16 This bill would clarify that “airsoft” guns constitute firearms and
17 therefore are subject to this State’s strict laws regulating the sale,
18 possession, and use of firearms.
19 Airsoft guns are replica firearms used primarily for sporting and
20 recreational purposes, including military games. They use
21 compressed-air, gas, or spring or electric-operated pistons to shoot
22 non-metallic pellets or balls. Because these guns shoot plastic
23 rather than metal pellets, it is not clear under current law whether
24 they are considered firearms similar to “BB” guns. Therefore, the
25 bill revises the definition of a firearm by specifying that any air
26 gun, spring gun, gun utilizing a gas or electric-operated piston,
27 pistol, including one that is shoulder-fired, or similar weapon which
28 ejects a pellet or ball made of polymer or metallic-coated polymer
29 constitutes a firearm. Under this revised definition, airsoft guns
30 would be considered firearms and regulated similar to BB guns.
31 For example, a person would have to be at least 21 years of age to
32 purchase an airsoft handgun or 18 years of age to purchase airsoft
33 rifles. The person also would have to obtain a permit to purchase
34 the gun, pass a criminal background check, and not be subject to
35 any disqualifications for firearms ownership.