BMEWS
 
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calendar   Thursday - March 04, 2010

Thinking It Through First

This is a machine gun:

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Seriously, it is. Build this out of the proper material and insert it into the mechanism of a certain semi-automatic rifle made with the proper model of bolt, and you will have a fully automatic weapon. The parts only last 1000 rounds or so before needing to be rebent, but they do work.



This is a toy:

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lower receiver for an Echo 1 Stag 15 Airsoft electric BB gun that shoots plastic BBs, $23



This is a firearm

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lower receiver for an AR15/M16 made by Roggio Arsenal, $175



Which one is this?

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Imported from China, a lower receiver, $33. Found this at an Airsoft forum; the post had no text just the picture




One key thing about Eugene Stoner’s little wondergun is that almost all the stresses of firing are contained by the upper. That part of the gun has the barrel, the bolt, the breech, the gas tube, and the recoil system. The lower can be, and has been, made from plastic. Granted it’s a very strong plastic, like Delrin or Bakelite, but it’s plastic nonetheless. Which means it can be modified without much effort. The plastic extension at the back of back of the toy’s receiver could be filed off and a plastic plug glued into the rear ring. The two necessary holes could be easily drilled through that plug. If real trigger parts - the “fire control group” were put inside this and they didn’t quite fit, then grinding the required clearances, redrilling the connecting pin holes, inserting spacer shims, or even building up surfaces with machinable epoxy is no big deal. And out the other end could come a fully automatic weapon strong enough to be fired a few hundred times that is totally untraceable - because toy guns don’t have serial numbers. And every other part of an M16 is perfectly legal to buy and own without any kind of permit or paper trail.

I saw this story a few days ago and wanted to run with it, but I realized it would require a bit more thought before I shot my mouth off about what looked like another episode of Stupid Government In Action:

ATF seizes 30 toy guns, infuriating local business owner

CORNELIUS, Ore. - A local business owner is flabbergasted after a shipment of 30 toy guns for his store was confiscated by ATF agents in Tacoma.

Brad Martin and his son, Ben, sell the Airsoft BB guns from their store in Cornelius where they’ve been in business for seven years.

The Martins said they buy their stock from Taiwan because the merchandise is less expensive. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized a shipment of 30 in October. That shipment is worth around $12,000 and the ATF is promising to destroy the entire shipment.

Special Agent Kelvin Crenshaw said the toys can be easily retro-fitted into dangerous weapons.

“With minimal work it could be converted to a machine gun,” Crenshaw said.

Brad Martin is furious about the loss of money, for sure, but also in what he now thinks as a loss of his time and the use of government agents to seize toy guns.

“All this manpower, all this time, all this taxpayer money, [it is] wasting my time and my profitability,” Martin said. “[Just] to seize 30 toy guns!”

Ben Martin disagrees that the toy guns could ever be considered dangerous.

“To say these are readily convertible to machine guns is absolutely preposterous,” he said. “The round wouldn’t go into the firing chamber and even if the firing pin did strike the primer the gun would basically blow up in your face.”

ATF said it also seized the toys because they are missing the blaze orange tips required on all imported toy guns.

Shock News. Jack Booted Thugs at ATF, again, as usual. Waco, Ruby Ridge!!

No. There is misdirection in this story from both sides.

The orange tips thing is just plain wrong, since these Airsoft products aren’t exactly toy guns. They are a form of BB gun, and BB guns don’t get the orange tip specifically because they AREN’T TOYS. They actually shoot some sort of projectile at some sort of significant velocity. Sure, it’s a little plastic ball, but the thing pushes them hard enough so that they can fly nearly 100 yards.

The “absolutely preposterous” reaction of the importer is quite foolish. He is confusing “readily convertible” with “an actual firearm”. No, the Airsoft is not a real AR15 or an M16. But if you can fit a REAL upper onto the thing, and fit a REAL fire control group to the thing, and fit a REAL gas tube and recoil assembly to the thing, and do it all with a Dremel tool and a pot of glue and an hour or two, then the “readily convertible” argument is valid.

Kind of makes me wonder if you couldn’t just carve an M16 lower out of oak and attach all the parts. But that’s more skill and effort than your usual criminal can come up with. No, what we need here is a bit of proof. Show us how it’s done, Mr. ATF guy. Or somebody.

Machine Guns Seized At Tacoma Port

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms found that the rifles were tooled to shoot plastic balls, but replacement of internal components with original machine gun components would render the rifles capable of firing live ammunition.

“These rifles could have had far-reaching and potentially devastating ramifications if they had gotten into the hands of individuals who wanted to do harm in the American population,” said Customs and Border Protection Area Port Director, Rolando Suliveras, Jr. “This was a good interception by our officers.”

The guns will be destroyed.

I have written to Airsoft and asked them for a statement on this situation. Whether they respond, and how their lawyers allow them to respond, remains to be seen. I asked nicely, so you never know. In the meantime, instead of just flying off the handle like so many other blogs, I searched through a large number of hits on Google and finally found somebody with a bit of common sense, who got a statement from the distributor, who had approached a gunsmith with parts in hand and said Have At It:

Now we at Airsoft Outlet Northwest, being the rational individuals we are, went out and had a gunsmith check the true compatibility of these replicas and found the following information:

Nice work, Every Day No Days Off! Thanks.
He provides a couple of links and even has the news video embedded. Great work Mike! And he concludes ...

Basically, if the ATF claims these airsoft guns can be easily converted into real guns, they should just demonstrate the conversion, and put a couple of magazines through it.  There needs to be some accountability and burden of proof placed on these government organizations.

I concur. And I’m sure you noticed the bit of CYA in the above statement from the distributor. Again, we need to have a clear understanding of what “major modification” really entails. These “toys” may be a bit too close to the real thing, so let’s see it. On the other hand, if the guy from the ATF has a leg to stand on, then why the hell hasn’t the government immediately banned the sale of these things? You think that the 30 seized ones are the only ones in the country? Hella no, there are tens of thousands of them.

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BB guns or a source of illegal components?

One last bit of opinion from the importer, who seems convinced that the border inspectors are untutored automatons with an agenda:

When I called this CBP Agent in Seattle to inquire what the problem was he more or less gave me the cold shoulder and wouldn’t (or couldn’t) give me any reason as to why he was holding our product. I had stated that it was my right to know what laws Airsoft Outlet Northwest had broken and he more or less told me:

“What rights?”

After this conversation my faith in Customs and Border Protection completely fell apart. I realized that we (Airsoft Outlet NW) were dealing with bigoted individuals whose personal agendas were more important than holding the Airsoft industry to any sort of standard.

I now assume that this agent in Seattle, like many oblivious officials do, based his judgments purely on hearsay and without any circumstantial evidence seized our product for his own self gratification and/or self promotion. He has yet to provide any sort of proof that he, or anyone else, has been able to convert any of the WE gas pistols, KJW M700’s, or WE TTI SCAR’s to shoot live ammo. I would even go as far as to call him a liar if he said he did test them because of the fact that the civilian or military version of the SCAR is still extremely limited in number, and I doubt this CBP Agent would be able to get one to potentially destroy. The simple fact of the matter is that these three Airsoft replicas are nowhere close to having the ability to shoot live ammunition. The inspecting agent is basing his judgments on speculation and not fact, he cannot provide any evidence to support his argument, and refuses to open any lines of communication about our product being illegal. 

And one last bit of counter-opinion: if you are importing a product that feels like a gun, looks like a gun, and is a type of gun, then it is in your best interest in this day and age to pro-actively make the effort with the government to get their sign-off that your product is OK. No, you really shouldn’t have to, but there’s a war on, so what did you expect?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/04/2010 at 12:06 PM   
Filed Under: • GovernmentGuns and Gun ControlJack Booted Thugs •  
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