In the United States there are eight states that regulate paintball guns or paintball activities in a number of different ways. Within these states, many different laws regulate the use and transportation of such weapons, and carry a variety of consequences.
In some states, paintball guns have been classified as a “weapon.” Laws regulating the sale, use or transportation of weapons can and do apply to paintball guns in New York and New Jersey. A New York Supreme Court judge ruled that a gun using carbon dioxide was an “air-gun” and was governed by the state's criminal laws.
Three states – Illinois, New Hampshire and Rhode Island – have laws regulating the sale of a paintball gun to, and the possession of a paintball gun by, minors. New Hampshire and Rhode Island both prohibit individuals under 18 years old from buying or owning a paintball gun, and Illinois prohibits those under than 13 from owning a paintball gun. A minor is only permitted to use a paintball gun while at home or at an approved firing range. In both cases, minors must be under parental supervision.
In states where paintball guns are considered a “weapon,” the transportation of such guns is illegal or highly regulated. Pennsylvania, for instance, has imposed strict requirements regarding transporting a paintball gun in a vehicle. It is only legal to transport a paintball gun if it is emptied of all paintballs, the propellant source on the marker is not connected, the paintballs are stored in a closed container, and the actual gun is secured in a wrapper or box.
Many laws have been put into place limiting where a paintball gun can and cannot be used. It is prohibited to discharge a paintball gun by a street or road, sidewalk, highway, and in public land except for a target range.
Other states have different regulations on the use of paintball guns. Delaware only allows the use of these weapons on a farm, New Hampshire allows schools to expel students for possession of a paintball gun, Pennsylvania prohibits the use of paintball guns outside a game or activity, and two states, Delaware and Virginia, permit towns to adopt ordinances relating to the use of a paintball gun.