California Pellet Gun Laws

Pellet guns can be dangerously confused with their real counterparts.

Pellet guns are designed to shoot non-spherical metal projectiles of varying diameters. Pellet guns often look similar to firearms, but use less pressure to fire. While the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”, the state of California has nevertheless introduced various laws designed to protect its citizens from harm caused by pellet guns.

Advisory Warning

Californian law considers pellet guns to be imitation firearms. Shops that sell them are legally required to display a clear advisory warning on their packaging. The warning should state that the product may be construed as real by police officers and that altering an imitation firearm to make it look more realistic is illegal.

Sale and Distribution

Anyone found selling, distributing, shipping, manufacturing, purchasing or transporting a pellet gun for commercial purposes could be in receipt of a fine amounting to $10,000 for each violation.

Threatening Acts

Using a pellet gun to intimidate someone so that they have a fear for their personal safety is a misdemeanor. This includes drawing the gun or exhibiting it in a threatening manner.

Brandishment in Public

Exposing or displaying a pellet gun while in a public place will result in the gun’s owner being found guilty of either an infraction or a misdemeanor, depending on whether it is their first, second or third offense. The misdemeanor charge is brought when it is the third offense.

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