I didn’t report on this story when it first surfaced because I thought it was stupid, and would go away quickly.  But It didn’t.

TACOMA, Wash. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized a shipment of 30 machine guns that arrived in an ocean container at the Tacoma Seaport last October.

Officials say the shipment of M-4 automatic rifles, manifested only as “Toys and Parts,” was valued at nearly $10,000 and was shipped from a manufacturer in Taiwan.

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

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

The guns will be destroyed.

Source – King5 News

Here is a news story on the incident:

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Special agent Kelven Crenshaw has a bit of trouble with the magazine at 1:18 :lol:  I guess they only teach the operation of the m4 platform in “extra” special agent school.

Interesting info from the company who got their guns seized, AirsoftOutletNW:

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

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

The full article, Airsoft: An Industry Without Standard, is actually a really good read if you have the time, regardless of whether or not you are into airsoft.

The only real issue I would say may exist, is if you could put a REAL upper on an airsoft lowers and have it fire, either fully automatic or semi automatic.  The lower receiver of a M4/M-16/AR-15 is not subjected to any extreme pressures when a round is fired, so as long as the material the airsoft replica was made out of is semi rigid, it would likely hold up for a while at least.  That said, I highly doubt that any of the airsoft lowers would be able to accept a REAL upper, and fire without any modification.  Although the whole airsoft industry thrives on authenticity, it is not in their best interest to get attention like this, which is why I doubt the parts are exactly 1:1 interchangeable.

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


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