The United States has many individual states like the State of Illinois, where they have their own rules and regulations about gun possession, carrying a gun or transporting a gun.
According to the State laws of Illinois an Airsoft gun is categorized as an Air Rifle, and is therefore regulated by the 720 Illinois Compiled Statute 535, or Air Rifle Act. This Rifle Act makes it illegal to sell, give, or rent an Air Rifle to anyone under the age of 13. As a minor, you may possess an Air Rifle when kept home or used on private grounds.
In this article I will refer to an Airsoft replica instead of an Airsoft gun. Replica is the right word to use, as it is an imitation.
As Airsoft replica’s looks very similar to a real weapon. It’s not only important if they’re illegal or not but also when you may carry an Airsoft replica or if it’s allowed to possess an Airsoft replica. I will try to find an answer in this article.
What exactly does the Illinois law states?
I want to highlight the main aspects of the Air Rifle Act as I think these are important to know as an Airsofter in Illinois.
Definition of an Air rifle
First, section 24.8-01 that states: “Air Rifle means and includes any air gun , air pistol, spring gun, spring pistol, B-B gun, paint ball gun, pellet gun or any implement that is not a firearm which impels a breakable paint ball containing washable marking colors or, a pellet constructed or hard plastic, steel, lead or other hard materials with a force that reasonably is expected to cause bodily harm…
So according to the Illinois State law, an Airsoft replica is classified as an Air Rifle.
Second, section 24.8-1 selling, renting, transferring air rifles to children: A dealer / person comits selling , renting, or transferring air rifles to children when he or she sells, lends, rents, gives or otherwise transfers an air rifle to any person under 13 years of age.
A dealer is obligated to make an inquiry relative to the age of the person. A person may sell to a child under 13 years of age when an adult can approve a relationship between parent and child.
So above the age of 13, in Illinois you’re allowed to buy an Airsoft replica by yourself. If you’re below 13 years of age you need to take your parents with you in order to buy an Airsoft replica.
Carrying and Transporting
Third, Section 24.8-2 Carrying or discharging rifles on public streets: A person under 13 years of age commits carrying or discharging air rifles on public streets when he or she carries an y air rifle on the public streets, roads, highways or public lands within this State, unless the person under 13 years of age carries the air rifle unloaded,
A person commits carrying or discharging air rifles on public streets when he or she discharge any air rifle from or across any street, sidewalk, road, highway or public land or any public place except on a safely constructed target range.
So Section 24.8-2 states that it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 13 to carry a loaded Airsoft replica on public property. This includes highways, roads and streets.
The possession of an Air rifle
Fourth, Section 24.8-3 Permissive possession of an Air Rifle: It is lawful for any person under 13 years of age to have in his or her possession any air rifle if it is :
- Kept within his or her house of residence or other private enclosure;
- Used by the persona and he or she is duly enrolled member of any club, team or society organized for educational purposes and maintaining as part of its facilities or having written permission to use an indoor or outdoor rifle range under the supervision guidance and instruction of a responsible adult and then only if the air rifle is actually being used in connection with the activities of the club team or society under the supervision of a responsible adult; or
- Used in or on any private grounds or residence under circumstances when the air rifle is fired, discharged or operated in a manner as not to endanger persons or property and then only if it is used in a manner as to prevent the projectile from passing over any grounds or space
outside the limits of the grounds or residence.
In summary: The possession of an Airsoft replica is allowed for minors under the age of 13 when
1). the replica is kept within the house or private property,
2). when the Airsoft replica is used for the purpose of the club activity and whereby the club or society is licensed.,
3). when the Airsoft replica is used in a private facility where shooting cannot be harm other people. So shooting in your backyard can be tricky here…
And what about Federal regulations?
In short I want to remind you on Federal Law regulations. Sometimes, it could be a little bit confusing on what is allowed or what not. Some rules and regulations in at the Federal Law are not stated at the local State law but they still apply to you in Illinois…
Orange Tip Law
Every imported or transported Airsoft gun should have a 6mm blaze orange tip on the muzzle of the gun. Is it allowed to remove the orange tip? Well again, it depends on local state laws. The State of Illinois didn’t mention any restrictions on removing the orange tip so I consider it as legal.
Purchase and carrying an Airsoft Replica
The use of an Airsoft replica is not restricted on any age. An Airsoft replica is not classified as a firearm by the United States Federal Law.
If you want to carry your Airsoft replica, please do not carry or transport it in public. Always use a locked case and be sure your Airsoft replica is safely stored. And what I mean by that is that it’s unloaded, away from your BBs.
As always, safety first. Whatever the law states, safety guidelines comes at first. Always wear eye protection, face protection and other safety gear. That means you need at least some goggles, mesh mask / face mask, boonie or tactical helmet. I recommend wearing gloves too.
Other apparel I do recommend are long sleeve, tactical pants and a good pair of boots. In this article I recommend several other Airsoft products which are essential for your safety. Or if you want some more tips for as being an Airsoft beginner, then check out this article.
Conclusion on Illinois Airsoft gun laws
On my opinion, Illinois is fairly relaxed about owning an Airsoft replica. It’s illegal to carry or use an Airsoft replica under the age of 13. With the guidance of their parents, someone below the age of 13 may buy an Airsoft replica.
As always it’s illegal to carry or transport your Airsoft replica in public. Always use a locked safe / bag en keep your ammo and magazines away from your replica.
If you have anything important to ad and I didn’t mention it yet, share it with me in the comments below!
Know that laws are about to change…
The Air Rifle Act was found on http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/97/097-1108.htm.