Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pass the Potatoes

Here's a little gem from
(A29) Are "potato guns" or "spud guns" legal? [Back]

"Potato guns" or "spud guns" generally consist of sections of PVC plastic tubing and fittings and are designed to launch a muzzle-loaded potato (or other similar-size projectile) using hair spray or other aerosol vapor as a propellant. The propellant is ignited by means of a barbecue grill igniter or other similar ignition system.

Section 5845(f), Title 26, United States Code, regulates certain weapons as "destructive devices" which are subject to the registration and tax provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA). Section 5845(f)(2) includes within the definition of "destructive device" any type of weapon which will or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel of which has a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter. However, section 5845(f)(3) excludes from the definition of "destructive device" any device which is neither designed or redesigned for use as a weapon and any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device. The definition of "destructive device" in the Gun Control Act (GCA), 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, is identical to that in the NFA.

ATF has previously examined "potato guns" or "spud guns" as described above and has generally determined that such devices using potatoes as projectiles and used solely for recreational purposes are not weapons and do not meet the definition of "firearm" or "destructive device" in either the NFA or GCA. However, ATF has classified such devices as "firearms" and "destructive devices" if their design, construction, ammunition, actual use, or intended use indicate that they are weapons. For example, ATF has classified such devices as "firearms" and "destructive devices" if they are designed and used to expel flaming tennis balls.

Possession and use of "potato guns" or "spud guns" may be restricted under State laws and local ordinances. Further, any person intending to make, use, or transfer any such device must be aware that they have a potential for causing serious injury or damage.

Flaming tennis balls, eh? And I was just planning on storming the state senate beginning with a barage of flaming tennis balls. I wonder if this applies to any flaming balls?

Then there's this
(A30) How do I obtain a classification from ATF for my "potato gun"? [Back]

ATF is unable to respond to e-mail requests for classification of "potato guns," "spud guns," or other similar devices. Any person desiring a classification of such devices must submit a written request to the Director executed under penalty of perjury and include a complete and accurate description of the device, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the purpose of and use for which it is intended, and such photographs, diagrams, or drawings as may be necessary to make a classification. A final determination may require physical examination of the device. Such requests for classification should be submitted to:

Bureau of ATF
Firearms Technology Branch
244 Needy Road
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Ain't bureaucracy great?


Blogger BobG said...

If you use a sweet potato, does it change the classification? What about a yam?

4/10/2006 3:01 PM  
Blogger carnaby said...

You probably have to pay a tax for manufacturing a new device for each type of ordinance you shoot with it.

4/10/2006 3:34 PM  

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