When the ATF Once Said Airsoft Guns Could Become Machine Guns

This is an old story, from 2010, but it's worth revisiting as new anti-gun legislation is being introduced practically every day.

The news story above begins by telling you that customs officials seized a shipment of 30 airsoft guns headed to an airsoft dealer in Washington state and then turned them over to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF then decided they were going to treat the toys as machine guns, saying they could have been deadly.

Then the story talks about how the airsoft guns didn't have the required orange tips—so you start thinking, "OK, they must mean they were deadly because they might have been mistaken for real guns and the person with them could possibly get shot."

But no.

By the end, you find out the ATF insisted that the plastic airsoft guns, which are powered by CO2 cartridges and designed to fire plastic BBs, could readily be "converted into military grade weapons."

Yep, the ATF said toy guns could be turned into machine guns—as if they'd never encountered airsoft guns or BB guns before.

When the ATF was asked how they came to that determination, the agency told reporters to file a FOIA request.

When that was done, the agency turned over some heavily redacted documents with no answers and stuck to the assertion that the toys could easily be made into actual guns.

There's a lesson in here somewhere...