Daisy Outdoor Products is one of those companies that doesn't get the publicity it deserves, and that's a shame, especially this time of year. Quick show of hands: Who got a Red Ryder under the Christmas tree when they were younger?
The tradition continues in many families, but when T.R. Smith-grandfather of six-tried to pass along that heritage, he ran into an odd situation. His wife ordered targets for their 9-year-old grandson, who had already saved up enough money and purchased a BB gun. Unfortunately, the company said it wouldn't ship BBs because they were a restricted item in Michigan.
He got on the phone the next morning and complained to the company, "Can't ship BBs, pellets, air guns or knives, to Michigan," he said. "Huh, I've bought ammo, high-capacity mags, and pepper blasters from you guys but you won't ship BBs?" The person on the other end at the online retailer grew irritated and hung up.
Michigan statutes read: "The word firearm, except as otherwise defined in the statutes, shall be construed to include any weapon from which a dangerous projectile may be propelled by using explosive gas or air as a means of propulsion, except any smooth bore rifle or handgun designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling BBs, not exceeding .177 caliber by means of spring, gas or air." So a BB gun with no rifling, like the Red Ryder is fine, but you'll need a background check for just about everything else pneumatic.
But, the lack of ammo is a sore spot, and in my cursory look at the state's regulations, I couldn't find .177-caliber BBs mentioned. I may have missed it, but surmise it could be a business decision by the mail-order company to avoid legal problems and forcing phone staff to grapple with legal eccentricities like this.
I asked Daisy Outdoor Vice President of Public Relations Joe Murfin if he'd heard of such a thing. "BB guns and airguns are not firearms and, for the most part, consumers can purchase them in most cities and states," he said. "However, before you purchase an airgun it's important to know the laws of the state and municipalities in which you live. Some cities, for example, have ordinances that restrict shooting an airgun within the city limits and some only allow shooting at a gun range or within an organized program."
Why go through all the trouble? "Just about everyone takes their first shot with a Daisy BB gun and we're proud to be such an important part of the lives of today's shooters and hunters," Murfin said. "There will be a lot of young people receiving their first BB gun this Christmas. Those parents and grandparents are carrying on a wonderful tradition and helping us protect our Second Amendment rights and preserving the shooting sports for another generation. Additionally, they're building a unique relationship with their kids and grandkids that will lead to hours of conversation about shooting safety and skills, hunting ethics and the responsibility that comes with the ownership of every airgun and every gun."
Oh, and if you want to put something nostalgic under the tree this year, how about the limited-edition Christmas Dream Red Ryder-complete with sundial and compass in the stock-seen in the photo. Only 2,500 will be made, with expedited shipping it can still arrive before Santa and the price is $89.99. The fact it's from a company that does so much for our nation's youth, like the Annual Daisy National BB Gun Championship, makes it an even better deal.