Various states and localities have different laws regarding air guns commonly known as pellet guns. The federal government does not have any laws regulating air guns. An air pistol or an air rifle is considered to be a non-powder gun.
There are many states that do not have air gun laws. The following is a list of states that do not have those laws: Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Alaska.
The following states have some sort of pellet gun laws in place: Washington, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
There are no Federal laws about air guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives states that:
“The term ‘firearm’ is defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Section 921 (a) (3), to include ‘(A) any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon…’ Based on Section 921 (a) (3), air guns, because they use compressed air and not an explosive to expel a projectile, do not constitute firearms under Federal law – unless they are manufactured with the frames or receivers of an actual firearm. Accordingly, the domestic sale and possession of air guns is normally unregulated under the Federal firearms laws enforced by ATF.”
In Washington it is prohibited to willfully discharge an air gun in a public place, or at any place where a person could be endangered. They also prohibit someone from carrying or possessing an air pistol or air rifle that uses compressed air, carbon dioxide, or other gas at or in a public or private school, school bus, or any area used by a public or private school.
California law prohibits the selling of air guns to persons under the age of eighteen. Also, it is prohibited to furnish an air gun to a person under age of eighteen of the minor’s parent or legal guardian. It is illegal to possess an air pistol or air rifle on the grounds of a public or private school in the grades K-12 without permission of the school’s principal.
It is also illegal to draw or brandish an air gun in a threatening manner. Openly displaying an air gun in a public place is prohibited. A person may not posses an air gun in the area of a public transit facility.
In Colorado, a student will be under mandatory expulsion if they bring an air gun to school. This includes carrying, bringing, possessing, or using an air pistol or air rifle.
North Dakota defines air guns as dangerous weapons. Therefore, any law in the Criminal or Weapons sections of the North Dakota Century Code that refer to dangerous weapons also includes air pistols and air rifles.
Minnesota prohibits the carrying of an air gun in a public place. A person may not exhibit, display, or brandish an air gun in a threatening manner. Causing terror to others is illegal. It is also illegal to furnish an airgun to a child under the age of fourteen without the child’s parent or guardian’s consent. Within a city it is illegal to provide a minor (a person under the age of 18) and airgun without his or her guardian or parent’s consent. An air gun cannot be possessed or stored on school property.
Missouri prohibits those persons that are intoxicated from possessing an air pistol or air rifle. A person may not possess a “projectile weapon” that could cause death. An airgun is a “projectile weapon.” Shooting an airgun in a municipality is regulated at the municipality level.Supervision could be required of any minor under the age of twelve.
In Wisconsin, it is illegal to possess or carry an air pistol or air rifle on school property.
In Illinois, certain air guns are considered as firearms. Generally, this excludes air guns of 18 caliber or less that have a muzzle velocity less than 700 feet per second.
Michigan law defines high-power and/or large caliber air pistols and air rifles as firearms. Michigan also prohibits anyone under the age of eighteen from possessing or using an air gun.
In Mississippi, it is illegal to possess an air gun on school property.
Maine prohibits giving, selling, offering to sell, or furnishing a child under the age of sixteen with an air pistol or air rifle.
Massachusetts prohibits a person from furnishing an air pistol or an air rifle to a person under eighteen. A person under the age of eighteen may not possess an air gun while in any place that has right of access unless he or she is accompanied by an adult.
In New York it is illegal for anyone under the age of sixteen to possess an air pistol or air gun.
Rhode Island law says that all air guns are classed as firearms. This ensures that felons that can’t have firearms also can’t have air pistols or air rifles.
Connecticut prohibits any person from carrying an air gun. They also ban the possession of an air gun in a vehicle.
In New Jersey, the law reads that all air pistols and air rifles are considered as firearms. This means they follow all restrictions and regulations of firearms. In order to buy an airgun, a person must obtain a permit to buy the weapon.
In Pennsylvania, a person may not sell, give, or lend an air pistol or air rifle to any person under the age of eighteen. A person under the age of eighteen may not carry an air gun on the highways or public lands unless they are with an adult.
In Delaware it is illegal to own an airgun that shoots a projectile greater than a BB shot. The sale or control of such an air gun is also prohibited. A person may not supply an airgun to a child under the age of sixteen. Only the child’s parent or guardian may give a sixteen year old an airgun. No one may possess an air gun in a school or recreation area.
In Virginia the law authorizes a locality to restrict the use of air guns in heavily populated areas where doing so would be dangerous to the citizens. A parent or guardian must supervise a child below the age of sixteen using an air gun. Minors above the age of sixteen need written permission to use an air gun in any place designated for that use by local authorities. However, there are no ordinances prohibiting the firing of an air gun at approved firing ranges, property where firearms can be discharged, or private property so long as the projectiles don’t cross property boundaries.
In North Carolina, persons under the age of twelve to use or possess an air gun. It is illegal for someone to encourage or cause a minor who is less than eighteen years old to possess an air gun.
In South Carolina and Georgia, a person may not possess an air gun at any park or recreational facility.
In Florida, it is illegal to allow a minor under the age of sixteen to use an air gun without the supervision of an adult that has the minor’s parent’s permission.
The air gun laws by state vary. There are many similarities and differences. There are a number of states that do not have air gun laws. If you have any further questions regarding pellet gun laws in your area, its recommended you get in touch with local law enforcement.
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