• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

ATF Seizes 30 Dangerous BB Guns

Ladies and Gentlemen, the ATF has made a gigantic leap forward in the field of making sure adorable blonde moppets can’t shoot their eye out.

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.

I feel safer already, don’t you? After all, who knows who might have been hurt by these things if some enterprising young felon had gotten their hands on one of these!

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.

I’m not the world’s biggest gun expert, but I’m fairly certain that you can’t convert a BB gun into a machine gun. Maybe, with some effort, you could convert one to fire small caliber rounds (I doubt more than a .22), but it would almost certainly be a single shot weapon. But a machine gun? There’s no way that the internal structure of a BB gun would be strong enough to handle that rate of fire.

But even if this absurd premise is true, I can’t think of a legal justification for this seizure off the top of my head. It’s possible, after all, to convert certain semi-automatic rifles to be fully automatic if you know what you’re doing, but you can buy and sell them legally. On the face of it, this looks like a nonsense seizure and if that’s true I hope that the Martins get their property back.

h/t Radley Balko

Related Posts:

About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Airsoft “BB” guns don’t even shoot metal BB’s, they shoot plastic BB’s … someone messed up and now they are trying to cover their mistake up …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Steve Plunk says:

    I have to ask why these BB guns cost $400 wholesale? Something is fishy. The high cost suggests more research is needed before passing judgment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Steve,

    I have to ask why these BB guns cost $400 wholesale?

    The owner said they were “worth” $12,000. That doesn’t mean it’s what he paid for it–he probably thinks of them in terms of what he can get for them. And there are definitely high-end Airsoft BB Guns that retail for $400 and above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. legion says:

    Also, last time I checked, BB/pellet guns were more like .177 caliber. That means to convert it to a “machine gun”, you’d have to replace the action _and_ the entire barrel… in other words – you’d have to BUY A MACHINE GUN. I want to see a name associated with than quote, so I can find out just who in the ATF has absolutely NO idea how a gun works…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    I am so sick of hearing from lock-step members of the powerful BB lobby. The constitution calls for “well-regulated” BB guns, but of course you guys conveniently forget that part, don’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    I am so sick of hearing from lock-step members of the powerful BB lobby. The constitution calls for “well-regulated” BB guns, but of course you guys conveniently forget that part, don’t you?

    Appropos to previous discussions, this is an example of well-written humor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. mike says:

    I have a feeling that if you have the know-how to change a bb gun into a machine gun, then you could probably just make a machine gun from scratch. go ATF

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. JKB says:

    It’s easy to convert. First you buy a machine gun, then you hammer, drill and shim until you are able to get the machine gun’s parts into the Airsoft body. After that it is just a matter of seeing how many times you can fire it before it blows up in your face.

    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:

    The WE TTI M4’s lack any sort of functional gas tube which is integral to an AR15’s operation
    The upper receiver of an AR15 fits onto the lower of the WE TTI M4
    The stock trigger pack in the WE TTI cannot strike the firing pin of a AR15 bolt
    The body of the WE TTI lower is several mils thinner than an AR15 lower, and shims would be needed for any AR trigger pack to work
    The trigger pack of an AR15 appears to be able to fit onto the lower receiver of a WE TTI M4, one of the AR15 trigger pack retaining pins is impossible to insert without major modification, and the hammer isn’t operable with the WE TTI lower.

    Source

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    I think that the dollar analysis is important. Even going with the “worth” analysis, $400 each is the price of pretty good firearm. The “feet per second” information is also missing. Some Airsoft guns that I’ve seen advertise shoot several hundred feet per second.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. roger says:

    Don’t let the BATF watch or read “The Day of The Jackel.” They’ll be confiscating steel crutches because they can be converted into sniper rifles.

    Just to be safe, I’m putting my stock of Nerf weapons in hiding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    This overreaching BATF agent needs to prove his allegation. That or lose his job. Air soft toys are not firearms and certainly do not fall under anything the BATF has any authority over. This agent should lose his job and pension.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. steve says:

    They are fun air guns. We have had a couple cheaper models, but they look nice. They already make some that go full auto. $12,000 sounds high to me. Must include the heroin hidden inside.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. sam says:

    The constitution calls for “well-regulated” BB guns

    I believe the exact wording of the 2d regarding these weapons is, “A well-regulated minutiae”, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. pylon says:

    Airsoft guns are not, as someone mentioned, even really bb guns. They shoot little plastic pellets – they are MADE to shoot at another person because they don’t hurt (much) sorta like paintball. They shoot at slower speeds than a regular bb gun, which shoots usually between 400-500 fps. They are made of cheap plastic and would fall apart if a buller was somehow fires from it.

    BTW, whoever said bb guns are .177 is mostly right (though I have an exception to the rule – a .22 pellet gun).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Steve Verdon says:

    Appropos to previous discussions, this is an example of well-written humor.

    Not really.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. tom p says:
    Appropos to previous discussions, this is an example of well-written humor.

    Not really.

    Must disagree, made me chuckle. Which is all too lacking from this blog here of late.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Brian Knapp says:
    Appropos to previous discussions, this is an example of well-written humor.

    Not really.

    Must disagree, made me chuckle. Which is all too lacking from this blog here of late.

    I just wanted to see what this monstrosity of blockquotes would look like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. tom p says:
    Appropos to previous discussions, this is an example of well-written humor.

    Not really.

    Must disagree, made me chuckle. Which is all too lacking from this blog here of late.

    I just wanted to see what this monstrosity of blockquotes would look like.

    I’ll see your monstrosity and raise you one Stephen King!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Richard Gardner says:

    Hmm, I’m local to where these awful not-guns were found – and it turns out the local BATF spokesman has a history of overly scary reports. However, I’d rather they err on the side of caution, ditto the ag inspectors on imported foods – reject it initially if there is any question. Next is the bureaucratic question of whether the tip was painted red, oops, no. That sort of implies that if a real AK-47 had its tip painted red they’d let it through in a bureaucratic world. And customs inspectors are EXPERTS in everything, cough.

    The metal pellet guns had the same size, weight and appearance of an M-4 automatic rifle, the weapon used by the U.S. military. The rifles did not have serial numbers on them, as real guns would, but they also did not have the orange-blaze tip required for all imported toy guns.

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/02/24/1084594/customs-intercepts-shipment-of.html

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/02/24/1085196/potentially-deadly-guns-seized.html

    It looks like an M-4, has the same weight as an M-4…. and customs/BATF says WTF, over? Um, I have NO idea what the weight of an M-4 is – would you? And I’m not ignorant on military guns.

    These are are same folks checking that Chinese antiques have the proper wax seal allowing export.

    Our bureaucratic lords do not have perfect knowledge – cough, health care.

    There is no right to bring stuff into the USA, but the Federal Government can tax it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. just me says:

    I might be able to see taking a second look at the guns, since they are designed to visually look like the real thing, but I don’t understand seizing the shipment (it shouldn’t take long to realize they aren’t real guns and don’t shoot real bullets) and I really don’t understand the intent to destroy the shipment other than to save face because they were too dumb to realize they weren’t real guns when the seized them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Brian Knapp says:

    I’ll see your monstrosity and raise you one Stephen King!

    I retreat in fear and awe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. […] ATF Seizes 30 Dangerous BB Guns (outsidethebeltway.com) […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0