Paintball is a fun sport enjoyed by many active individuals. When practiced responsibly and with the proper equipment, paintball is generally safe. However, there are laws in some states preventing the negligent use of a paintball gun and restricting the areas where the sport can be played. These laws are designed to protect the safety of the players and the public at large.
There are currently eight states that have regulations specific to paintball. In Rhode Island and New Hampshire, it is illegal to sell a paintball gun to a person under the age of 18. Illinois lowers the minimum age for paintball sales to 13. In Virginia, individual counties are permitted to make their own paintball ordinances. In Illinois, paintball use is illegal, unless played on designated target ranges. In New Hampshire, it is legal to expel a student who possesses a paintball gun. In Delaware, paintball is designated as an agrotourism activity, only permitted on farms.
Pennsylvania has a number of laws aimed at paintball play. Paintball guns must be transported in the trunk or storage area of a vehicle; they may not ride in the passenger area of a vehicle. Property damage resulting from a paintball gun comes with a criminal penalty. In addition, it is illegal to use a paintball gun against persons who are not participating in an actual game of paintball.
Paintball Guns as Weapons
In some states, such as New York and New Jersey, courts may define paintball guns as weapons or firearms, depending on circumstances. The New York Supreme Court ruled that a paintball gun with a C02 cartridge was technically an air-gun when it was used by a teen to harm another child. In New Jersey, a minor used a paintball gun to vandalize a parked car, and the paintball gun was considered a weapon.
Responsibility and Liability
In Florida, paintball players can be liable of negligence if they fail to comply with a few basic requirements. Paintball players must act within the limits of their own abilities and respect the original purpose and design of the paintball equipment they use. Players must also maintain control of the equipment they use, and refrain from any activity that may cause injury or death to a fellow player or bystander.
There are currently a few proposed bills in the state of Connecticut that have not become laws yet. One bill requires a 90-day driver’s license suspension, as well as 120 hours of community service, for anyone who fires a paintball gun from a motor vehicle. Another bill is designed to prevent children from shooting a paintball gun near any home or vehicle. Another is attempting to prohibit the use or possession of non-biodegradable paintball ammunition on municipal or state property.