My buddy, “Lost Lamb,” turned me onto this story from his ancestral homeland of China (that’s a video link). As it turns out, the People’s Republic of China isn’t big on gun rights, heavily restricting even airsoft guns and other toys that we would never, ever, even in the worst imaginable scenario of “common sense” gun legislation, consider to be “firearms.”
The short version is: 18-year-old guy in Fujian province, named Liu Dawei, orders 24 toy guns from an e-tailer out of Taiwan. They seem to disappear in the mail, but were actually intercepted by the government. Liu finds this out when he’s arrested a couple months later and is charged with arms trafficking.
At some point there was a trial, although I’m not sure when the trial started or how long it lasted, but we know it was a year later when the judge gave Liu his sentence: life in prison. Apparently the judge thought the death penalty was more appropriate, but scaled it back due to Liu’s young age.
The crux of the issue here is how China defines a “firearm.” It’s basically anything with a barrel that can fire a projectile with at least 1.8 joules of kinetic energy (~1.328 ft-lbs), or has an appearance so realistic (in shape, size, and color) that it’s indistinguishable from a real gun. 20 of the 24 toys Liu imported met one or both of these descriptions.
For the record, shooting a 0.20 gram airsoft BB, 440 fps equates to 1.8 joules. This is actually a fairly powerful airsoft gun, but there’s no shortage of them available at toy stores, on Amazon, etc, that meet or exceed this spec.
Liu barely escaped the death penalty, instead getting sentenced to life in prison for buying toys. This is what happens to a disarmed populace.