BB guns, first produced in 1914 by Daisy, were once seen as innocent children's toys. These days, however, they are more often seen as implements of injury in the hands of children and adults alike. BB guns rely on air pressure instead of gunpowder to propel tiny metal balls, or bullets, through the air with remarkable speed and force. Because of the use of air instead of gunpowder, the BB gun is not federally deemed a firearm. Currently there are no federal laws regarding BB guns but 19 states have enacted important prohibitive laws on the possession and use of these items.
Non-Powder Guns Deemed a Firearm
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New Jersey and Rhode Island have reclassified air guns to be treated as firearms when it comes to age and felony considerations. Children (age 18 and under) and other individuals such as ex-convicts are prohibited from possession and/or the purchase of firearms under federal law, but these states have expanded that prohibition to include air guns and rifles.
License to Sell
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Federal law dictates you must be a licensed dealer to sell firearms to the public. Chicago has expanded this law to include air guns in this category and requires the purchaser to obtain a permit from the superintendent of police. As before, minors and convicted felons are not allowed to purchase air guns or rifles.
School Grounds/Public Places
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Several states, such as California, North Carolina and Virginia, to name a few, prohibit the possession of air guns on school property. Cleveland prohibits possession of these BB and pellet guns in any public place. Check with local law enforcement to see what kinds of restrictions apply in your state.