the Old Spice deodorant cap. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203408240963743&set=a.10203383301220265.1073741909.1743705796&type=3&theater
Random though: make a 'drawn bow'. Cut it from what ever material so it's curved like it's pulled back, use white glue or similar to stiffen the string, and fix an arrow in place. The final result should look like you're ready to fire and will look good when posing.