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Feds seize 30 ‘machine guns’ at Tacoma’s port


The guns were fashioned to shoot plastic balls but could have easily become real weapons, the feds said.

So, they’re airsoft guns? But wait:

Investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive showed that the guns had been tooled to shoot plastic balls. However, parts could be switched out quickly to allow them to fire live ammunition.

Really? So these can be converted to a real gun? I’m skeptical.

Via The Real Gun Guys.

Update: In comments:

They’re right. If you replace the lower receiver, the lower parts group, the barrel, the fire control group, and the bolt carrier group, that Airsoft rifle is now a lethal weapon.

So, it’s a gun because it has stocks and handguards? You’d still have to get full auto fire control groups, bolts, and such. By this rational, an upper receiver is a machine gun.

19 Responses to “Interesting”

  1. workinwifdakids Says:

    They’re right. If you replace the lower receiver, the lower parts group, the barrel, the fire control group, and the bolt carrier group, that Airsoft rifle is now a lethal weapon.

    And that’s exactly what the ATF will do to throw innocent people in prison.

  2. SayUncle Says:

    So, it can be converted to a gun because it has stocks, an upper, and handguards? So, basically, this makes them like upper receivers. Strange. Must be a parts number import issue.

  3. Olav Says:

    Look you can buy the exact airsoft rifle for $400.00!

    That a bunch of maroons!

  4. john Says:

    If someone pointed that thing at me I would see lethal threat. Man, it’s a scary world of legal pitfalls out there. But I agree, the cops are maroons.

  5. Fred Says:

    Careful, somebody in the ATF might see this, change their minds, and declare all AR uppers to be machine guns. I mean if a metal tube is a silencer…

  6. nk Says:

    There was a full auto wax-bullet shooter out there for a while, looked like a MAC I think, blowback operated, that had a mechanism that the ATF passed — no bolt or slide, the barrel assembly moved detonating the cartridge against a fixed firing pin in the rear of the receiver. I think, also, that one reason it was passed was that the material was some cheap zinc too weak to withstand real ammo pressures.

  7. nk Says:

    And I believe that before 1986 we had Valmets with just a pin to block the full auto position on the selector.

  8. MattCFII Says:

    These are Gas Blow Back rifles instead of electrically driven so the lower receiver is much more similar to the real thing. A normal airsoft has a gearbox with gears, a motor, a piston, and a switch for a trigger. These have a hammer, a trigger, and a selector (although I don’t own one so I could compare to a real AR). The upper could debatably be worked to hold a barrel that might be able to withstand a .22LR. the bolt isn’t going to be able to really do anything.

    I know there are a few of these floating around already in airsofters hands so it will be interesting if the try to round up the ones that made it in the country a couple of years ago. But importation of these has been shut off for at least a year.

  9. Rick Randall Says:

    I believe the RECEIVER is capable of taking a full auto fire control group. If true, since the lower receiver IS the gun in an AR, that would make the lower receivers “machineguns” under the law.

  10. SayUncle Says:

    The lower?

  11. Ian Argent Says:

    Um, wouldn’t that require it to also be able to take the pressure of an actualy gunpowder/primer round? AFAIK an airgun (which is what these are) is not a firearm under federal law.

  12. Sebastian Says:

    Rick is correct. If that lower can take an M16 fire control group unaltered, it’s an unregistered machine gun. The lower is the gun.

  13. SayUncle Says:

    video of lower. Does not look to me like it can.

  14. Patrick Sperry Says:

    And the reason that you have to pass some Gawd Awful background test, and pay money for exercising a right is..?

    I suppose the same reason that we are taxed in order to support an agency that is there for the sole purpose of destroying the natural and fundamental rights of Americans…

    C3 law isn’t about criminals it is about control. And yes, it is brought to you by the same folks that brought us all Waco, and Ruby Ridge.

    Think about it.

  15. straightarrow Says:

    Well Hell, if I replace all the parts on my Sorento, I can turn it into an F-14.

  16. Teh ATF Says:


  17. Gary Says:

    The Kansas City airsoft club was just informed they were under a terror watch and the feds asked them how big their milita was and how many were combat ready. LOL such idiots!
    Fed bureaucrats are beyond stupid.

  18. Rick Randall Says:

    Ian Argent —

    The LOWER doesn’t actually take any of the pressure of firing the round. The barrel extension does. All the lower does is hold the FCG and buffer assembly.

    Which is why Cav Arms was making AR15’s out of plastic.

    Legally, it doesn’t matter if the bloody thing spontaneuosly self-disassembles after fring two shots automatically — by firing those two shots, it’s a “machinegun”.

    Stupid standard, but that IS the standard ATF has won in court on.

  19. Ian Argent Says:

    Whoah – wait a sec. This device is an airgun; not a firearm. (a toy airgun, at that, not a BB gun. Though I suppose it’s not a lot of fun to get hit by .25 g (3.85 grain) of plastic moving at 500 fps, even a .22 short has twice the muzzle velocity and 10 times the mass. Anything less than .25 g is marginal for punching #20 paper). If I whittle out a wooden rubber band gun that happens to have a space that I can drop a M-16 FGC into; that’s an unregistered MG? With respect, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    I was reasonably sure “firearm” was pretty tightly defined in the federal law, and that it did NOT cover airguns.

    I guess they’re claiming “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;” (Title 18, U.S. Code, Sections921 (a)(3)(A) – AKA GCA ’68)

    I had been thinking this was similar to some of the cheap airsoft replicas I’d seen; but that video does indicate that it breaks down into an upper and lower assembly.

    It’s still nuts; and illustrates the futility of attempting to carve out safe havens for politically “correct” firearms in laws designed to ban/restrict “incorrect” firearms.

    Now I’m wondering if this is the first small step on the road to making any AR-15-type lower “readily convertible”. I’m probably showing my ignorance of AR-15s here with that statement. However, didn’t the BATFE determine a single-shot open-bolt rifle to be “easily convertible”?

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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