Where does that leave those of us who use pneumatics and other non-aerosol powered guns? How about breech* loaders?
In my state, a firearm is defined as:
"Firearm" means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semi-automatic rifle, or any gun, device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet, missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances. It shall also include, without limitation, any firearm which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in
diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.
My next project is going to be a semi-automatic nerf launcher.
It will be powered by carbon dioxide.
Each nerf dart will be 1/2" in diameter.
Each nerf dart will be contained in a "shell".
The loaded shells will enter the gun through a breech*, and the spent shells will be ejected out of a side port.
Some of the features of my project would possibly cause it to fall under the category of a firearm, though I think there may be certain loopholes.
First, the ammo will be foam cord cut to 2" lengths. I'm not sure if foam meets the requirement of a solid projectile.
Second, the "shells" it uses are not quite shells in the sense that they do not contain any propellant like a real weapon, they just house the projectiles because they are too flimsy load properly on their own.
Third, the darts are 1/2" in diameter. 1/2" > 3/8"
Fourth, the velocity will be regulated to a VERY safe level and injuries will not be possible.
The launcher will be used in recreational nerf wars with my friends. We've been doing this for two summers using actual toy nerf launchers. The police in town have always been aware of it and have had no problems with our games.
I'm afraid that I will get in trouble for using this launcher, though I don't see it as being much different than ordinary nerf launchers we've been using. There are several toy Nerf guns that I've seen which use compressed air bladders and others which use shells. If those are okay, mine should be as well.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Or at least on the point I raised about the ATF letter?
Any input is much appreciated.