"'Toy' rifles seized by federal agents"

From going after gun shows in Texas to false statements about the source of illegal guns in Mexico to things like this, the Obama administration is doing what it can at the margin to harass gun owners. This claim that the guns could be refitted to turn into a machine gun is bizarre.

Earlier this month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Tacoma seized a shipment of 30 toy M-4 automatic rifles that had arrived on Oct. 20 in a 40-foot ocean container.

The shipment's manifest listed the contents as "Toys and Parts" and was shipped from a manufacturer in Taiwan, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release. The rifles were the same size, weight and look of an M-4 automatic rifle, which is used by the U.S. military. The rifles had no serial numbers and did not have an orange-blaze tip which is required for all imported of toy guns.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tested the files and determined they were tooled to shoot plastic balls. However, ATF also found that the internal components could easily be refitted with original machine gun components, making the rifles capable of firing live ammunition. ATF lab results indicated the rifle to be a WE-Tech, Model AWSS M4CQBR, Airsoft M-4 copy.

ATF also confirmed the shipment did not arrive with the proper permits to enter the U.S.

The machine guns were turned over to the ATF to be destroyed.

"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", Customs and Border Protection Area Port Director Rolando Suliveras Jr. said in a news release.

Thanks to Ken Mott and Alec Dawson for this link.

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Blogger Unknown said...

"ATF also found that the internal components could easily be refitted with original machine gun components, making the rifles capable of firing live ammunition."

So, if my buddy's prosthetic arm were fitted with a a receiver, barrel and original machine gun parts, it too could fire live ammunition in full auto mode. I guess under ATF's "logic", that makes my friend a machine gun.

2/25/2010 6:06 PM  
Blogger John A said...

"ged" - yep.

Even replacing everything but the stock and barrel, I'd like to hear from any ATF bureaucrat (field agents might know better) who would be willing to put more than a single live round through the resultant mutant. The barrel would shred into a mass of shrapnel.

Legally, the importer - or perhaps the supplier - is at fault for not putting the orange "this is not a real firearm" tip on these before they entered US waters. Period.

2/26/2010 2:04 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear John A:

Thanks for the comment. I am dubious about the claim that these guns can be "easily refitted," but I still need to check. The orange tips only need to be on when the toy gun is sold. These toy guns weren't being sold yet.

2/26/2010 2:16 PM  
Blogger Sevesteen said...

One of the problems is the definition on which part is the core firearm. On AR15/M16 type rifles, there is both an upper receiver and a lower receiver. The lower is considered "the gun". If an AR upper receiver will actually fit and work on the toy lower with minimal modification, then I would agree that defining the lower as a firearm is reasonable. Somehow I doubt that is the case.

The other step here is the definition of "readily convertible". The ATF claims that the fire control parts of a machine gun can be installed. The importer says you can jam them into the available space, but you can't actually make them work.

2/28/2010 10:53 AM  
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