A Modern Primer to California Law Regarding Airsoft Guns

By Justin Stakes

Imitation Firearms
Imitation Firearms
US Rifle M14 Airsoft Replica
US Rifle M14 Airsoft Replica

California -(Ammoland.com)- Airsoft guns and other ersatz or replicated firearms have become increasingly popular among gun enthusiasts and participants in recreational Airsoft shooting sport competitions throughout the world.

The competitive sport and competition involving the use of an Airsoft gun is extremely similar to paintball, except instead of paintballs you use replicated firearms equipped with plastic bbs as ammunition.

There are rules and procedures for the sport of Airsoft itself but there are also legal rules and regulations that one must abide by when in the possession and safe control of an imitation firearm. Due to their extremely strong visual representation to that of an authentic weapon and their ability to injure other human beings, Airsoft guns are, for right or wrong, now considered “dangerous weapons” under California’s Dangerous Weapons Control Law.

In a world where so many rules and regulations are considered mandatory and pushed upon the citizens, some things like the right to openly carry a firearm have become almost nonexistent, it is a sensible choice for Airsoft  owners to familiarize themselves with the current Californian legislation regarding their replicated weaponry.

  • To start, the initial sale and transfer of an Airsoft gun to an adolescent under the age of 18 years is considered to be a misdemeanor, unless otherwise authorized by their parent or legal guardian.
  • Primary owners of Airsoft guns also cannot alter their armament to look more like a genuine firearm (an example would be if one were to paint over the mandatory and brightly colored marking that is located at the tip of the muzzle).
  • California’s Laws regarding firearms and how they may be displayed in and around public property also pertains to Airsoft guns.

Under California Penal Code 20170, the section clearly mandates, “No person may openly display or expose any imitation firearm in a public place.” Which includes a public street, sidewalk, bridge, alley, plaza, park, driveway, front yard, parking lot, an automobile, a public building, door way or entrance, and of course public schools and universities.

The law does not apply when the armament is in its original package or if the exterior of the Airsoft gun is predominately colored, “white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink or bright purple.” The law proceeds to further state that merely having an orange tip on the muzzle corresponding to what federal law mandates is simply not satisfactory to California’s personal requirement.

Owners of Airsoft guns should also be aware of the fact that under California’s law any regulations that pertain to bb guns and all additional sort of replicated firearms correspondingly relates to Airsoft guns.

For those of us unfamiliar with laws and regulations regarding Airsoft guns, it may come to a surprise to them that under California Law their replicated gun is considered to be a “dangerous weapon”.

Just as any weapon that is being used, stored, and/or transported; Airsoft guns are subject to current state laws as with real weapons.

Owners of real firearms that persistently train at a firing range have hit on the idea of training for draw, trigger pull and aiming with an Airsoft gun for the modest fact that bbs are inexpensive when compared to shooting live rounds, as well as safe for home use.

Manufacturers in the Airsoft industry have noticeably grown in their craft and are now distributing licensed master replicas of real weapons. Airsoft replicas even furnished with simulated recoil to simulate that of the original for all classes and categories of authentic firearms.

To me Airsoft competition is an extremely competitive sport and involves the participants to use their wits and cognitive abilities to be agile, strategic and to be ultimately aware of their surroundings every second of the moment. Which leads many youth players to continuing on to educating themselves more on firearms, eventually owning real guns.

Whether as ones first taste of gun culture, or as an imitation firearm used for the intense competition of Airsoft games or as an addition to ones live fire training, I believe that an Airsoft gun can become an instrumental asset in understanding or normalizing gun ownership and mastering our preferred firearms.

Article by Justin Stakes
Photo Copyright @ J. Stakes Photography

Justin Stakes is a Freelance Photographer and Photo Journalist dealing with a variety of different subjects that interest and inspire. His photographic style is a mixture of photojournalism and fine art which results in very sharp and colorful photos. He has won two Photo Show Competitions and has even been exhibited in the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art. Through his education, he has had the pleasure and honor of being taught by some of the best professionals in the field of Public Relations, Studio and Fine Art Photography.

  • 10 thoughts on “A Modern Primer to California Law Regarding Airsoft Guns

    1. …In other news, The state of KKKalifornia has just banned the importation of NERF assault weapons and all NERF assault weapons must be registered immediately, All NERF 30 caliber high capacity ammunition clips need to be registered as well.
      The state is also proposing that all Bows and Crossbows only fire arrows and bolts made out of NERF and all other arrows are to be immediately surrendered to local authorities.

    2. Well I’m glad I am sticking to NERF guns I was disenchanted with AIRSOFT guns a while back because of their mechanical deficiencies especially involving the battery operated semi auto models essentially end up with a good looking piece of crap.
      At least with NERF style guns although looking like toys they do work more efficiently, this is a note the makers of AIRSOFT guns should consider, like for instance in my favorite gun a winchester lever load style gun it uses a gearing system to prime the spring activated air piston, airsoft could use this idea.
      And beside that I like shooting liberal politicians, when they show up on TV, NERF darts won’t hurt my TV screen lols

    3. Kalifornia leading the way into socialist can and can not do with your property. Just like zoning laws on your property where neighbors can make you paint your house their choice of colors, their choice of roof materials. Think we are really free look at your home and realize how much government control has over it . Property taxes , the undoing of Right to property, civil forfeiture happening all over the U.S. Our grandparents and parents allowed us to become serfs serving the government. Think , Act , Stop this oppression.

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