Guns aren’t always for winning the war as we see in the movies! Over time their midget toy version has taken a large portion of human entertainment. As a child we must have used toy guns at least once and airsoft guns as adults. BB guns are one such air gun that uses metal projectiles as their ammunition instead of plastic or water substance. Coming back to you, you might have recently thought of owning such guns and having some fun within your property with friends. If that is so, the question ‘Can you shoot BB guns on your property might have crossed your mind.
The answer is mostly yes but under some conditions. Note that, these guns may be considered toys, but their metal ammunition can still pose some serious threat to humans or assets if shot at. In this article, we will go through under which circumstances you can or can’t shoot a BB gun in your backyard, what are the rules of having and using them, etc. Also, we have added some professional tips for using such BB guns on your property safely.
Can You Shoot BB Guns On Your Property?
Having a BB gun in your possession can be fun. Unlike airsoft guns, you can’t use them in your bedroom. So, the nearest possible gun range could be your backyard space, right? But before that, you might need to check a few ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ checklists regarding the use of BB guns on your property.
For that, you have to understand federal, state, and local administration gun laws. These laws don’t say much about the bindings of using BB guns on your property, but such regulations can portray an overall picture.
1. Federal Law
As per the Second Amendment, Federal law emphasizes that people of the United States have the right to possess firearms to protect themselves. Thus federal government has implemented a detailed law regarding the buying, selling, possession, and use of such firearms. But BB guns aren’t considered a lethal killing mechanism, thus you have to follow the state and local administration wise distinct laws.
2. State Law
Although federal law prohibits the states from passing laws prohibiting the sale of BB and pellet guns. However, states have the right to rearrange these laws without conflicting with the federal government. This means they may still regulate the sale of these guns, such as prohibiting sales to minors.
In most states, the laws that apply to firearms do not necessarily apply to BB guns. Only two states, New Jersey and Rhode Island define all non-powder guns such as those that fire BBs or pellets as “firearms”.
3. Local Law
Local firearms laws must abide the federal and state laws, but some further regulation into them. Such as, ‘It shall be unlawful for any person to shoot or discharge an air rifle within the city limits of the City of Albertville, Alabama’. As per Albertville authority, “air rifle” shall mean and include air guns, air pistols, pellet guns, pellet pistols, or any implement or device capable of propelling any slug, shot, pellet, or missile employing compressed air.
So the overall scenario stands out as, even if a person legally possesses a BB gun, he/she shall not discharge or fire it in compact areas unless they are on the land they own. However, even if a person is shooting a BB gun on their own property, damaging or hurting their surrounding people’s bodies or assets either knowingly or unknowingly, they could be charged with an offense.
In Rhode Island, firing in a compact area is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you could be sentenced to up to 1 year in prison and/or fined up to $500.
Different States’ BB Gun Law
BB guns are air guns that shoot small metal balls called BBs. They are often used for target shooting, plinking, and pest control. The laws and regulations relating to BB guns vary from state to state in the United States.
Here is a list of some states and their laws regarding BB guns:
- Alabama: There are no laws restricting or regulating non-powder guns or air rifles. Although different cities within the state have posed some disciplinary action if you possess or use a BB gun hazardously.
- Alaska: There are no laws restricting or regulating air-pressure rifles. However, In Alaska you must be 18 Years Old to purchase a BB gun, air gun, air rifle, or pellet gun, however, you can own one at 16 years old.
- Arizona: There are no laws restricting the use of non-powder rifles or BB guns. However Arizona law does not specifically address the use of BB guns on private property, so it is left up to each municipality to decide whether to allow it.
- California: BB guns are classified as imitation firearms, and it is illegal to display an air rifle in a public place. It is also unlawful to furnish a minor with a BB gun without their parent’s or guardian’s supervision.
- Colorado: It is generally illegal to fire a BB gun in a public place in most cities. However, the firing of air rifles can be done at any approved gun range.
- New Jersey: All non-powder guns such as those that fire BBs or pellets are defined as “firearms”. It is illegal to sell, purchase, or carry a BB gun without a valid firearms purchaser identification card (FPID).
- Rhode Island: All non-powder guns such as those that fire BBs or pellets are defined as “firearms.” It is illegal to sell, purchase, or carry a BB gun without a valid license to carry firearms (LTCF).
- New York City: A license is required to possess a BB gun. Also, state laws may not mention air guns such as BB gun laws, but local counties may have some restrictive laws.
- Connecticut: A person must be at least 16 years old to purchase a BB gun, and it is illegal to sell or transfer a BB gun to anyone under 16 years old without the written consent of their parent or guardian.
- Massachusetts: A person must be at least 18 years old to purchase a BB gun, and it is illegal to sell or transfer a BB gun to anyone under 18 years old without the written consent of their parent or guardian.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and it is always advisable to check with your local authorities before using a BB gun.
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Can You Carry A BB Gun Around?
It doesn’t matter if you own a real firearm or a BB gun, you are allowed to carry them until you fall under the eligible list, don’t carry it intending to show off or pose a threat to somebody. To give you an example, the State of California considers BB guns as ‘imitation firearms’. Under Penal Code 20170, it is a crime to display such firearms openly in places including:
- Parking lots
- Front yards
- Buildings open to the public
- Government buildings
- Secure areas of airports
- School grounds.
One major thing to add is, that commuting to other states with such guns may also be a subject of interrogation. Because, as mentioned, all the state’s relevant gun laws might not be the same. So reach out to your destined states law book and assure about it.
Tips To Safely Use A BB Gun On Your Property
If you’re eligible by every means to own and carry a BB gun yourself, then you should also be eligible to use it within your property. For that, you can follow these safety tips and avoid any accidents.
- Check Local Firearm Law: First thing first, you must check and implement local administrative gun laws. They are for your own and society’s safety. Ignoring local law won’t bring you anything other than problems.
- Select The Right Place: When you are using BB guns on your property, selecting the right place is very important. The place and its shooting direction must not be in line with any neighbor’s house or property.
- Add Protective Barriers: It is not unusual to miss some of your targets while firing. To ensure those may not end up in others’ land or houses, you can and should put a protective barrier in the backside of all the bullseye targets.
- Always Assume The Gun Is Loaded: BB guns may not be as lethal as real firearms, but their metal ammunition can surely hurt people. That’s why, to prevent any misfire, you should treat your gun loaded and ready to fire. This way you will be more careful while handling the gun.
- Keep The Gun Far From Minors: Your BB gun shouldn’t be in possession of any underage person by any means. Kids can start playing with such guns and can get hurt themselves or any other person.
To summarize, yes, you can shoot BB guns on your property, but only if your state or local gun law allows you to have such guns. You will also need to cooperate with those laws to ensure the proper safety of your and your surrounding assets. While almost all of the states allow you to have such BB guns, many see them as equivalent to real firearms, hence imposing user restrictions. Remember that, these restrictions are for the safety of society. Therefore, as an ideal citizen, you must obey them and use your BB gun in a manner that doesn’t harm anyone or anything. Using such guns carelessly can end up you being convicted for a long time.
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.