ATF Decrees An Airsoft Rifle A Real Firearm

For a while now we have known that the ATF has had an interest in airsoft guns which they claimed could be turned into real firearms.  We discussed it extensively in the following three posts:

Well it looks like our “calling out” of the ATF to prove their case, finally got a response.  The results are what I expected, but hoped would not be the case.

The ATF response letter, dated May 19, 2010 (Click to enlarge):

I know nothing about airsoft rifles at all, but the letter is apparently regarding the JG M4 airsoft rifle (a copy of the Western Arms M4 GBB design). I am not sure if the WE TTI M4 shipment that was confiscated in Tacoma is still under investigation.

What does this letter mean for the (thousands of?) American kids who own these airsoft rifles? My guess is that if they do not destroy them immediately they will be violating federal law and their parents who are responsible for them could face long prison sentences, and/or substantial fines.

How are the majority of the owners of these airsoft rifles even going to find out that they are in violation of federal law? Who knows…

Pretty ridiculous if you ask me.  Why was this not decided as soon as the first shipment of these airsoft rifles hit our shores? Making people into criminals after the fact is not fair.

What do you guys think?

Hat Tip: ArniesAirsoft via Tim

119 COMMENTS

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jimbo June 8, 2010 at 12:02 am

“JG M4″? holy sh!t that’s the one i own

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Steven S. June 8, 2010 at 01:41 am

Ok, three things.
1. I need help figuring out a funny meaning for BATFE.
2. Did the ATF just give out instructions on how to turn a Plastic Airsoft rifle into a firearm? Doesn’t that go against their world domination plan?
3. Can we just rename them BFRI? Bureau of Firearm Regulation Idiots, since they have not done much to regulate alcohol or tobacco lately.

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Michael June 11, 2010 at 06:16 am

Big Assholes That Fuck up Everything – BATFE

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Dixie June 13, 2010 at 01:03 am

Ban Any Thing Fun or Entertaining

Bullets And Tazers For Everyone

Blasters At The Front Entrance

Big, Armored, Thuggish Federal Employees

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Dave June 8, 2010 at 01:50 am

How incredibly asinine. Hey, if I machine a car enough I can make a bomb. I guess that means that cars should be illegal.

They’re toys, for God’s sake. Without the expensive upper it makes no difference. What did they think, people were going to take a chance with an Airsoft weapon when it would be just as cheap to buy a real receiver which is a known quantity?

Incredible.

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bryce June 8, 2010 at 02:39 am

I guess the BATFE should ban small blocks of aluminum. with enough time and dermal I to could build a lower that would function ( stupid Waste of tax dollars)
Why don’t they get out there and seize real illegal firearms?
Oh I guess that would involve real work! This is supposed to show me the evil they are protecting us from, what a joke
they should be shamed.

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Jeff June 8, 2010 at 02:57 am

Well, looking at the JG M4’s receiver, there are two problems with using it as a firearm, which are the inability to remove the original buffer tube, and the strength of the body since there is no cross member, or anything solid for that matter to support the middle of the receiver. That being said, the problems aren’t bad enough to warrant it not to be a firearm. That being said, I think that the ATF has caused more problems by publicizing this and making a big deal out of it than rather slowly pulling it off the shelves without a reason. I, for one, if not for the fact that I think its stupid to make unstable firearms out of questionable material, was compelled to at least check it out to see if it was doable, that being said, some other people would probably be willing to try after hearing about this.
Eh, its a topic that will slowly fade, as long as the ATF doesn’t ban AR-15s i’m fine

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Bryan S. June 8, 2010 at 06:42 am

From a constitutional standpoint….

So?

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Phil June 8, 2010 at 06:44 am

These things are going to be worth a 8 times as much on e-bay now.

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bryce June 8, 2010 at 11:29 am

you wont be able to sell on Ebay they don’t allow the sale of firearms, you will have to use gun broker

Ha Ha

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Grudge June 8, 2010 at 08:41 am

It woudl be way cheaper and way easier to buy a perfictly legal semi-automatic rifle and with a little help from the internet change it into a full automatic. Here in Canada it is more expensive to purchase an Airsoft gun than a real gun. And from the ads I’ve seen from the States it close to the same there.

All this is, is them trying to make people FEEL like they are ACTUALLY doing something to make the world a safer place. Cause we all know that taking airsoft guns out of the hands of kids will make our world safer. STUPID!!!!!

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 08:51 am

The fact that they use rules for an 80% receiver (the location and existence of trigger/hammer pin holes) is proof positive that they were just looking to step on someones neck with this one.

You can not treat a toy the same way you treat something that was manufactured and designed to be a firearm (with minimal shop work) it is not the same.

The fact that they eventually got the airsoft gun to shoot is meaningless. If you have the time and money to buy an upper and perform the mods to the lower mentioned in the letter you have the money and means to buy an 80% lower that will hold up to more than 3 single fire rounds.

I mean with a few pipes a nail a rubber band an hour of dremmelry and most people could make a shotgun….should we call the hardware store a firearm as well?

Some one seriously needs to reign in the ATF this is getting ridiculous

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 10:33 am

“The fact that they use rules for an 80% receiver (the location and existence of trigger/hammer pin holes) is proof positive that they were just looking to step on someones neck with this one.”

Maybe so. But maybe this serves as a clear warning to toy manufacturers that their toys need to be substantially different than real firearms. I agree that this seems pretty ridiculous, but on the other hand, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for a company that could easily avoided this problem by keeping a clear separation between toys and real weapons. It would seem that these things are potentially more than just toys.

This manufacturer, and others, no doubt, have gone to great lengths to replicate, nearly exactly, the dimensions of the real firearm. There is no legitimate reason that a toy gun needs to so closely resemble a functioning firearm.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm

The manufacturers create these replicas with little knowledge of functional firearms, as they are generally manufactured and most popular in countries where actual firearms are essentially unobtainable to the average citizen. They also make them with, I would bet, no knowledge of U.S. firearms law. The notion that the companies will make changes to their product shows an ignorance of the fact that the U.S. is not a major or primary market for these products, so even if all manufacturers of airsoft replicas become aware of this it is very unlikely they will make costly changes to their replicas.

It is far more likely that, if they become aware of this, they will simply not ship their product here. Even more unfortunate is, because most of the importation of airsoft replicas is done by middlemen, it is likely that these and replicas similar will continue to be shipped to the U.S. and consumers will have no knowledge that by purchasing and possessing them they are in violation of federal firearms law.

This is a foolish decision by the ATF a decision which has no sensible basis, and a decision that is very likely to make a number of people inadvertent felons

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I first have to say that I am amazed that a manufacturer could create something so nearly identical to the real thing without any knowledge of the functional firearm that they inadvertently copied, nearly exactly. That is an amazing coincidence. I didn’t imply that the companies WOULD change their products to address this. Therefore, I didn’t display “ignorance of the fact that the U.S. is not a major or primary market…”

“This is a foolish decision by the ATF a decision which has no sensible basis…”

You statement confuses me. The letter seems to be written as a response to someone who sent an airsoft sample to the ATF for the purposes of determining if it could be readily converted to a firearm. They determined that it could be converted, and was therefore classified as a firearm.

Which part was foolish? The decision to honor the request to test the sample airsoft gun? Was the decision to disclose their findings foolish? I’m curious what you would prefer – for the ATF to ignore requests to test or examine items to determine legality, or for the ATF to ignore their findings.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 01:04 pm

The manufacturers may have a knowledge of the external dimensions and look of a firearm, but that does not necessarily translate into knowledge of how a firearm works internally, what strengths and dimensions are required to fire a round, and what does or does not make a toy a firearm according to U.S. law
Your statements”…this serves as a clear warning to toy manufacturers that their toys need to be substantially different than real firearms” indicated that you believed manufactures would take something from the ATF’s ruling and in turn take some action. That is extremely unlikely evidenced by my response. I apologize if the term ignorant offended you, but that is how I generally refer to lack of knowledge on a particular topic

They tested these replicas because the ATF chose to intercept a shipment of airsoft guns from customs (this was previously mentioned on this blog) with the intent of making them illegal. The foolish part is to judge this toy based on internal policies that were created to regulate firearms. This is not a firearm it is a plastic (in this case, pot metal in other cases) toy that could not stand up to the rigors of sustained fire. To treat it with the same rules and scrutiny as something made out of aluminum or steel billet and designed to be turned into a firearm (an 80% reciever) is ridiculous. The ATF has been making a show lately of their power, and this is another example of it. They are bad actors, and need to be dealt with appropriately by our government (aka additional restrictions on their power as a regulatory agency).

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 02:07 pm

“They tested these replicas because the ATF chose to intercept a shipment of airsoft guns from customs (this was previously mentioned on this blog) with the intent of making them illegal.”

The letter in this article begins:

“This is in reply to your correspondence to the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and accompanying sample of an Airsoft replica of an M16-type firearm. In your letter, you requested FTB to classify this sample…”

If we’re going to throw around the term “ignorant,” it would appear that you are ignorant with respect to the basic circumstances of this case. I have no doubt that this item would not withstand the forces it would be subjected to during sustained fire. That does not change the fact that it can be readily converted to operate as a functional lower receiver. If an item like this, which is so easily converted, is allowed to be imported without firearms regulations, it’s conceivable that a manufacturer could manufacture a similar “toy” out of materials more suitable for withstanding sustained fire. The bottom line is that it can function as a lower receiver, and is therefore classified as a firearm. What happens if the next generation of toys were made out of aluminum?

The only people to blame for the manufacturers’ lack of knowledge about what constitutes a firearm or a toy under U.S. law are the manufacturers who wish to export their products to the United States and the importers here who. Having perused some Airsoft sites in the past to see what they were all about, it appears that the single most important aspect of Airsoft is looking authentic. Weapons are fitted with fake M68’s, ACOG’s, PEQ2’s, etc. All of which have no functional purpose, they merely serve to make the weapon look more real. I don’t for one second doubt that the manufacturers go to great lengths to copy the dimensions of the weapons (including internal dimensions as well).

This seems like a perfectly foreseeable consequence of manufacturing something to nearly the exact same dimensions as the real thing.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 03:22 pm

Well it seems you enjoy being argumentative.

I know for a fact that the ATF seized number of replicas in the temporary possession of U.S. customs and began testing airsoft lowers to determine if they could make a functioning firearm.. This incident was well documented both on this blog and in the media at the time.

The letter may be worded as it was because that is how the FTB words all of their letters, or it may be that after the seizure some U.S. importer sent a query and a sample as no final determination had been published by the ATF after the initial seizure. With regard to the exact circumstances you, I, and even the original source of this arnies airsoft blog are all ignorant.

As to whether it is a firearm, many things that are not and should never be classified as a firearm can be modified to fire modern preloaded ammunition with enough work. As I said If you give me 1 hour, $30, a dremel, and a hardware store and I’m sure I could make a functioning shotgun that does not make any of the components used on their own a firearm. The method of testing and the ATF’s rational in their response indicated that they wanted a certain outcome, and got it.

As I said before the market for these replicas is generally overseas in countries with no access to the parts necessary to make this fire (I will not say functioning firearm because I would argue that it has not been made into a firearm as defined by U.S. code. I believe as another poster indicated that it would be better characterized as a zip gun). As I said before the manufacturers generally do not import these products, small mom and pop shops do, some will surely continue to do so without knowledge that it is illegal, and those that come through customs will very likely end up in the hands of customers. This creates a situation where unknowing individuals will become felons because the ATF used their same poor logic with regard to 80% receivers to create policy with regard to something entirely different.

It boggles my mind that anyone would defend this decision. The ATF has a long history of foolish decisions, and continual changes in policy willy nilly. It is nearly impossible to deal with them unless you are a large firearms manufacturer with a team of lawyers on retainer. This is not what a regulatory agency is supposed to do or how they are supposed to function. If the USDA functioned this way there would be worldwide protests, but since most people don’t much care about firearms, it is able to continue. There is no perfectly foreseeable consequence with the ATF as they change their mind so frequently.

As to your point “…nearly the exact same dimensions…” they are near, or they are exact the 2 terms are mutually exclusive. They are not nearly similar enough in dimensions or in strength to qualify as a firearm under U.S. code, unfortunately since the ATF has decided it is a firearm it will literally take an act of congress to get justice on this issue and to limit the ATF’s power.

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 04:04 pm

“I would argue that it has not been made into a firearm as defined by U.S. code…”

Have you not read the portion of the U.S. Code that defines a “firearm”? You can argue anything you wish, but I don’t believe you would be the least bit successful in a court of law. This piece serves as the lower receiver of a weapon which will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.

In response to your other recent post below, and the other times you’ve mentioned it – You say that you could build a gun out of parts from the hardware store. I don’t know why you’re operating under the assumption that such a gun would not be classified as a firearm; I don’t see why it wouldn’t. You make the claim that this example would be the best argument against calling these airsoft pieces “readily convertible.” I won’t disagree that that may be the best argument, but that would only serve to show that there is no credible argument against the ATF’s decision. There is no comparison between building a weapon from assorted pieces of hardware not designed to be used as a weapon, and making very slight modifications to a piece designed to look and operate like a firearm receiver and using it as a replacement lower receiver. The ATF’s position here is that the manufacturer delivers a piece that needs only very slight modifications to function as a replacement for a regulated firearm component, and it seems like a legitimate position. It’s a far cry from building a weapon. You’ve stated in your posts that this would not have the strength to handle sustained fire or would not handle or load from a standard magazine. You’re probably absolutely correct. However, there is no minimum durability requirement for defining something as a firearm, nor is there any requirement for it to be able to automatically load or cycle rounds (of course, if there were, a single shot weapon would not be a firearm).

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 07:01 pm

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 44 > § 921 Definitions
(3) The term “firearm” means
(A) 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;
(B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;
(C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
(D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

The pertinent issue in the definition is “may readily be converted” as these airsoft replicas do not out of the box “expel a projectile by action of an explosive.” They are certainly not designed to be a lower reciever that will allow an explosive projectile to be expelled (they are designed as a toy which holds a electromechanical mechinism to use air to expel a 6mm plastic bb)

My argument is that 1 hour of grinding with a dremel does not equate to readily converted. The fact that it is not converted into a fully functional facsimile of the copied firearm in that hour is further evidence of fact that it is not readily converted. It is not quickly or easily converted. Further a pipe could be made into a firearm quite a bit more quickly and easily so if you really believe that these airsoft replicas are firearms then you must also believe that a pipe a nail or a rubber band are also a firearm (which FYI they are not) in that they are more “readily” converted into a fully functional firearm.
I suppose I should have instead said, “that does not turn the receiver into a firearm” to be more clear

I am arguing against the fact that the lower unmodified is a firearm because it is not readily convertable (just as the common pipe or other items on their own are not a firearm) not that anything modified to fire a projectile is not a firearm.

I would still argue as i stated earlier that these should be referred to as a zip guns however to denote the difference between the designated purpose (an entertaining toy, or portion of plumbing in our analogies) vs. the final usage as a firearm and to denote that it is not readily converted because it is not.

If I can build a more functional firearm from commonly available parts more quickly than converting the above to fire a single projectile then the above replica is quite obviously not readily converted.

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 07:29 pm

I understand what your argument is, but I don’t think that it’s a valid one, and I don’t think it would be a successful argument in court. Your argument hinges on the notion that 1 hour of grinding with a dremel is too much work to consider that it “may be readily converted.” I don’t think that’s an accurate interpretation. I think that a more accurate interpretation would be that may be readily converted because the amount of machining (or grinding with a dremel) that is necessary to render it capable of firing with an actual upper, relative to the amount of total machining done on the piece, is extremely small. The actual amount of milling is small – it just takes a while using a dremel tool. If you had to use a dremel tool to machine the entire receiver, that one hour would be pretty insignificant.

The fact that you can build an improvised firearm in less time does not negate this being readily converted. A huge problem with trying to make that comparison is that this is not an improvised firearm made from scratch, it is a replacement for a functioning lower receiver, that, when mated with an existing upper receiver, will fire. Admittedly, it isn’t as fully-functioning or durable as an actual lower, but it does serve to fire a round. Apparently multiple times (so it doesn’t blow up after the first couple, anyway). An improvised device made from non-firearm parts is inherently different than a piece that replaces a major firearm component, like a receiver.

Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 07:49 pm

Well Josh I guess you and I are just going to have to agree to disagree.

I think that since the U.S. code does not give us an explanation of what readily converted means we have to be fairly conservative with the term.

An 80% receiver or an AK receiver flat take about an hour (maybe a little more for an AR if you are not terribly good with a mill, but certainly less for an AK) and those are not considered firearms by the ATF (even though they are designed to be turned into one). So the notion that these replicas, that were not designed to be converted and that require an hour or more of grinding to create a barely functional firearm, are readily converted just seems a bit foolish to me

Jeff June 8, 2010 at 02:07 pm

Well, technically, the manufacturers were trying to go for maximum replication so I’d think they would know a lot about firearms. The selling point of some of these airsoft guns were that they were field strippable, just like the real ones. But you are absolutely correct. The reason they made it so similar is that firearms are outright banned in those countries, so even buying an ar-15 upper receiver, or parts for it is impossible.

However, with respects to whats happening in the US, hat i find interesting is that these airsoft parts are more common than I thought. granted, I haven’t fully measured the parts I’ve seen online – merely eyeballing the dimensions, but they seem to be near exact. Most of them also have the full auto sear holes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a larger crackdown on more receivers. I still maintain though, that the parts would be much less of a threat if they didnt make such a big deal out of it/draw attention to it.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 03:32 pm

The issue though really is that these lowers are not designed to function as a firearm. They do not have the strength to handle sustained fire, and I don’t believe they would be capable of properly loading ammunition from the magazine. It is very likely that if you modified the lower to fit a fully loaded magazine that it would not work. You essentially have a single shot zip gun. There are much easier ways to get/make weapons whether in the U.S. or in countries with tighter restrictions. For the ATF or any government agency of any country to waste man hours on these toys is ridiculous.

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kyo June 11, 2010 at 10:41 pm

It only takes one bullet to kill or injure someone.
Those that would modify a toy into a firearm aren’t adults that understand it’s far less economic to just buy the real parts like you or me, those people they refer to are kids (yes kids are smart enough [and dumb enough] to make a real firearm). Remember these rules were set out to protect us and our children, it’s bad enough kids can get a hold of real fire arms anyways, and with technology as it is anyone can look up how something functions and with a little imagination make something that works similarly.
Don’t get me wrong I believe the ATF and whoever sent that sample in is trying too hard to make life difficult (with respect to the sender they may have just tried to clear airsoft of suspicion and instead it back fired). I enjoy the “weekend warrior” lifestyle as well and sucks that I’m not going to buy that particular toy anymore, but ATF is just doing what they are supposed to be doing, “Their job ‘by the book'”

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Raph84 June 12, 2010 at 02:00 am

Your reasoning doesn’t even make sense here. Anyone making these mods would have to buy a full upper receiver and a lower parts kit so if some kid decided they wanted to build an AR/M16 all of the items they need were out there long before these airsoft lowers. Anyone with the understanding and knowledge to do a build like that would not wast their time with an airsoft lower.

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kyo June 12, 2010 at 02:17 am

that isn’t how a person in charge of public safety would think, “…they would still have to buy…” it’s more like, “If they got their hands on…” no one in ATF’s position would dare assume or take a chance anything when they make a statement, because what if they are wrong?

I’d like to think they would ban soda cans (silencers) fence posts (barrels) and other things, if, there weren’t any other uses for them.

What is it that magpul like to base they’re theory products on? “the 1%” I think that is a good saying.

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snoopycomputer June 8, 2010 at 10:07 am

I don’t want to appear as if I’m making excuses for the ATF, but they are following the law in this case. It can be proven that an airsoft receiver can be modified to fire a round of ammo (even if its from the real steel barrel). The way the law is currently worded, the law is on their side. Thus, the answer is deceptively obvious: rewrite or abolish the particular law.

How would WE define a “firearm”?

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bryce June 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

I would agree with you if the parts were drop in, but they are not. With a little machining a lot of things can be made into a firearm. Once that is done then it becomes illegal not before
If you dream about committing a crime should you be arrested.

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

But the current legal definition of “firearm” is such that a receiver such as this, that requires very little in terms of modification, is defined as a firearm. What you’re wanting to do is change the entire definition of a firearm to mean that unless the parts drop in and fit perfectly, it’s not a firearm. There are a couple of problems with that though. First, it’s a fundamental change in the definition. You want the definition to be what you think it should be, but someone else might argue that even a 100% complete receiver is not a “firearm” until it’s mated with all of the rest of the parts necessary to make it a functional weapon. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and the definition is what it is (currently). Second, if your definition stood (that only if the parts drop in is it a firearm), then all a manufacturer would have to do to skirt the law is to manufacture a receiver that required the end user to drill out a final receiver pin hole, or to file away a small amount of metal to allow the internal parts to fit.

What if, instead of an airsoft gun, we were talking about an actual metal receiver that required only an hour with a dremel tool to make into a functioning receiver. Let’s say, hypothetically, that a company was making a replica gun that could be converted into a real one so easily. A company could conceivably build a replica that could be converted, and they could easily do it to purposefully skirt firearms laws if only receivers that allowed parts to “drop in” were considered firearms.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 03:38 pm

Josh the law says readily converted.

In the time it takes to convert this you could build a gun out of normal everyday items that no one would ever classify as a firearm.

I would say that is in and of itself is the best argument against these being “readily convertable” into a firearm

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kyo June 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm

lol that would be considered a firearm

I could convert that lower faster than the ATF… I got youtube to watch till the part arrives in the mail…

Think like this, how practical is it to ban a metal pipe? what about an airsoft gun? I’m thinking the gun

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Raph84 June 12, 2010 at 02:00 am

that’s my point captain obvious. Neither make sense

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kyo June 12, 2010 at 02:31 am

Not sure where you are getting at?

Makes sense to ban the toy that has no productive use and causes confusion and mischief?

Ban a metal pipe that could be used for home improvement, fencing, automotive application, scaffolding, etc?

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Raph84 June 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm

The issue is based on the U.S. code the ATF does not get to make that distinction. If you can make a gun out of a pipe quickly enough that it is “readily converted” it is a firearm. The usefulness of the thing has no bearing on whether it is or is not a firearm.

When the government and the citizenry allow the ATF to make these distinctions with no connection to the law we get bad policy like we see here. If however they were forced to actually abide by the law and treat everything alike maybe readily converted would be a little less nebulous (because they would be forced to clearly define it, rather than making up some legally detached illogical scheme about what manufacturing processes make something a firearm and the lack of which process show it not to be one).

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Josh June 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm

You’re still misunderstanding the law and how it applies here. A pipe would not be considered a firearm, despite the fact that you can use it to build an improvised firearm. The reason the airsoft piece is considered a firearm is that it is first considered a firearm receiver. Since it is a firearm receiver that can be readily converted, it is therefore also considered a firearm. The pipe does not meet the requirements to be defined as a firearm receiver, and could not be defined as a firearm as was done with the airsoft receiver.

Aren’t we done with this topic? You’re still arguing points that are predicated on a misunderstanding of the law.

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Raph84 June 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I am not misunderstanding the law. A receiver is anything that holds the bulk of the firearm. Anything can be a receiver. If an 80% receiver isn’t a receiver, then an airsoft replica is definitely not a receiver.

bryce June 8, 2010 at 04:21 pm

Josh I just want to be clear : You agree with the BATFE these toys are firearms in there current form, the tax payer dollars are well spent on this one and any one caught with one should be charged with a crime?

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 04:34 pm

I agree that the lower receiver portion (according to the results of this test) meets the criteria to be defined as a firearm per 18 U.S.C. §921(a)(3). I agree that taxpayer dollars were not misspent by the ATF in performing the tests to make this determination. I have not made anything that should indicate that I think it would be prudent to levy punishments on those who are already in possession of these items. I would argue that this is an oversight that should have been previously addressed.

I think this exposes a potential problem area. Hell, if the law were different, I’d be inclined to go into the toy gun making business. I would build inexpensive toys with durable, metal lower receivers and claim that they’re intended to be toys, and the ability to use them as functional receivers is an unintended coincidence. Then I’d flood the market with unaccounted for, serial number-free lower receivers (with crappy plastic uppers attached)! And shortly thereafter, I would retire.

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bryce June 8, 2010 at 05:33 pm

WOW

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 06:07 pm

You know, truth be told, I don’t really give a crap. It’s not going to affect me at all if these are or are not legal. There are a couple of reasons I’ve chosen to comment here. First of all, I sometimes enjoy taking the less popular position; it’s good argumentative exercise. Second though, I do think the ATF was correct in their determination. I don’t think I saw in the letter, nor am I implying, that these toys present a viable threat to anyone. If you were to ask me whether or not I thought that there was a legitimate concern about people taking these (current model) toys and using them as firearm receivers, I’d tell you absolutely not. But, that’s not the issue. Assuming the test performed by the ATF was accurate, the fact that they can be relatively easily and quickly converted to use as a firearm receiver makes them, legally, a firearm. There is no requirement in the current law that stipulates that they be durable, or that they function in exactly the same manner (i.e. cycle rounds, accept magazines, etc.). I think the ATF would be derelict in their duties if they neglected to test this item to the best of their abilities (having received the item and the request to do so), and would be in error if they did not find, given the results of their test, that it met the legal requirements to be defined as a firearm.

Perhaps the biggest reason I’ve chosen to defend this decision here is that, in my opinion, the ATF must rule that it is a firearm, according to the current, federal legal definitions of firearms. What I really perceive here is a lot of misdirected anger towards the ATF. If anyone has a problem with what happened here, it should be with the current laws that define what a firearm is, not with the ATF for having determined that this meets the criteria.

This strikes me as very similar to something I see all the time – that is, when people have great anger towards judges for making legal rulings based on their requirements to follow the law. I saw it just yesterday in a news story. Commenters were bashing a judge for dismissing a case against someone because the officer who performed a traffic stop did not have probable cause to do so. The commenters should have been angry with the officer for making an illegal stop, instead of waiting for, or at least being able to articulate, sufficient probable cause for a stop. In the same way that a person should not be angry with a judge for excluding evidence illegally obtained by police, I don’t think anyone should find fault with the ATF here. The fault here lies almost entirely with the manufacturers for producing parts that are so similar they can mate to and cause a round to be fired from an upper receiver, and, to a much lesser degree, with the law itself for being so broad as to allow inclusion of this piece (although I think it has to include pieces like this, because even if it only fires one round, it is still a functioning firearm).

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bryce June 8, 2010 at 07:45 pm

The term “firearm” means (A)
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; (B)
the frame or receiver of any such
weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm
silencer; or (D) any destructive device.
Such term does not include an
antique firearm.

I guess we are having a discussion and disagreement on the term readily be converted

readi·ly (red′ə lē)

adverb

1. without hesitation; willingly
2. without delay; quickly
3. without difficulty; easily

con·vert (kən-vûrtˈ)
verb con·vert·ed, con·vert·ing, con·verts
verb, transitive

1. To change (something) into another form, substance, state, or product; transform: convert water into ice.
2. To change (something) from one use, function, or purpose to another; adapt to a new or different purpose: convert a forest into farmland.

Now, What I gather from those definitions is “quickly changed”, and 1 hour of machining a piece of plastic does not meet the the definition of a firearm. ( my interpretation)

Now if you are just taking their side for the sake of arguing that’s cool and if your not thats cool too. But you should care about things like this. you say this does not effect you but it does. When ever the Government wants to ban something they uses words like machinegun, Assault Weapon, causes death and drug dealers to scare the public. It starts out small but these actions lead to things like a National Assault Weapons Ban (if it happens again it will be a more permanent ban). Every time a ban is enacted it hurts an Honest Citizen somewhere. I live in Ca where my 2A rights are challenged every election. Believe me as an honest citizen who has served in the armed forces defending these rights, to have them chipped away at “their” interpretation of words is very unsettling.

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kyo June 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm

you gathered “quickly changed” out of that, congratulations so did I.

Now what I think about 1 hour with a dremel and some plastic as apposed to several hours in a machine shop making an actual part that would do that same thing… I think that constitutes “quickly changed” in respect to discharging a bullet at let’s say you or your children because, hey, they just don’t like you. In less than one hour (maybe even instantly since it’s just a toy, he bought a few and has them ready on his person) and shoots.

Not that I have anything against you or your family and I do apologize for using them as an example, but look at it from a neutral stand point… your family could be killed by that “toy” or worse yet you could survive and they would be gone.

but just like someone said airsoft doesn’t need all this publicity, and making this viewable by everyone really hurts our hobby.

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Raph84 June 12, 2010 at 02:03 am

you obviously do not understand all that is required here. The toy itself can not be converted into a firearm the atf used $8- 900 in actual gun parts to make this conversion so you can not just buy the toy and create a rifle.

kyo June 12, 2010 at 02:25 am

I understand how the sample was created, didn’t say it was cheap, I mean c’mon everyone is saying it’s too expensive to do so do you think I would still be ignorant to that?
It’s not a matter of “who would do that?”, it’s a matter of, “it could be done” which is why the guidelines for a firearm “are what they are”.

bryce June 12, 2010 at 02:58 am

First off don’t bring peoples family into a discussion of the nature that you did.

I Think you missed the point . This is a discussion about whether the BATFE did the US tax payers a service by coming out with this ruling. and whether a Airsoft copy of an ar15 lower can be Readily Converted to real firearm, not whether a make shift firearm is dangerous. I think we would all agree on that. Read the whole blog to get my complete opinion. You will see that I Josh and Raph84 have beat this horse to death with our opposing opinions.

Remember if someone got it in mind to hurt you or themselves they will find a way no mater what law tells them they can’t.

I will agree the ruling the BATFE came out with is not good for your hobby. Airsoft-ers are about to become at the mercy of the BATFE. If you live in CA they will probably be banned all together. Welcome to the land of real gun owners.

I am kinda confused by your post but I think we want the same thing.

kyo June 12, 2010 at 03:26 am

I’m just approaching it differently, what would you consider “doing you a service”. I’m sure there are different answers for each individual.
For someone to believe they have been done a service one would have to appreciate service given, in my approach I try to convince others that what they did was right in the way that they identified another way someone could potentially get hurt.
It is however a problem most people have about my approach is that people are “true neutral” not acknowledging anything but rules and regulation, rights and the violation thereof. Because the guidelines state that is a firearm. When you look at why it’s pretty far fetched, but the the guidelines make it clear it is a firearm and we all start arguing that it’s wrong.
But why are the guidelines like that, and my thought is safety, but because everyone is “true neutral” they aren’t moved by a generic scenario so they go back to numbers and data (which completely ignore one factor, irrationality).
Using a more personal medium for a scenario will get people thinking or just flat out offended (but this is the internet i’m not worried if someone is mad and I’ve already apologized and stated my reasoning so I’m guilt free).
So on a more personal note would you consider 1% safer to be a service. I would though it’s only 1% it’s still 1% in the right direction.
(NOTE: I disagree with stopping the importation of airsoft toys and that this whole thing is completely bogus but those are the rules and I understand why they are like that and the risk of ignoring them.)

bryce June 12, 2010 at 04:18 am

Dude I have been a nice but no longer
YOUR Sheeople type attitude is what will end this country!!
You really want the government to tell you whats safe and whats not?
You cant figure it out on your own? what you say is “true neutral” I would call “uneducated idiot” .
On your thought 1% safety, well lets ban all crosswalks because there is a greater than 1% chance that someone will be hit in one in the next 5min.
Its time for you to go back to your pretend airsoft world where the government will lead and you will follow. Sheeople!!! I never will understand them
END TRANSMISSION

kyo June 12, 2010 at 04:44 am

Not really sheeple, don’t gotta follow no one be your own person that is what the US stands for, and because my method doesn’t work on you means nothing you’re just another statistic. I never disagreed with ya anyways except about the sheeple thing.
they probably would have banned crosswalks if it weren’t made to try and prevent people from j walking which is also against the law because some people (and there is no denying it) will walk right in front of a car and eat it for lunch. And I’m sure they would ban driving since hell they’re people dying in cars too!
But in all honesty it’s up to your interpretation mine was safety, why do you think laws are in place?
Is it to keep us down?
Is it to create more federal jobs that people can draw paychecks and do nothing?
Is it to help those who represent us, represent us?
Opinionated individuals who don’t believe in the “SYSTEM” While watching Zeitgeist, believing in that because they go so far as to watch but never get close enough to learn for themselves.
Read the books, learn the clauses, listen to the lectures but unless you’ve been in the thick of it we can only voice hollow speculation.
I’ll take 1% more safety, not like I can say otherwise they are the defining factor in this particular instance, look at it in a better light if you’re stuck with it might as well try to be alright with it. Optimism is the driving force of our country. That optimism may be ignorant but ignorance is also another driving force of our country.
/SALUTE

bryce June 8, 2010 at 07:58 pm

I guess we are having a discussion and disagreement on the term readily be converted

readi·ly (red′ə lē)

adverb

1. without hesitation; willingly
2. without delay; quickly
3. without difficulty; easily

con·vert (kən-vûrtˈ)
verb con·vert·ed, con·vert·ing, con·verts
verb, transitive

1. To change (something) into another form, substance, state, or product; transform: convert water into ice.
2. To change (something) from one use, function, or purpose to another; adapt to a new or different purpose: convert a forest into farmland.

Now, What I gather from those definitions is “quickly changed”, and 1 hour of machining a piece of plastic does not meet the the definition of a firearm. ( my interpretation)

Now if you are just taking their side for the sake of arguing that’s cool and if your not thats cool too. But you should care about things like this. you say this does not effect you but it does. When ever the Government wants to ban something they uses words like machinegun, Assault Weapon, causes death and drug dealers to scare the public. It starts out small but these actions lead to things like a National Assault Weapons Ban (if it happens again it will be a more permanent ban). Every time a ban is enacted it hurts an Honest Citizen somewhere. I live in Ca where my 2A rights are challenged every election. Believe me as an honest citizen who has served in the armed forces defending these rights, to have them chipped away at “their” interpretation of words is very unsettling. Remember a lot of what Ca does spreads to the rest of the country the good and the bad.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 08:13 pm

excellent assessment

When you add the definition of convert to the mix I think it strengthens the durability argument I have been making

As to the harm in improper govt. intervention I absolutely could not agree more

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 07:07 pm

Josh the distinction between your thought experiment and the situation at hand is your lowers actually are readily converted where as the above airsoft replica is not.

Believe me it is very easy to make a fully functional firearm from an 80% receiver with a template and a dremel…much easier than the airsoft replica. The time and money devoted to this foolishness is most certainly are not tax dollars well spend

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 07:38 pm

Why would “my” lowers be any more readily converted? I could make them identical to these, but more durable.

Whether using an 80% receiver is easier, cheaper, more effective, etc. is not relevant to the issue of whether or not these can function as lower receivers. It doesn’t make these legal just because there is a better alternative to converting these.

Finally, I never claimed that it was not a waste of money to pursue this. As I stated earlier, I don’t think that these present any legitimate concern. But, that doesn’t affect whether or not they are legal. If the ATF wanted to try to round up all of the existing airsoft guns and confiscate them, I would agree that it would be an absurd waste of time and effort. However, that doesn’t change the fact that importing these appears to be a violation of the law, and the ATF has a legitimate reason to stop any further importation. They do appear to qualify as firearms.

I guess we can wait and see if a court case comes of it. But I certainly don’t think they would be successful in presenting your argument that there is too much work required to make them readily converted.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 08:08 pm

Actually if an 80% receiver is easier it is damning to your argument as the ATF does not classify it as a firearm. If the 80% receiver is more readily (read that as more quickly and easily) converted then it is more of a firearm than the airsoft replica, and since the ATF have already indicated that an 80% receicer is not a firearm then the replica by definition can not be (as we are dealing only with the ease of conversion)

In your thought experiment you have said you are designing these toys with a durable lower receiver so that they can properly function. Because of the functio we see the true, design whether intended or not, they are a firearm and thus would have to meat the requirements of an 80% lower.

I think the durability issue is important here. If by design it is more easily used for the a purpose then it is clearer that it is intended to be a firearm, if on the other hand it functions poorly in that purpose it is clear that it should not be classified as a firearm as you can see by its function it is not properly designed to do so, just as common pipe is not considered a firearm (though it can be converted to expel a projectile by means of explosion, it is not designed to do so)

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 08:32 pm

To this “80% receiver” thing – I’m not 100% positive about it, but I recall reading awhile back on several sites that sold receivers that there is really no such thing as an “80% receiver.” This little myth stems from rulings by the FTC (I believe) that require at least 20% manufacturing to be done on something for it to be manufactured or made by yourself. Furthermore, I think that ATF is responsible for determining the amount of work required to qualify. There may also be a distinction in that in altering this piece, you are not “manufacturing” anything, you are converting. Whereas with a partially completed receiver you are completing the manufacturing process on a partial piece, not converting an existing item for another purpose. Again with the durability issue – there is no requirement that a piece be of specific quality or durability to be considered a firearm. I agree that, realistically, it makes a durable receiver seem more like it was intended for conversion, but that’s not a requirement for defining something as a firearm or not. It need not be properly designed to function well, or even designed to function in that manner at all, it only needs to function. It’s whether it can or not, not whether it was intended to.

(As I was writing this I found a couple of sites that contain portions that explain it similar to what I was saying.)

http://www.tacticalinc.com/ar15-lower-receiver-forging-p-1108.html
http://www.vbd.com/noc/shop/products_category.asp?CategoryID=52

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bryce June 9, 2010 at 12:38 am

“but I recall reading awhile back on several sites that sold receivers that there is really no such thing as an “80% receiver.”

Here you go Josh found in less than a min

http://www.ar15plus.com/

Josh June 9, 2010 at 12:53 am

There doesn’t seem to be a “reply” button on Bryce’s post, so I’ll reply here.

Bryce – you seem to have missed the point of what I was saying. I looked at your link, and nowhere on there do I see anything referred to as an “80% receiver.” The reason for that, as I thought I clearly pointed out earlier, is that the ATF has no definition, or recognition, of “80% receiver.” This little misnomer seems to stem from Federal Trade Commission rules that require that anyone who calls themselves the manufacturer or maker of an item to perform more than 20% of the manufacturing work themselves. That is why you can get away with milling your own receiver – because by doing more than 20% of the work, you are the manufacturer.

I’m glad it took you less than a minute, because you didn’t find anything that refutes that statement about 80% receivers.

Josh June 9, 2010 at 12:57 am

LMAO, Bryce: I didn’t realize it at first, but that website is the same one I linked to above (although my link is vbd.com). It is one of the websites that explains that there is no such thing as an “80% receiver.”

That really didn’t help your case.

bryce June 9, 2010 at 01:24 am

josh
OK here is a guy claiming they do exist
http://www.acmearms.com/80percentfaq.php

If a receiver requires 20% to be completed then 80% would be the already done part
I don’t know what you will call them but I am going to stick with 80% lower
if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck its a duck
I get the feeling you will argue any point

Josh June 9, 2010 at 01:35 am

My point was that there was technically no such thing as an “80% receiver” because there is no such thing recognized by the ATF. The point to take away from it is that the 80% thing relates to who is considered to be the manufacturer of the receiver. If you buy a hunk of metal that requires more than 20% of the manufacturing to be done by you, then you are the maker of it, and you can do so legally without having to register it.

It’s really a moot point though, since what is being done to the airsoft receiver is not completion of manufacturing (as is the case with a partially completed receiver); it is a conversion to make it function as a firearm.

bryce June 9, 2010 at 01:47 am

Josh
this is what living in the US is all about
healthy debate no mater how much we don’t agree

I going to watch Robot Chicken now

Raph84 June 9, 2010 at 02:01 am

Not sure these links will work, as I had to put it in the wayback machine to get the actual document but first see this FAQ http://www.acmearms.com/80percentfaq.php

Also these documents

http://web.archive.org/web/20061201014349/http://www.chesapeake.net/~mcfadden/bigtoys/law/1.jpg
http://web.archive.org/web/20061201013740/http://www.chesapeake.net/~mcfadden/bigtoys/law/2.jpg
http://web.archive.org/web/20061201013740/http://www.chesapeake.net/~mcfadden/bigtoys/law/3.jpg

The doc does not mention 80% receiver by name, but this is what you are going to find in a partially completed receiver (80% is the only option other than the roughed out billet paper weight which can not be a receiver as it has no holes to receive parts).

Here is another 80% manufacturers website http://www.tacticalmachining.com/images/80-determination.jpg
and their ATF letter indicating they are not a firearm
http://www.tacticalmachining.com/images/80-determination.jpg

So as we already said above they are holding this plastic toy to the same standard that an aluminum billet lower designed for the express purpose of turning it into a firearm is held to. Further I have explained how a more functional weapon can be made from an 80% receiver in a similar time frame (AR) or less (AK) and that these 80% receivers are not considered readily converted and so are not firearms. There is no logic to this whatsoever.

The ATF are applying rules as though the airsoft replica were designed to be a firearm (which it was not). They modify the gun in ways that make it less functional than the above 80% receivers while taking a similar amount of time as the 80% receiver and decide that the replica is a firearm where the 80% are not?

This is simply an indefensible decision born out of bureaucratic and illusory definitions that have no basis in the U.S. Code

Josh June 9, 2010 at 09:35 am

Ralph, none of what you posted there does anything to bridge the gap between “completing manufacturing” and “converting.”

I would be happy to sit down in front of a judge with you and let you present your case, and me present my position. I am completely confident that a judge would recognize the distinction between a piece designed and sold for the intended purpose of manufacturing to completion for use as a firearm receiver, and a piece that has already been manufactured to completion and then converted from its original purpose into a firearm receiver.

I know a judge would be able to understand the distinction, but for the life of me I don’t understand why can’t see it.

Raph84 June 10, 2010 at 08:20 am

Josh you are pretending to be dense to foster your position. My whole point from the beginning was this is a toy and should not be subject to the same tests (sear pin hole, trigger pin, hammer pins being drilled) as an 80% receiver. Because an 80% receiver was meant to be a firearm and an Airsoft replica was not. Upon completion the 80% receiver is a fully functional AR15/M16. Upon “completion” (really bastardization as this was never meant to be a firearm) you have a barely functional zip gun which could just as easily be made out of a block of wood.

Your whole argument is backing my point the ATF has settled upon a nonsensical scheme as to what is readily converted and what is not unfortunately that scheme has no basis in reality because components designed to become firearms can be manufactured/converted/modified into a firearm more quickly than the Airsoft Replica. That is what the ATF is resting their hat on the readily converted statement in U.S. code. Words have meaning and if one product can not be converted more quickly than another product which the ATF has already stated is not a firearm then the less readily converted product is not a firearm.

Also by using the ATF’s 80% receiver rational about manufacturing in regard to the replica you show an acceptance of my point that it is manufacturing (now we are just quibbling about percentages and whether it is the required 20%)

Josh June 10, 2010 at 10:45 am

I feel like we’re getting closer here. I agree that this seems asinine, BUT, the ATF needs to have objective criteria for the basic determination of whether or not some qualifies as a firearm component or not. If it looks like a receiver, if it mates to a real upper receiver, has the interior milled out for parts and magazine like a receiver, has all the holes drilled in it where a real receiver would… that seems like a receiver. From there the only question is whether or not it can be converted to fire. This one happens to be plastic, and might not make a very good receiver, but it could just as easily be made of metal. Would you expect your argument that it was meant as a toy to still stand then? This could be a piece that’s sold at the hardware store as part of a toilet, but if it fits to an upper receiver and can function like a firearm, it qualifies too. What it’s being sold as is irrelevant; what it is capable of is.

You’re still erring in referring to the modification done to this as “completion” rather than “conversion.” It was a complete airsoft receiver, it was converted to function as a real firearm. It also seems you’re continuing to misunderstand the whole “80% receiver” thing. The ATF does not recognize an “80% receiver.” It is either a firearm frame or receiver, or it is not. The 80% thing comes from FTC rules that require a manufacturer to complete a minimum of 20% of the manufacturing process in order to qualify as the manufacturer. The ATF rules basically say that if you start with a piece of metal that does not yet qualify as a firearm frame or receiver you can qualify as the manufacturer, but once it meets the criteria to be called a firearm frame or receiver, it also then qualifies as a firearm, and is subject to regulation, taxes, etc (and if it already qualifies as a firearm, someone else is the manufacturer). You can take a partially complete receiver and perform less than 20% manufacturing on it and turn it into a firearm receiver, and therefore, a firearm. By being compatible with a real upper receiver, having the interior portions milled out to the point they require only slight additional widening, and by having all of the necessary pin holes drilled, this qualifies as a receiver. By being able to be relatively easily converted to accept real firearm parts, it qualifies as a firearm.

Bottom line is, this thing meets the consistently held criteria for what constitutes an AR-15/M-16 type lower receiver, and can be readily converted, which makes it a firearm also. It’s the manufacturer’s own stupid fault for going to such great lengths to make such a close copy of the real thing and not bothering to verify the legality of it.

Raph84 June 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Josh,

It is fairly clear from the numerous 80% receiver letters that they have accepted the 80/20 determination regardless of whether they flat out state it or not (as in the letters they are saying that it requires enough manufacturing work in their eyes to be outside of their control aka not a firearm receiver).

The ATF may have settled on some scheme for determining what is and is not a firearm receiver. The problem with that scheme is it is completely disconnected from the U.S. code which is what determines a firearm.

It does not matter what manufacturing elements the ATF thinks are appropriate or inappropriate for an 80% receiver or anything else (because that is not how the U.S. code chose to define a firearm), it only matters if it is actually readily converted. The ATF has quite a bit of power, but it does have the power to re-write the law at their whim. The moment they began making decisions with no regard to the readily converted standard they were enforcing policy without regard for the law. The U.S. code trumps any scheme they will create and we see quite clearly here why their scheme is faulty

The Airsoft replica takes longer to Manufacture/modify/convert into a firearm than many 80% receivers/receiver flats so if A – 1hr shop time ≠ to a firearm (even though it, by design, creates a completely functional firearm) yet B-1hr shop time = a firearm (even though it creates a barely usable zip gun which you could make out of a block of wood in the same time frame, and is a poor weapon because by design it was never meant to be one), then there is something terribly wrong in the ATF’s logic.

Josh June 10, 2010 at 01:09 pm

Comparing this to a zip gun is absurd. A zip gun is an improvised firearm, made from common, everyday, readily available materials. This is a firearm made with a legitimate, complete upper receiver and real AR-15/M-16 internal components. It’s not a zip gun, it’s a real gun with a crappy lower receiver. It’s a far cry from the improvised firearm that a zip gun is.

This mess illustrates the point that there is an inherent problem in manufacturing something that looks like a firearm or restricted firearm component, is the same dimensions as that component, can accept real parts and be mated to other real components, and can be relatively easily made to function like a firearm or firearm component.

The ATF policies aren’t without reason. Their criteria is there to prevent, among other things, manufacturers from making firearms receivers and attaching them to and selling them as toys. ATF policies actually seem very favorable to gun owners/manufacturers when you consider that you can purchase partially completed receivers, that are not yet classified as “firearms receivers or frames,” but substantially resemble receivers, and, as you pointed out, require relatively minor work to turn into a functional receiver. In reality, those are clearly firearm receivers, thankfully, the ATF does not classify them as such until they are more completely machined. The ATF has set reasonable criteria to determine what is and is not a firearm receiver. This criteria and the ability to make these determinations is necessary to enforce federal firearms laws and regulations. Again, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer of an item to ensure that it complies with all applicable laws. It is not the fault of the ATF that it does not.

Raph84 June 10, 2010 at 01:38 pm

Josh,

The ATF’s scheme is completely detached from the U.S. code. This decision is completely contrary to the meaning of U.S. code.

It does not matter if it looks like a gun or even if it has similar specs what matters is out of the box it does not mate with an AR/M16 upper. It requires manufacturing/modification/conversion.

I continue to call it a zip gun because it is a firearm made from materials never meant to be a firearm, and the lower does not perform the functions that a normal lower would such as allowing ammo to feed, and semi auto/full fire. It is a single shot zip gun regardless of the upper (because as we all know the upper is not a firearm).

Raph84 June 9, 2010 at 02:11 am

Josh both are modifications to a receiver (not a conversion as you characterize it). The only difference is one is made of plastic, does not work as the original weapon, takes an hour or more of intensive shop work to make it work improperly, and was designed to be a toy (to be clear that is the one that is considered a firearm). The other is made of billet aluminum, works exactly as the original weapon, takes an hour or more of shop work to make it function exactly as the original weapon is intended, and was designed to be made into a firearm (that is the one that is not considered a firearm.

If you can not see that this is a senseless decision, with no basis in reality or U.S. code, then there is something terribly wrong

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Josh June 9, 2010 at 08:21 am

It is absolutely a conversion. I don’t know how you can not distinguish the difference between taking a partially completed item and completing the manufacturing process and taking an already completed item and converting it from its intended purpose. Doing more than 20% of the work on a partially complete lower receiver makes you, legally, the maker or manufacturer. The airsoft receiver has already been manufactured to completion. The partial lower receiver does nothing until it’s finished. The airsoft receiver is already 100% complete and performs its intended function.

I agree that it’s senseless from a practical standpoint – these things would not make good replacements for a real lower receiver. However, without a doubt, it has a legal basis.

I’m not saying that the law shouldn’t allow for some type of exception here (although I think the better thing to do is not manufacture something that could be converted in this way, toy or not). What I’m saying is that according to the current laws and the way that firearm is defined, I think the ATF had no choice but to rule this a firearm.

Raph84 June 9, 2010 at 09:58 am

Josh it is not a conversion because it is a completed toy, not a completed firearm. When you take something that is not a firearm and turn it into one that is manufacturing

Just like a pipe or tube is a completed pipe before it becomes a firearm (and there are many 80% receivers for stens and the like that are simply piece of pipe). Just because something is a complete product (that can not be used as a firearm as is) does not mean it is a firearm.

You are completing additional manufacturing steps to the toy the moment you pick up the dremel and start grinding. That is all you do to the Airsoft replica grind away plastic, and all you do to an 80% reciver grind away metal. Functionally the process is exactly the same.

At the end of the first you have a barely functional zip gun, at the end of the second you have a fully functional firearm.

This is a plastic toy, and to pretend that it should be treated as a firearm because it looks like a firearm is ridiculous. 80% receivers look like a firearm, and if I found a way to make a toy out of it, it would not change its designation, nor would it change its legality. The fact that it is not a completed firearm as sent in box is the salient issue. If you have to add manufacturing time (by grinding away plastic) you are manufacturing a new product (out of a different product).

If your rational was correct no one could buy 80% receivers as they would be a finished product because they could be a paperweight or a door stop (and I believe one of the receivers you linked to actually was being sold as a doorstop so this is not just an analogy or thought experiment, it is the reality).

Let me complicate things a bit to help you understand manufacturing, by way of 922R importation issue. If I have say a saiga sporting rifle imported into the U.S. as a Russian made sporting rifle, and I decide to add necessary number of U.S. compliance parts I have not modified a firearm (according to the ATF) I have manufactured a new rifle that no longer is subject to 922r compliance because it is now a U.S. made rifle manufactured by me. So just by dropping in pre-made parts into a complete rifle I have manufactured a new rifle.

The idea that grinding on something for an hour is manufacturing in one instance and not manufacturing in another makes no sense. Further your rational that it is a completed product flies in the face of all logic, it is not a firearm as in the box, it becomes a firearm through extensive shop work it is clearly the same manufacturing process.

Josh June 9, 2010 at 10:44 am

Your assertion that the minor modifications to this piece required to allow it to function as a firearm constitute manufacturing as opposed to conversion are so ass-backwards it’s comical. Furthermore, even if it were considered manufacturing, the idea that grinding a small portion away with a dremel tool constitutes more than 20% manufacturing is nonsense. You can’t make minor modifications to an existing piece and call yourself the manufacturer.

For the sake of the airsoft industry, I hope that if this goes to court their lawyers can make a more competent argument, on a more solid foundation than the one you’ve made here. If not, it will be a complete waste of time. I’m done with this – I gladly defer to the courts. If this went to court and your arguments were used, I’m confident they would be unsuccessful.

Oh, and stop telling me my “rational” is faulty. It doesn’t make any sense. “Rational” is an adjective; it needs a noun to modify. The word you’re looking for is “rationale.”

Raph84 June 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I’ll tell you your rational is faulty as long as it is.

If the airsoft replica takes an hour of machining work to turn into a firearm and a reciever flat, or reciever tube take the same amount of time or less to turn into a firearm they are situationally identical. The fact that 1 is a toy that does not function properly as a firearm only strengthens the argument that it should not be considered a firearm just as a receiver flat, receiver tube or 80% receiver is not considered a firearm.

Again the 922r compliance issue is yet another argument that shows the ATF is using a different completely arbitrary set of rules in dealing with this airsoft replica that it has decided completely separate from U.S. code, and any type of sense or logic. The ATF have gone off the reservation on this one.

Unfortunately the only way this issue will ever see court is if someone is charged with illegal possession of a firearm for having an airsoft replica (or unless congress chooses to seriously change the scope of ATF’s power)

Josh June 9, 2010 at 01:10 pm

My “rational” is not faulty. It’s a grammatical impossibility. You’re using an adjective to modify another adjective. It’s like telling me – my tall is wide.

In a discussion that hinges on interpretation of legal wording and phrasing, and terminology like “manufacturing” and “conversion,” it doesn’t bode well for you that you don’t understand the middle school-level grammar principle in what you’re saying. An adjective cannot modify another adjective. I thought I pointed that out sufficiently in the previous post. I think I’d have better luck teaching calculus to my 2 year-old nephew than successfully getting you to understand this and other concepts we’ve been discussing.

Josh June 9, 2010 at 01:19 pm

Out of curiosity, I looked up the 922r thing you’re talking about. That’s not relevant to this issue. All that says is that if a firearm is illegal to import, it is illegal to assemble one from parts here in the U.S.

There’s nothing in there that indicates that by replacing some key parts, thereby making it legal, that you are considered a manufacturer. It just means that the weapon is no longer identical to one that is prohibited from import. It’s irrelevant to this issue (not that I’m surprised you would try to introduce something else that is immaterial to the issue at hand). Such a weapon still would have to meet the requirements of the ATF, such as serial numbers and markings. It’s not a weapon manufactured by an individual (like a partially completed receiver that you finish).

Trying to draw similarities to other regulations that are irrelevant doesn’t help your failing argument.

Raph84 June 9, 2010 at 01:24 pm

Thank you Josh for finally breaking the name game (or as I like to call it the “your mom’s a whore so your argument is invalid law” it’s my version of Godwin’s law)

When you move the argument to make the it about the person you are arguing with rather than the facts at hand you lose. Judging my content is the realm of viable debate. Judging a typo or simple grammatical error (in an age of auto corrected word programs, and in a conversation that requires prompt responses to emotionally charged issue) is simply useless, it tells you nothing about my intelligence or the sense of my argument, all it really tells you is I am not as agile with a keyboard, and or my word program isn’t very good (2 things which I am absolutely willing to admit to).

Falling back to grammatical fanaticism and name calling can only be the last crutch for a poor argument.

So I will proudly and gladly say your rational continues to be faulty.

Josh June 9, 2010 at 01:38 pm

You think that was the last crutch of a poor argument? Yeah, that’s it. Wow, do you suffer from delusions!

I probably shouldn’t have again mentioned your contining misuse of the word “rational,” even after I corrected you earlier. I’m afraid you’ll mistake it as some sort of concession that you are correct. I don’t think you’ve presented a single argument that stands up. You keep trying to draw incorrect comparisons to other regulations that have no bearing on the circumstances of this case.

I’m not sure if you’ve convinced anyone here that there is any substance to your argument, but I’m quite certain that you could never convince a judge that there is.

Raph84 June 9, 2010 at 02:38 pm

Again claiming I have delusions is in no way beneficial to the argument it is simply an ad hominem attack.

They have bearing as they are all about modifying something to the point that it is considered manufacturing a new firearm.

As to rational/rationale I understand what you are saying, but you are not my editor so if you know what I’m talking about (which you have proven you do) then there is no issue. I will continue to make typos because I like you or any other person on this planet am fallible. If this were a grammar forum where we argue the intricacies of typos, spelling, and inadvertent meanings then it would be a lovely topic to continue discussing but we are having a discussion about an issue relating to firearms, and my meaning is clear so lets keep it about the topic at hand rather than my typos or yours (look above my name is Raph not Ralph we are both equally incapable of properly typing the correct word. But I understand you are referring to me so I don’t cast aspersions about how my 2 year old is smarter than you).

As an aside let’s try to keep the discussion rational ok ;o)

Josh June 9, 2010 at 03:04 pm

You do have a bit of a point there – I’ve been assuming your name was “Ralph,” having not looked closely at your name.

Putting together a firearm from parts is not the same as manufacturing. If it were, there would be no need to complete the manufacturing of your own receiver – you could just use completed parts to piece together a weapon and, voila, you’re the manufacturer. That’s not how it works.

Your 922(r) argument is invalid because in making a gun compliant with 18 U.S.C. §922(r), you take an existing firearm (receiver) and replace a minimum number of “compliance parts.” You do not create a new firearm. You are not considered the manufacturer of a firearm. Your “80% receiver” argument is invalid because in performing more than 20% of the manufacturing process on a partially constructed receiver, you are considered to be the manufacturer and forgo certain ATF requirements for that firearm. You are completing the manufacturing process on an item designed to be manufactured into a firearm receiver. This is highly different than taking a receiver for a toy, or replica, gun and performing modifications to “convert” it into a functional firearm receiver. No reasonable authority would agree that by performing these modifications on a complete, functional toy gun receiver, for the purpose of allowing it to be used for a purpose other than its originally intended purpose, you are “manufacturing” as opposed to “converting.” I would think that you have to realize this and are just being stubborn.

Both of those arguments are inadequate, and I think I’ve sufficiently shown that.

bryce June 9, 2010 at 03:32 pm

Josh by your and the BATFE logic
EVERY airsoft gun, airgun, toy gun, and bb gun
should be considered a firearm. If you give me a mill an hour of time and parts from a real gun kit I too could make all of those fire at least 1 round of ammunition I never would because it would be an utter waste of time
Just like The BATFE has spent on this finding.

Josh June 9, 2010 at 04:07 pm

Bryce-

And any that could be so easily converted would also qualify as firearms. Certainly not every airsoft, toy gun, or bb gun could be easily converted, like you say. This thing required only very slight modification to both accept real M16 parts, and to properly mate with a real M16 upper receiver. It was accomplished, not with a mill (like you would surely use to manufacture a receiver), but with a common Dremel tool. It might be common in airsoft, but it is certainly not common for bb guns and toy guns to have hammer, trigger, take-down pin, and automatic sear pin holes just like the real thing, to have firing components that operate and interface in a manner nearly identical to a real gun, or to have almost identical dimensions as the real thing.

As to the waste of time – I slightly agree with you. From a practical standpoint, it’s a waste of time since these things would not make good receivers (although a company could catch on and make ones that would work better). However, this sample was (apparently) sent in by someone seeking clarification from the ATF on whether or not it qualified as a “firearm.” It is the duty of the ATF to perform tests to make that determination, and in that respect, it was not a waste of time.

Unless the ATF previously ruled that these were not firearms, I can find no fault with them (although each individual manufacturer and model could require a separate examination). These things are touted as replicas, not merely toys. I would think the prudent thing to do as a manufacturer wishing to export “replica” guns to the U.S., or an importer in the U.S. wishing to import and resell them, would be to ensure that they comply with all pertinent laws and regulations.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that a “replica,” made to such similar dimensions as the real thing can be so easily modified to function like the real thing. It then follows that no one should be surprised that such an item would be in violation of firearm regulations. It seems to me that common sense says you’re asking for trouble when you go to such great lengths to make something look and function so similarly to such an item subject to such legal regulation.

Raph84 June 9, 2010 at 05:57 pm

Not being stubborn Josh I simply disagree with you. If the measure of being stubborn is not changing your mind simply because another party continues to argue and or wishes you to, then everyone in this conversation is guilty of being stubborn. I am simply convinced this was wrongly decided by ATF FTB for a variety of reasons that I have very clearly stated.

I have looked at the U.S. code, and read numerous ATF FTB letters on a variety of subjects and I still believe it is manufacturing just as manufacturing an 80% receiver. I also believe that when completing a 922R compliance, the reason it is considered legal/compliant is that you have created a new U.S. manufactured firearm though don’t be confused on this point the original receiver began as a firearm and continues to be a firearm (unlike with an airsoft receiver which it begins as a toy and becomes a firearm/zip gun). With regard to 922R the firearm simply becomes an american manufactured firearm due to the addition of U.S. parts and subtraction of foreign parts.

If you look at the old ATF FAQ on the old treasury website they indicate that any number of minor as you would say “modifications” such as milling in a different type of sight, bending a bolt handle, or even modifying the stock and hand guards on certain firearms is actually manufacturing a new firearm and require a certain type of ffl and excise tax paid to them.

The Airsoft toy may look like the original but it does not function like the original. The end result is not a fully functional firearm as with an 80% receiver, and if a design existed that did allow for a quick conversion to an actual auto loading M16/AR15 that required less work than an 80% receiver then I would agree that would be a firearm receiver under the law. This replica however does not meet those requirements and ATF nor anyone else should pretend that it does

Josh June 9, 2010 at 07:58 pm

I’ve seen nothing that would indicate that assembling a firearm constitutes manufacturing (in response to your 922(r) argument). The link you provided earlier (http://web.archive.org/web/20061201013740/http://www.chesapeake.net/~mcfadden/bigtoys/law/2.jpg ) is in reference to “assembling” a firearm from imported parts. As you already said, the receiver (which is, itself, considered a firearm) is already complete anyway, and is therefore not being “manufactured.”

Again, your own link puts a nail in the coffin of your “80%” receiver argument as well.
http://www.tacticalmachining.com/images/80-determination.jpg
Note that the section “Milling operations not yet performed” lists:
1) Milling out of receiver interior
2) Cutting of trigger slot
3) Drilling the trigger-pin hole
4) Drilling the hammer-pin hole
This goes to show two things, 1) that the ATF requires certain major milling and/or drilling to be left unfinished on a receiver not yet considered a firearm, not merely a widening of existing cavities, and more importantly 2) that when there is any question as to whether a receiver constitutes a firearm or not, it is up to the ATF to make a determination. That’s exactly what they did here.

If you reread the letter from the ATF, it states:
“In past evaluations of AR-type firearm receiver blanks, FTB has consistently held that if any of the cavities for the fire-control components are milled out, or if any of the fire control pivot-pin holes are drilled or indexed, then the blank has been completed to the point at which it can be recognized as a firearm frame or receiver…”

It clearly met the requirements to be defined as a receiver. The remaining question was whether or not it could be readily converted to fire. If it could, it not only met the requirements to be defined as a receiver, but also as a firearm.

It would appear that your arguments about being able to more easily mill a partial receiver to completion are irrelevant because a partially complete receiver that has not had the required amount of milling and/or drilling done to it (such as the example you linked to) would not yet be classified as a “firearm frame or receiver.” Until it can be classified as a “firearm frame or receiver” it cannot be classified as a “firearm.” Once it is classified as a receiver, it is then classified as a firearm since it can be readily converted to fire. See the above linked example: “…the FTB examination of your submitted sample found that your planned receiver will not be sufficiently complete to be classified as the frame or receiver of a firearm and thus would not be a ‘firearm’ as defined in the GCA.”

Now, the reason I said you were being stubborn is that you continue to refuse to accept both the reality – which is that the ATF is responsible for making these determinations, and has done so, and also you refuse to accept my explanations that clearly show why your arguments and comparisons lack substance. I don’t really think I’m being stubborn for accepting the realities of the situation or for trying to explain what the law says and how it applies to this situation. I honestly would have expected any reasonable person to have accepted by now the fact that these arguments have no merit.

bryce June 8, 2010 at 08:25 pm

“Finally, I never claimed that it was not a waste of money to pursue this. As I stated earlier, I don’t think that these present any legitimate concern. But, that doesn’t affect whether or not they are legal. If the ATF wanted to try to round up all of the existing airsoft guns and confiscate them, I would agree that it would be an absurd waste of time and effort. However, that doesn’t change the fact that importing these appears to be a violation of the law, and the ATF has a legitimate reason to stop any further importation. They do appear to qualify as firearms.”

That’s not the problem.
The real problem Some kid now will be playing in a field with his airsoft and the police could arrest him and his parents too. The prosecution could convict him based on this finding from the BATFE. All it takes is a prosecutor or politician wanting to get their name out there on a controversial issue behind the guise of public safety.
I know this is some what ifs but ever hear wrong place wrong time.

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 08:52 pm

I don’t know how realistic your scenario is. I think that realistically the worst that could happen is that the authorities could confiscate the airsoft gun. I don’t think they could really make any charges stick, having let the things into the country in the first place.

I don’t know what you expect me to say though. I certainly don’t want to see some kid hassled, arrested, or have his airsoft gun taken away. But my desire to not see that happen doesn’t change my feelings on the legality of them, or the correctness of the determination by the ATF.

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

It is not law. It is their interpretation of internal policies that they themselves created to determine what is, and what is not a firearm. That is the major problem with the ATF they are a regulatory agency that is creating law out of thin air rather than asking congress to create the laws they need (where they do not exist) to properly regulate firearms.

This is not the first poor decision they have made along this vein (constructive possession policies etc) and unless they are reigned in it will certainly not be the last

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Raph84 June 8, 2010 at 03:51 pm

Ps. the above was my response to snoopycomputer’s post June 8, 2010 at 10:07 am http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/2010/06/07/atf-decrees-an-airsoft-rifle-a-real-firearm/comment-page-1/#comment-9113

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Dave June 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

There is lots to be concerned about here.

But was what especially telling to me is that the BAFTE calls an M16 a “machinegun”.

They really are completely disconnected from reality, yet they are enforcing the rules.

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 11:02 am

How exactly is that disconnected with reality? The U.S. Code defines a machine gun as:

“any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” [26 U.S.C. §5845(b)]

An M16 ABSOLUTELY qualifies as a “machinegun.”

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bryce June 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

Josh the only problem is they fired it in a semi auto fashion not full-auto. Yes a M16 is a machinegun
the thing they built is basically a long zip-gun not a machinegun

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Josh June 8, 2010 at 12:07 pm

They mated the lower receiver to an actual upper receiver, so I would argue it’s more legitimate than a “zip gun.”

My comment about machineguns was to address Dave’s assertion that the BATFE (not BAFTE) is “disconnected from reality” based, in part, on their calling an M16 a machinegun. I didn’t misunderstand the article to think it said they fired it full auto.

The fact that it could be so easily converted to fire at all, even a single round at a time, makes it a firearm.

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Aleksandr Mravinsky June 8, 2010 at 04:01 pm

And this is why I hate the ATF. They have no purpose and too much power. It is at their sole discretion to interpret the laws. They recently reversed a decades-old policy on part of the Gun Control Act in order to redefine a transfer of firearms (http://blog.nssf.org/2010/05/atf-reverses-interpretation-of-gca-redefines-transfers-of-firearms.html). They pay employees more than $100k a year to do nothing as a punishment. The only thing the ATF is good for is costing money and making people miserable.

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bryce June 8, 2010 at 05:29 pm

Last question
Why would anyone that’s not a Criminal do this? With OLL being sold for around a $100. why bother stripping a $600 airsoft toy. After being built it would have a better chance of this exploding and injuring you that hitting your target.

And yes I live in CA one of the most restrictive states But you can still have a legal Ar 15 here, just needs a BB and no more than a 10 round Mag.

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kyo June 11, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Remember the law is there to protect not to limit.

Yes the makeshift firearm has a better chance to explode in your face thus a kid could get hurt experimenting with this conversion. In this case it would protect the child to ban the GBBR.

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bryce June 12, 2010 at 03:56 am

Gun laws don’t protect they limit. criminals don’t care about they laws
Stricter enforcement of existing sensible law would be the only thing that might protect someone
The only true Protection is education and being an armed citizen. you my friend have quoted strait from the Brady campaign ( guys I think we have a mole)

Problem with your theory the child would have to buy $600 worth real gun parts to possibly make this work, and have a working knowledge of how the AR15 functions and is assembled. I don’t know to many gun shops that sell gun parts or ammo to minors.

lets do the math
$600 airsoft toy
$600 parts kit from model 1 sales
$1200 to make a guaranteed to explode airsoft toy

I don’t know any kids with $1200 (kids 5 to 15) anybody older is old enough to know they are doing wrong

The other option: A real AR15 (average price on Gun Broker $800)
that the richie rich’s dad could buy for him

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Stevek June 8, 2010 at 06:26 pm

I’m currently machining a ar-15 upper and lower. I guess that block of aluminum I started with needs to come through a ffl now. So I could fill a squirt gun with gasoline, do I need a tax stamp for a destructive devise?! That whole deal is a joke.

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Bryan S June 8, 2010 at 08:21 pm

Flamethrowers are not a firearm, and thus not regulated by the ATF.

:P

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bikeman June 9, 2010 at 01:14 am

No, but a Flamethrower is a Destructive Device, whilch IS regulated by the BATFE.

Steveck, if you made the super soaker that could automatically become a flame thrower (ie, you don’t have to hold an ignition source at the end of the barrel, it’s automatic) then probably regulated. However, if you have to hold the Zippo at the end, then it’s not. At least in my understanding of the law.

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Bryan S June 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

No it is not. They are lawfully used as a farming implement, and not listed as a destructive device. In all technicality, they are just a torch with a longer reach. Not an argument, but just one of those things.

(1) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas, (A) bomb, (B) grenade, (C) rocket having a propellant charge of more than 4 ounces, (D) missile having an explosive charge of more than 1/4 ounce, (E) mine or (F) similar device.

(2) Any weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and

(3) Any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device as defined in subparagraphs (1) and (2) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled.

The term destructive device shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned or given by the Secretary of the Army, pursuant to the provisions of section 4684(2), 4685, or 4686 of Title 10 of the United States Code; or any other device the Secretary finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.[1]

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bikeman June 11, 2010 at 02:26 pm

Bryan,

I realized my error, see below under Stevek and Josh’s comments.

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Stevek June 9, 2010 at 09:07 am

At first I was joking about the squirt gun flame thrower, but now that I think about it, I could make a super soaker with automatic ignition a whole lot easier, cheaper and faster than the airsoft mod. On top of that I’d be making a destructive devise wich is more regulated than the semi-automatic rifle they made. Although you couldn’t pay me enough to actually pull the trigger on either one of them!

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Josh June 9, 2010 at 09:17 am

A flamethrower does not appear to fall under the definition of “destructive device” 26 U.S.C. §5845(f). If you do a quick Google search on the subject you’ll find many sites stating that flamethrowers are not regulated by federal law, but that some states may have laws prohibiting them. A search for “flamethrower” and “flame thrower” on the ATF website yields only documents concerning state laws.

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bikeman June 9, 2010 at 01:20 pm

Well, my bad then, I could have sworn I had something saved on ATF and flamethrowers, but upon finding it, it was state related.

That being said… reading 26 U.S.C. § 5845(F), and considering what the ATF did with an Airsoft lower, I think they could figure out a way for a super soaker flame thrower to be classified in there…

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Josh June 9, 2010 at 01:26 pm

If that happened you would find me arguing that a super-soaker flamethrower does not meet the criteria for definition as a destructive device, and is beyond the scope of the authority of the ATF to regulate such a device. And I would be just as steadfast in my contention that the ATF was wrong in that case as I am that they are correct in the determination they made here.

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bryce June 10, 2010 at 12:21 am

Josh the BATFE is not doing a very good job
check this out, metal body
http://www.kingarms.com/productpage.asp?prodid=1664
(meant to be funny not start something)

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Josh June 10, 2010 at 12:47 am

Wow. I agree. That looks like a firearm receiver to me. If the dimensions of that are as close to the real thing as the gun that was tested by the ATF, I would think these guys better watch out. I agree that the ATF hasn’t done a good job of catching this sooner. I suppose it’s been pretty easy for these things to go unnoticed thus far because I imagine no one would have expected them to be such accurate reproductions of a real receiver, or to be so easily made to work with the real firearm parts.

I think it’s worth pointing out that we don’t know what this means in terms of enforcement of this. I’d like to think that the ATF won’t bother with this, at least with airsoft guns that have already been imported (I imagine they’ll have to stop imports of any that qualify). All this letter does is state the results of the ATF’s test and their resulting determination that it qualifies as a firearm. I don’t really see any way around that determination – if it meets the already established criteria, the ATF had to find that it was, technically, a firearm receiver, and also a firearm.

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kyo June 11, 2010 at 11:43 pm

being as JG (the brand of the sample that was sent in) is a clone of Marui and that body by king arms is compatible with a Marui I’d say the dimensions are nearly identical.

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Raph84 June 10, 2010 at 08:07 am

Don’t feed the trolls

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Davis F June 11, 2010 at 04:02 pm

Just so you guys know, ASR, an Airsoft forum I belong to, has started another huge discussion based on your post. Go check it out if you want, as everyone over there knows exactly how these guns work and have some good info on why this is not possible.

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Josh June 11, 2010 at 04:19 pm

Without a link I can’t find what you’re talking about, but “info on why this is not possible”? Is the position of the posters there that the ATF fabricated their test results? That’s what your wording makes it sound like.

That’s quite a different discussion than whether or not it meets the criteria to be called a firearm receiver, and therefore a firearm (if it can be converted in the manner the ATF described).

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kyo June 11, 2010 at 11:49 pm

search asr airsoft forum you might find it, I agree sounds like they are discussing how it’s not possible to make and airsoft part work like ATF did… in other words, they are saying ATF is lying about their sample being able and actually firing a bullet.

In their defense though, yours and ralph’s discussion was really long winded and they probably skipped some dialog, I know I did.

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Josh June 12, 2010 at 12:02 am

I haven’t bothered to search for it. But, you seem to be misunderstanding what the issue is here, and I wonder if they aren’t also. Your comments on here have repeatedly referred to the possibility that kids will take their airsoft replicas and convert them to fire real rounds. That’s not remotely what the case is here. The airsoft receiver was made to function with real firearm internal parts, and was successfully mated to a real firearm upper receiver and barrel. There is absolutely no chance that a kid will convert his airsoft to fire without these real firearm components. The airsoft receiver is (apparently) able to be used as a replacement for a real lower receiver, which is, itself, classified as a firearm, and therefore subject to ATF regulations. Is it possible the airsofters in the forums are making the same mistake with respect to what the ATF is saying?

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Davis F June 12, 2010 at 08:24 pm
THC July 1, 2010 at 01:44 am

I am Asian, I have both real AR-15 and GBBR AR-15! I think BATF has her point saying something like “POSSIBLE POTENTIAL” illegally modify any toy guns (in this case GBBR) into dangerous weapons. Well, the solution is let all toy guns to be design and manufacturer in USA and export world wide! Certainlly the USA gun’s accessories manufacturers knews how large Asia (China, …..)market is! Sistema making huge profits only selling their PTW M4, one such M4 also indirectly brig good profits to those USA gun’s accessories manufacturers (eg. Mugpul…. Knightx , Daniex Defenxe…….) not account of any gear wears scopes etc……! No airsoft guns! A lot of people will lost their job.

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George October 13, 2013 at 05:47 am

I agree that this seems pretty ridiculous, but on the other hand, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for a company that could easily avoided this problem by keeping a clear separation between toys and real weapons. It would seem that these things are potentially more than just toys.

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CYMA M187D Airsoft Dude February 7, 2014 at 09:33 pm

This is absolutely insane! I have a heap of airsoft guns (not the JG M4 airsoft rifle though) and never check to see if laws have been updated to allow me to continue using my airsoft guns…

I also know a tonne of people that regularly use airsoft rifles, and NONE of them knew about this, let alone knew that it was even possible to turn an airsoft gun into an actual firearm. Talk about a massive over reaction…

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