In January 2016, the California State introduced the Airsoft law “SB 199”. This law will regulate Airsoft replica’s and other imitations. This will give them distinctive features that would distinguish them as toys instead or real firearm. How will Airsoft replica’s look like with the new provisions? You can read all about it in this article.
What The California Law States
Section 1: Section 16250 of the Penal Code:
16250. (a) As used in this part, “BB device” means any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, not exceeding 6mm caliber, through the force of air pressure, gas pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun.
Section 2: Section 16250 of the Penal Code:
16250. (a) As used in this part, “BB device” means any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, gas pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun.
Section 3: Section 16700 of the Penal Code:
16700. (a) As used in this part, “imitation firearm” means any BB device, toy gun, replica of a firearm, or other device that is so substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to perceive that the device is a firearm.
The California State Airsoft laws seems to have one of the most restrictions for “imitation firearms”. That is mainly due to the Senate Bill No. 199 , which I will further analyze in this article. This bill is an act to amend, repeal and add Sections 16250 and 16700 to the Penal Code. The Penal Code forms the basis for the application of criminal law.
What is illegal under California Law?
1. The California Senate Bill No. 199 makes it illegal for anyone to purchasing, selling, manufacturing, shipping, transporting, distributing or receiving an imitation firearm. But, with the following exceptions:
-Specific coloration requirements: where the entire surface of the device is white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple or
-Specific construction requirements: constructed of transparent or translucent materials.
The Airsoft law do not apply for both exceptions.
2. Furthermore it’s illegal to sell or furnish Airsoft/BB replica’s to anyone under 18 without parents permission. (section 19910)
3. Further it’s not allowed to openly expose any imitation firearm in a public place. Here you can check wat a public place means. Only an Airsoft field is excluded. (section 20170). However, when your Airsoft replica is packaged or concealed and not subject to public viewing you may carry this gun – with an explainable reason – to a shop or field or something else related. (2)
Legality of an Airsoft replica in California
For Airsoft rifles, shotguns and other long guns the following are required:
- All Airsoft guns require to have fluorescent coloration over the trigger guard and then 2 of these other tree are going to be necessary: magazine, pistol grip, buffer tube or stock. So it could be done on an M4 but also on any other Airsoft gun whether it has a stock or not or whether it has a pistol grip or not.
- A blaze orange tip on the front of the muzzle or blaze orange strip on both sides of the barrel.
For handguns and pistols:
- A blaze orange muzzle or blaze orange strip on both sides of the barrel
- Trigger guard with fluorescent coloration over the entire guard
- A wide adhesive band (2cm) around the pistol grip that has fluorescent coloration
When you’re in California it’s illegal to furnish or carry an Airsoft replica if you are not 18 years or above. So therefore it’s also prohibited to sell an Airsoft replica these minors.
Second, the California law prohibit an Airsoft replica that is a look-alike of a real firearm. In color and overall appearance. That is actually the main reason why an Airsoft replica is not allowed.The reason for being a look-alike causes many accidents in the past. Therefore the law prohibit to expose your Airsoft replica in public or to take it to a public area like school.
To avoid confusion with real firearm, do not remove the orange tip or other bright colored marks to make it look more real. Especially when you carry or transport you gun. If take the tip off you can still play at legal fields but you do need to transfer it like a real firearm.
Now this is not legal advice and there is no client-attorney relationship. If you want a real legal opinion you should talk to a California lawyer. If you have something to add or any questions leave a comment. Check you city and municipal law too because the might have their own Airsoft gun law.