The blogging about Greece is too depressing, so let’s kick a couple of government bureaucracies for bone-headed stupidity. This excerpt is from a Pajamas Media story about how the Customs bureaucrats mistakenly confused BB guns for machine guns, and then turned the toys over to the BATF bureaucrats, who are now stonewalling and refusing to return the toy guns and admit the government’s mistake. I’m willing to stipulate that these toys are probably designed to look like real guns, and they probably shoot multiple BBs with one pull of the trigger, so perhaps the Customs bureaucrats made an honest mistake. But it appears that BATF bureaucrats are in CYA mode:
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…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. …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. …Customs has refused to answer questions addressed to them about the seizure, referring all claims to the ATF. As a result, Pajamas Media filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the ATF.. The ATF’s written response to the FOIA request was less than helpful. Instead of providing information about the WE Tech rifles seized from Airsoft Outlet Northwest at the Port of Tacoma, Washington, ATF responded with what appeared to be a clumsy bait-and-switch… Perhaps an expert in FOIA law can explain this interesting redirection to those of us less versed in the finer points of the legalities, but it would seem quite bizarre that an agency subject to FOIA requests has the authority to randomly determine that the requester really wanted something entirely different … and entirely useless. …Hope is not lost for Airsoft Outlet Northwest, however. The government recently released some of the $20,000 in inventory they’d seized, including 15 other Airsoft machine guns made by WE Tech and 20 bolt-action Airsoft guns. Perhaps with some patience — and a bit of tenacity — the ATF and Customs can finally be convinced to return these toys to their rightful owners. Getting them to admit they were laughably wrong may be an entirely different matter.