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We have successfully prototyped the airsoft Helio M726 Underbarrel Shotgun. We are now ready to produce the Helio M726 for mass consumption. But there are laws governing airsoft in the United States. We are going to analyze the law and make sure we deliver a quality product in the right manner. We will analyze the federal law and the California law, which is one of the strictest in the U.S. This analysis provides transparency and memorizes the decisions.
From 272.1, it's unclear how the Helio M726 is categorized. 1) 272.1 applies to "toy, look-alike, and imitation firearms (“devices”) having the appearance, shape, and/or configuration of a firearm". Helio M726 is a science fiction airsoft part, it does not look-like an imitation firearm, because a real version does not exist. But some people may consider the Helio M726 to look like a real underbarrel shotgun, even though it's much smaller than a real underbarrel shotgun and doesn't operate like one. 2) In 272.1 (b), 272 does not apply to BB and pellet-firing air guns, which means 272 does not apply to Helio M726.
Based on the analysis in previous paragraph, 272 should not apply to Helio M726. But it's always possible for someone to misinterpret. So let's see what we can do to comply. To comply, based on 272.2, we have to meet "272.3 Approved markings."
In 272.3, we can meet any of the five method of markings to satisfy 272.2. 272.3 (c) and 272 (d) are the easiest for us to satisfy. That would be distributing the Helio M726 using transparent/translucent materials or painted materials in white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple.
After analyzing the federal law, we determined that if the Helio M726 is interpreted as a BB shooting device, we will have no problem distributing it. If we interpret it as a toy imitation firearm, we can distributing it using transparent material or using appropriate colored material.
Based on the "Legal Definitions", the Helio M726 is not a "firearm". However, it is a "BB device".
12550 (c) defines "imitation firearm" as a device "that is so substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to perceive that the device is a firearm."
Helio M726 is a science fiction toy is not "so substantially similar" to an existing firearm, especially because it is drastically smaller than a modern day underbarrel shotgun. Although we do not feel Helio M726 qualifies as an "imitation firearm", there is a risk that "a reasonable person" would consider anything that looks like a barrel to be similar to an existing firearm. Due to this potential risk, we are going to play it safe and follow the "imitation firearm" law.
12551 disallows the sales of BB device to a minor. We have no intention of selling Helio M726 to a minor. Our point of sales is similar to other airsoft mail-order retailers, such as Airsoft Megastore and Evike. Our Sculpteo and Shapeways shops accept credit cards and other payment authorization that are only available to adults.
12554 (a) requires a conspicuous advisory at the time of offer for sale. We will definitely want to provide this advisory in the Helio M726 description.
12555 (c)(2) states that 12555 does not apply to the Helio M726, because we have identified it to be a "BB device" based on definition. In addition, Helio M726 is also exempt based on 12555 (c)(3), if we are to use a "white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, bright purple, transparent, or translucent" material for production. However, if we were to assume Helio M726 is an imitation firearm in section 12555, 12555 (b)(3) allows us to sell Helio M726 for use at an regulated airsoft field.
20165 is similar to 12555. The exemption for BB device is shown in 16700 (b)(2). In addition, 16700 (b)(3) allows the exemption to apply to device that are made out of "white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, bright purple, transparent, or translucent". Even if the Helio M726 is classified as an "imitation firearm", similarly to 12555 (b)(3), 20165 (b)(c) allows us to sell the Helio M726 "for use in a certified or regulated sporting event or competition."
Based on these analysis, we believe we can satisfy both federal and California laws at the same time. In order to do so, we have made the following production decisions:
1. The Helio M726 is going to be produced using these colors: white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, bright purple, transparent, or translucent.
2. We will provide a conspicuous advisory on our product description (at the time of offer for sale) that says the following: "WARNING: This product may be mistaken for a firearm by law enforcement officers or others. Altering the coloration or markings required by state or federal law or regulations so as to make this product look more like a firearm is dangerous, and may be a crime. Brandishing or displaying this product in public may cause confusion and may be a crime."
3. We will make a note in our product description identify this product is "for use in a certified or regulated sporting event or competition."
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:39:44 +0400
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