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Agents of Incompetence: ATF Dodges FOIA, Still Has Seized BB Guns (Part IV)

PJM asked for documents related to the bureau's seizure of $20,000 worth of BB guns, but was given documents that had nothing to do with the case. (Click here for PJM's previous coverage.)

by
Bob Owens

Bio

April 25, 2010 - 12:00 am
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It was only a month ago that a bizarre story broke in the Pacific Northwest, as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers trumpeted their seizure of what they claimed were more than two dozen machine guns disguised as toys.

The problem with the CBP claim was that the items seized were 16 WE TTI (WE Tech) M4A1 and 14 WE TTI (WE Tech) M4 CQBR gas blowback Airsoft rifles that shoot plastic BBs.

They really were toys.

But instead of admitting they can’t tell a toy gun from a real one, CBP turned these Airsoft rifles over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the agency agreed that these pot-metal made, plastic BB-shooting plinkers were honest-to-God firearms.

To put it mildly, things got interesting.

An Airsoft expert from England dismissed the claim as absurd. In the U.S., AirSplat expert Jon Dibblee — who was once Sgt. Jon Dibblee, a U.S. Army infantryman — categorically denied that the WE Tech M4s could be made into machine guns, an expert opinion supported by a gunsmith specializing in the AR rifle who examined another WE Tech in great detail. The gunsmith determined:

  • The WE TTI M4s 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.

In short, multiple experts examined the dubious ATF claim and found that the WE Tech rifles confiscated by the CBP and slated for destruction by the ATF cannot be converted to machine guns, or any other kind of working firearm.

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