Airsoft guns look similar to actual firearms.
Airsoft is a game played with imitation guns that fire small, nonlethal plastic rounds. Airsoft guns are used for recreational purposes as well as for military and police training. The game of airsoft is nearly identical to paintball, the only difference being the type of weapon players use. Airsoft guns are legal in most regions in the United States; however, several states and municipalities ban or restrict the sale, manufacture, possession and use of airsoft guns.
Federal law requires all airsoft guns imported into or transported within the United States to display a 6mm-wide orange plastic tip on the barrel. This is to help law-enforcement officers distinguish airsoft guns from actual firearms. Several states require other brightly colored markings on airsoft guns, such as pink lines or orange stripes. Clear airsoft guns may also be mandated by local law to allow law enforcement to see the contents of the gun.
Although the federal law sets a minimum age of 18 to buy airsoft guns, there is no federal age minimum for using or selling airsoft weapons. However, several states do have minimum age limits to buy, use or sell airsoft guns, such as California, where the minimum age is 18. Additionally, many states allow minors under the age of 18 to possess and use airsoft guns when they are in the presence of their parents or with their parents’ written permission.
Some states and municipalities have banned airsoft guns. For instance, it is illegal to sell, possess, purchase or use airsoft guns in Arkansas, according to the Arkansas State Legislature website. Cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C, also have banned airsoft guns. Also, many cities throughout the United States have banned the use or discharge of airsoft guns within city limits.
According to FindLaw, someone who uses or brandishes an airsoft weapon in the commission of a crime is guilty of using a deadly weapon to commit a criminal act, usually a felony. For instance, someone who robs a bank with an airsoft pistol can be found guilty of armed robbery. A person who brandishes an airsoft gun during a fight can be found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. The law makes no distinction between airsoft guns and actual firearms in this case.