Airsoft guns are firearm recreations that use compressed air to fire pellets. Airsoft guns are used to simulate war games in a manner similar to paintball guns, except that the pellets don't leave as much of a mess. There are numerous state laws that apply to airsoft guns, even in Pennsylvania.
Airsoft guns in Pennsylvania must be sold with an orange tip on the end of the barrel that marks the gun as an airsoft replica and not as an actual firearm. This orange tip may be removed after the airsoft gun is purchased at consumers' own discretion, since the airsoft might be mistaken for a real gun after that. The reason for the tip is because many airsoft guns come from Asian countries, and thus they have to be imported. The orange tip marks an airsoft gun and helps keep it separate from actual firearms.
Airsoft guns are not, according to Pennsylvania law, firearms. This means that you don't need a permit to buy, own or carry an airsoft gun. Nor do you need to be 21-years-old to buy an airsoft gun as you would be to purchase a real handgun. Airsoft guns are considered to be BB guns or firearm replicas, depending on the section of the state of Pennsylvania that you happen to be in. Typically you need to be between 16- and 18-years-old to purchase an airsoft gun by yourself, or younger with parental permission.
Airsoft guns, though not considered weapons, can be used to commit crime in the state of Pennsylvania. For instance, if you fire an airsoft weapon at someone who isn't a part of an airsoft game and who doesn't consent to this treatment, you could be committing assault. Additionally, if you take an airsoft gun and modify it to look even more realistic, and then you use it to commit crimes such as robbery you can be charged with use of a firearm replica in furtherance of a crime, which is a worsening offense.
Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.