California Pellet Gun Laws

••• gun in close up image by Alexey Klementiev from

In the state of California, several laws dictate the use and sale of BB guns, air guns and pellet guns. The state defines a BB gun as any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a BB or pellet, through the force of air pressure, gas pressure or spring action. Any spot marker gun is also classified under this category, according to the law. In 2016, a new law took effect in the state that made it a requirement for Airsoft BB guns and pellet guns to be decorated in bright markings to distinguish them from real firearms.

California BB Gun Laws in 2018

In California, not just anyone can buy a BB gun. In fact, it’s prohibited to sell a BB gun to anyone under the age of 18 or provide one to minors without their parents’ permission. In addition, this sort of weapon is not permitted on the grounds of any public or private school without permission. If you own a gun like this, you are not allowed to draw it or use it in a threatening manner in a public place. Additionally, the state prohibits you from drawing your weapon in a public place. In any area like a government building or public transit facility that specifically states BB guns are not permitted, it is a violation of California law to possess one.

In addition, it is prohibited under California’s state law to purchase, sell, manufacture, ship, transport, distribute or receive an imitation firearm for commercial purposes unless specific guidelines are met. For instance, if the gun is historically significant or a collector’s item, doing so may be permitted.

Airsoft Regulations in California

Laws in the state of California regarding airsoft guns are the same as those regarding BB or pellet guns, because they meet the characteristics outlined in the state’s 2008 Dangerous Weapons Control Law. This means that Airsoft guns cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18, must not be used on school grounds, cannot be drawn in a public place and must not be made to appear like a traditional firearm.

CA DOJ Roster

As of 2001, the state of California prohibits any handguns from being manufactured, imported, lent, given or sold unless its model has passed firing, safety and drop tests and is certified by the state’s Department of Justice. According to the state, only private party transfers, curio/relic handguns, certain single-action revolvers, and consignment returns are exempt. BB guns and other air-, gas- or spring-powered guns do not fall into this category, however.

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