If you want to buy an air gun, such as a pellet gun, AirSoft or BB gun, the state of Florida makes it relatively easy for you to do so. Florida has fairly permissive gun laws compared to other states, and its laws regulating firearms do not technically cover air guns. The only legal restriction is that you have to be at least 16 years old.
Classification of Air Guns
Since air guns do not use an explosive charge to shoot a projectile, Florida law takes the stance that they cannot legally be considered firearms. There are other states that put air guns into the "dangerous weapon" category and regulate them that way. These regulations typically are less comprehensive than firearms regulations, but penalties for violations can still be severe. However, the state of Florida doesn't classify air guns as dangerous weapons, either. This means that pretty much anyone in Florida can own an air gun if they want one, without restriction, including convicted felons.
Read More: Laws for Air Guns
Lack of Restrictions
Since air guns are neither firearms nor weapons under Florida law, you are free to carry them virtually anywhere. The laws that restrict firearms in government buildings or schools, for example, do not apply specifically to air guns. Schools typically have their own regulations regarding BB guns and other air guns, so the air gun may be confiscated as contraband. If a child brought a BB gun to school, it would be a local incident, not one that needed to be reported to the state.
Hunting With Air Guns
The hunting of most wild game with air guns is prohibited under Florida law, but you can use air guns to hunt gray squirrel, rabbit and wild hogs. Furbearers such as raccoons, opossum, coyote, beaver and skunk can also be hunted using air guns. Shooting foxes is prohibited, although you can chase them with dogs.
When hunting with air guns, you must obey all other Florida hunting regulations, including obtaining a license and staying within bag limits. However, much of the wildlife that can be hunted with air guns can be hunted year-round without limitation. It is illegal in Florida for convicted felons to own firearms, but since air guns are not considered firearms, a convicted felon may own air guns for hunting as long as he has a proper hunting license.
In Florida, an air gun is not legally considered a firearm or a weapon. Anyone 16 or older can own air guns, including AirSoft, pellet and BB guns, without restriction. No licenses or permits are needed.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Florida Statutes
- Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: Non-Powder and Toy Guns
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Legal Methods of Taking Resident Game
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Hunting With a Felony Conviction
- Florida Department of Education: School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting – Weapons
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Furbearer Hunting Regulations and Falconry
- Online Sunshine: The 2017 Florida Statutes
Jennifer Mueller has a J.D. from the University of Indiana, Maurer School of Law. She has been sharing her legal knowledge on the internet since 2009. Mueller has been published in the Indiana Law Journal, and her writing appears on legal websites such as LegalZoom.