If you love shooting paintballs, then you may want to ask yourself if you can call your gun a firearm. After all, the ATF classifies paintball guns as air rifles, not firearms.
The government has a long history of classifying objects as firearms or not. But that doesn’t mean that all air guns are equal, right?
When it comes to the classification of a weapon, there are several factors that go into the decision.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the legal implications of calling your air rifle a firearm and why you may want to think twice before doing so.
What is the definition of a firearm?
The short answer is: “A firearm is any device designed to be fired with ammunition.” But what does that mean? And what if your “device” isn’t designed to be fired at all? Or what if it fires without ammunition? Or what if it fires only blanks?
In the United States, the definition of a firearm is very broad. In some countries, it is much more restrictive. For example, in New Zealand, you need a license to own a firearm. And in the United Kingdom, you need a permit to own almost any type of weapon.
In the U.S., the definition of a firearm is so broad, it includes things like bump-fire stocks and paintball guns. In fact, the ATF classifies these items as “non-firearms” even though they are designed to be fired. This is because they are not designed to be fired with ammunition. They are designed to be fired with something called “dummy rounds.” These are small gelatin or plastic rounds that have no explosive force whatsoever.
By the way, did you know that in most states, it is legal to own a fully automatic weapon without a permit or license? The only requirements are that you register the weapon and pay a tax.
Can paintball guns be considered firearms?
Let’s take a look at how the ATF classifies a paintball gun.
First off, we have to make sure that our gun is indeed a paintball gun, not a real firearm. The ATF classifies paintball guns as air rifles because they are designed to be used with air-powered pellets that fire a non-lethal projectile.
The pellets are contained inside a chamber which prevents them from injuring people or damaging property. If you take the barrel and chamber apart, it won’t hurt anyone or anything.
A real firearm, on the other hand, is defined as “a weapon designed or redesigned to fire a projectile by using an explosion of gas or other combustion products to generate sufficient force to drive a projectile through a medium.”
This means that a real firearm is a weapon that uses a propellant to launch a projectile. A paintball gun is not.
Do you need a permit for a paintball gun?
Paintball guns are not classified as firearms by the Federal government, but they are regulated as such by most states.
In some states, you need a license to purchase or own one, while in others, you don’t. Some states require you to register your paintball gun, while in other states, you are exempt from doing so.
The laws pertaining to the ownership and use of paintball guns vary widely from state to state. Many states only regulate them as firearms if they have a barrel less than 16 inches long.
This means that, in most cases, you can walk into any of the more than 40,000 retail outlets that sell paintball equipment and buy an air rifle that is fully legal for you to own and use in your state.
What are the laws related to paintball guns and firearms?
Paintball guns and firearms aren’t always treated the same in terms of their legality. While some states allow both, others ban both. And in some states, you can use a paintball gun to hunt, but not a firearm. To understand what each state considers a firearm, we need to talk about the three categories that ATF classifies weapons into:
- Firearms – these are any weapons designed to shoot a projectile by using an explosive charge that is detonated with a trigger.
- Non-firearms – these are any weapons designed to shoot a projectile that is propelled by some other method, such as compressed gas or spring force.
- Air guns – these are any weapon that uses pressurized air as a propellant. So if you’re planning on buying a paintball gun, it’s important to know what the laws are in your area.
The first thing to check is whether your state allows you to own a paintball gun. This is because not all states allow the possession of paintball guns. In most states, you can possess a paintball gun if you’re at least 16 years old and have a permit to carry it.
If you’re under the age of 18, you’ll need parental permission. Some states also have laws that prevent you from owning a paintball gun without a license. For example, in Alabama, you need a license to own or operate a paintball gun.
A few states even ban paintball guns outright. For example, in Mississippi, you can’t possess or use a paintball gun unless it has been registered as a firearm. If you’re planning on getting a paintball gun, you should check the local laws and regulations before you buy.
The bottom line:
The law has determined that paintball guns are not firearms. However, many of the features of paintball guns, such as the fact that they use air pressure to propel projectiles, are similar to the features of firearms. This similarity allows the law to classify them as firearms under some circumstances. For example, if someone is convicted of possessing a firearm, it would be a violation for him to possess the same firearm without a permit.