Brad Martin and his son, Ben, sell the Airsoft BB guns from their store in Cornelius where they’ve been in business for seven years.
The Martins said they buy their stock from Taiwan because the merchandise is less expensive. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seized a shipment of 30 in October. That shipment is worth around $12,000 and the ATF is promising to destroy the entire shipment.
Special Agent Kelvin Crenshaw said the toys can be easily retro-fitted into dangerous weapons.
“With minimal work it could be converted to a machine gun,” Crenshaw said.
Brad Martin is furious about the loss of money, for sure, but also in what he now thinks as a loss of his time and the use of government agents to seize toy guns.
“All this manpower, all this time, all this taxpayer money, [it is] wasting my time and my profitability,” Martin said. “[Just] to seize 30 toy guns!”
Ben Martin disagrees that the toy guns could ever be considered dangerous.
“To say these are readily convertible to machine guns is absolutely preposterous,” he said. “The round wouldn’t go into the firing chamber and even if the firing pin did strike the primer the gun would basically blow up in your face.”
ATF said it also seized the toys because they are missing the blaze orange tips required on all imported toy guns.
The Martins said they’ve received shipments before from Taiwan that were missing the orange tips and were simply asked by customs agents to drive up to Tacoma and paint the tips orange themselves. They are wondering why it is an issue now.