They don't have any sales -- or anything to sell, for that matter. But that hasn't stopped the five souls who make up Red Eye Arms Inc. from shaking up Capitol Hill. For about a year now, Congress has been debating how and whether to regulate plastic guns, and a compromise bill is expected to pass the Senate shortly. The odd thing is, nobody makes plastic guns, and the only company that even claims to have the technology is Red Eye, a tiny start-up headquartered in some renovated railcars in Winter Park, Fla. "We're legislating against something that doesn't exist," admits H. D. Palmer, spokesman for Idaho Senator Jim McClure, who sponsored one of the plastic-gun bills.
So what will plastic guns be like, if and when they are made? Light, durable, and almost recoilless, says Red Eye. Detectable in airports, insists Congress. That requirement will be no problem, according to Dwight Brunoehler, Red Eye's vice-president. While arguing that the company is interested only in the military market, he says magnetic chips would be permanently embedded in the guns to make them set off metal detectors. All that's speculation, though: right now Red Eye has no product or proof it can produce one, just a patent on plastic-gun technology. But Brunoehler says the company plans to have prototype plastic grenade launchers ready to show the Marines in 18 to 24 months. And after that? "I'm convinced that, ultimately, we'll replace every weapon on earth."