Hitting the airsoft world today is a story picked up by Seattle’s King5.com and Tacoma’s The News Tribune about a shipment of 30 WE M4 Gas Blowback airsoft rifles being detected and seized by US Customs and Border Protection.
Customs officials at the Port of Tacoma seized a shipment of 30 pellet guns that officials say could have been modified into machine guns.
An investigation is under way after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the Airsoft guns Feb. 8 in a suspicious-looking container. The shipment, labeled “Toys and Parts,” was worth about $10,000 and arrived at the port in October from a manufacturer in Taiwan, Customs and Border Protection spokesman Doug McBride said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that the rifles were equipped to shoot plastic balls but could be converted into machine guns firing live ammunition.
Ok, I didn’t want going to start on the obvious FUD being reported on here, and I can’t completely blame the news organisations for this, as they report on what they have been told and are not the experts unlike the BAFTE and CBP, but the implication that these seized airsoft rifles can be converted into firing live ammunition just astounds me.
I would be first in line (behind a bulletproof screen) to witness the carnage that would ensue from somebody attempting to detonate a .223 round in the alloy upper receiver of an M4 GBB, as unlikely as it would be with the absence of a firing pin and all the other essential parts of an AR-15 bolt to detonate a live round. The ludicrousness dissuades me from wanting to even touch on the other issues such as the barrel, the BCG and the dimensions of the WE receiver being incompatible with real steel tooling.
BATFE and CBP have experts in weaponry, and I have absolutely no doubt that they understand the mechanics of a toy GBB M4 and a Real Steel AR-15, why they would feed the media such obvious FUD boggles ones mind.
“You couldn’t tell by weight or feel” that the guns were fake, ATF spokeswoman Cheryl Bishop said. “Most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference, and that’s why we were so concerned.”
The metal pellet guns had the same size, weight and appearance of an M-4 automatic rifle, the weapon used by the U.S. military. The rifles did not have serial numbers on them, as real guns would, but they also did not have the orange-blaze tip required for all imported toy guns.
“You could slide a magazine in there. They load and charge very realistically, very much like the real thing,” Bishop said.
The ATF also determined that the shipment did not arrive with the proper permits to enter the United States. The guns will be destroyed.
It would seem the sensationalism and FUD are unnecessary if you are to believe the reports that the rifles arrived in the US without the federally mandated blaze orange tip and improper permits for importation. If you just take those factors into consideration, it becomes a non-story.
What would have seemed to be a error of the clerical and shipping nature has been turned into a FUD based crusade by US Authorities for reasons that are kind of unclear and Seattle based news site, King5.com certainly doesn’t help the situation by incorrectly (in all intonations) referring to the toys as ‘Machine Guns’.
"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."
FUD = Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
The fact that the shipment arrived in the United States in October of last year and has only just been discovered, Feb 8th 2010, also raises questions.
An anonymous source has stated that the airsoft shipment was heading to Oregon based retailer Airsoft Outlet NorthWest, we have contacted Airsoft Outlet NW for confirmation but as of time of writing, although contacted us, have not released a statement concerning the seizure.
According to the Airsoft Outlet NW website, the owner of Airsoft Outlet Northwest will be addressing the news on the Lars Larson Show on 750 AM KXL at 2p.m. today.