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Is it Legal to Buy Airsoft Guns?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

If you are thinking about purchasing an Airsoft gun, you better take a good look at the laws where you live because it's not always clear when buying an Airsoft gun is legal.

Airsoft guns are considered by many to be a toy, and they are becoming increasingly popular among children and teens. However, as these guns have the ability to fire projectiles at a high speed, they can be a safety concern.

Federal, state, and local governments have all passed laws affecting Airsoft guns.

Generally, federal laws provide that someone must be 18 years of age or older to purchase an Airsoft gun. However, as these guns are not classified as firearms, a person of any age can use them. So an adult can purchase an Airsoft gun for a six-year-old, and the child would legally be allowed to use it.

Given the obvious dangers of a child with such a gun, many municipalities and states have passed their own regulations that do limit who can use them. For example, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and parts of Michigan outlaw Airsoft guns entirely.

In addition, federal laws also require that Airsoft guns have a barrel with a minimum 6mm wide blaze orange tip. The orange tip is critical for safety reasons as Airsoft guns can look very similar to a real gun. There have been instances where someone was shot by law enforcement officers on the mistaken belief that a toy gun was in fact a real gun. It is illegal to remove the orange tip.

Some states like California also make it illegal brandish any look-alike gun in public. This may be true regardless of the orange tip.

Consumers should look into their local and state laws to see if it is legal to own an Airsoft gun. Knowledgeable and reputable local dealers of the guns will provide this information. But even after legally purchasing the gun, users must exercise caution with the weapon and be careful in situations where the gun may be mistaken for a real firearm.

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