There are a great many proverbs and quotes dealing with idle hands and idle minds. The title above is attributed to an old English proverb. I think they all must have had something like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – ATF – in mind when they first uttered it.
Last Friday, the ATF released ATF Ruling 2010-4 dealing with AirSoft replica M-16’s. The key part of the ruling was its holding:
Held, air gun (i.e., a gun that expels a projectile using compressed air, carbon dioxide, propane, or similar gas) replicas of AR/M-16 variant firearms that provide housing for a hammer and firing mechanism with substantially the same design as AR/M-16 variant firearm receivers, and mounting points for attaching an upper assembly containing a barrel and bolt, are firearm frames or receivers, and are, therefore, firearms, as that term is defined by 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3)(B), and its implementing regulation, 27 CFR 478.11.
This must have been considered so embarrassing by some in the Department of Justice that it has now disappeared from the ATF website. According to Google, it was there on November 9th when they cached it. However, it is now gone.
I don’t know any sane person who would try to put pot metal AirSoft parts together with an AR upper and then try to fire a live round. But then again this was the same Firearms Technology Branch which at one time had decreed that a shoestring was a machine gun. It is the same Firearms Technology Branch that decided the fake can or barrel shroud on the American Tactical Imports’ GSG-5 SD should be regulated under the National Firearms Act.
Perhaps a better quote regarding the ATF comes from British statesman and diplomat Lord Chesterfield – “Idleness is the only refuge of weak minds, and the holiday of fools.” If only they would go on a permanent holiday!