The Tacoma Airsoft Seizure Update: The Great Federal Airsoft Theft

In this third article covering the seizure of Airsoft Outlet Northwest’s (AONW) shipment of WE TTI gas blowback airsoft guns by Federal Agents, we look over the latest updates and bring to light some new information and also examine how it’s all beginning to unfold. Even with all the information not available, especially on the side of BATFE, a pretty clear picture is starting to emerge that has led me to believe that this wasn’t a seizure… It was theft.

Lets start with the initial discovery by Customs and Border Protection. I don’t want to delve too deep into this as I believe it’s not the real reason for the seizure, but for many years now, the U.S. Customs has led everybody to believe that imports of Airsoft guns requires a Blaze Orange plug or tip to be present on the end of the barrel.

It may come as a shock to U.S. Airsofters but this is incorrect.

Airsoft Guns are NOT required to have a bright orange mark on the end of the barrel!!

What!! Hey, I’m just repeating what Customs defines in their frequently asked questions.image

I quote from CBP’s page regarding airsoft imports:

Air soft, paintball, bb guns, and other guns that use a gas or air pellet or mechanical spring action to fire a projectile are not subject to Department of Commerce regulations for toy or imitation firearms that require bright orange plugs or other markers to be affixed to the end of the barrel (15 CFR 1150).

It doesn’t get any clearer than that, and I’m not suggesting you break the ‘rules’ but just realise that when it comes to Federal Agencies, it appears that they basically make the rules up as they go along and they’ll still seize your shipment regardless of what U.S. Statutes exist.

I listened to an interview by Alex Jones from infowars.com where he discusses in detail with Brad Martin of AONW some of the finer points of the seizure. While it’s pretty clear Alex Jones is a huge liberalist and Second Amendment rights campaigner, he makes some good points. Listen below, it’s about 30mins.

listennow [AudioPlayer uniqueid="alex_tacoma_seizure" width="300" height="30" audiosource="http://everything-airsoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/20100302_Tue_Alex_tacoma_seizure.mp3"]

While BATFE were patting themselves on the back early on in the media frenzy, it was kind of unclear why they had seized the shipment, was it the blaze orange tips? Was it to save the children? No.

The Dori Monson Show interviewed both Brad Martin of AONW and Cheryl Bishop of the BATFE and gave each party time to state their case and during the BATFE part of the interview, it finally was revealed what part of US Law was the subject of the seizure.

image [AudioPlayer uniqueid="dori_atf_seizure" width="300" height="30" audiosource="http://everything-airsoft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/dori_monson_atf_seizure.mp3"]

BATFE Labs in Martinsburg, West Virginia has classified the lower receiver of the WE TTI as a ‘machine gun’ as defined under Title 26, Section 2845 b of the U.S. Code.

(b) Machinegun

The term “machinegun” means 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. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

The important part of the above text is this "The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun"

‘Designed and intended solely and exclusively … for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun’

The receiver of a WE TTI Gas Blowback was designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in an airsoft product.

So whether the receiver can accept an AR-15 trigger group, which it can’t without extensive modification, is irrelevant. The WE receiver was produced from the ground up to be fitted into an airsoft rifle, so Title 26, Section 2845 b of the U.S. Code does not cover the BAFTE’s case.

So, in other words, BATFE can not stand behind this U.S. Statute, it doesn’t even apply. Not only did BATFE have absolutely no right or authority to seize the shipment of airsoft guns, the matter should have been referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for investigation. BAFTE = No Jurisdiction.

You can’t help but notice over the last few days, ATF has been less vocal and appears unwilling to go on record with their claims. The opinions of tens of thousands of people all over the internet from Airsoft forums to Real Steel forums has been overwhelmingly in favour of Airsoft Outlet Northwest, and I’m willing to bet that, that is weighing down on the authorities.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

The ‘good catch’ rhetoric has disappeared, the back slapping has petered off and it would appear the voices of thousands from all over the internet is being heard.

Story KOIN6 TV had such a really good response to their first piece about the Tacoma seizure, that they have now updated their article where KOIN6 TV reporter Alexis Del Cid starts asking the BAFTE the hard questions. This video is where BAFTE appears to start to close ranks, refusing to answer questions and the most revealing of all, almost, kind of reveals their true intentions.

KOIN6: Does the ATF believe these toys can be converted into deadly weapons that fire real ammunition?

BAFTE: Refuses to answer the question and keeps referring to the definition of a machine gun, something than can fire multiple rounds.

KOIN6: Does firing multiple rounds of plastic pellets fall into that category?

BAFTE: ATF still refuses to answer.

Now this is important, because it reveals the true intentions of the BAFTE, and this may reveal a bigger agenda.

BAFTE: This is more of a public awareness issue and that the real danger is how realistic these toys look.

So you stole the guns to raise a public awareness issue, Roger that! You’ve just declared war on Airsoft…

 

If you want to lodge a protest or complaint, use the following contact points.

Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Department of Justice
Investigations Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Room 4706
Washington, DC 20530

E-mail: oig.hotline@usdoj.gov

Online: Reporting Form

Hotline: (contact information in English and Spanish): (800) 869-4499

Fax: (202) 616-9881

Also, the public affairs agents who are responsible for the press release:

john.d.mcbride@dhs.gov
Customs Public Affairs Liaison, Portland-Tacoma
cheryl.d.bishop@usdoj.gov
Special Agent, Public Affairs Officer
BATF Seattle Field Division
206-389-5859

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By day a busy Security Contractor somehow finds time to moonlight as creator and admin of airsoft blog, Everything Airsoft

4 Responses to “The Tacoma Airsoft Seizure Update: The Great Federal Airsoft Theft”

  1. Grindstone50k says:

    I'd be careful about linking ANYTHING to Alex Jones. The guy is a straight up nut who believes Bush did 9/11 and that there is a super group of “elites” running the world and want to kill of 80% of the population.

    • cqrt says:

      I'm definitely not a subscriber to his conspiracy theories but in this particular case, if you can get past his 'the government is out to get you' rhetoric, he makes some good points about the ATF behavior.

  2. [...] really. We’ve been waiting for some time now for BAFTE to cough up evidence to support their claims that the WE TTI M4 lower receiver can be [...]

  3. [...] — The Tacoma Airsoft Seizure Update: The Great Federal Airsoft Theft [...]

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