BB Guns in California

California gun laws

BB Guns in California

Most Californians are aware of the fact that the state has very strict gun laws. However, many people may not realize that the state is just as strict when it comes to things such as BB, pellet, and airsoft guns. The state views these gun in almost the same exact way as it does true firearms.

Due to this, a person needs to be careful with their BB, pellet, or airsoft guns. If they do not pay attention, they could wind up breaking a law, which could get him or her into serious legal trouble. Nobody wants that.

What Is a BB Gun?

Under California state law, a BB gun is defined as any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a BB or pellet, through the force of air pressure, gas pressure, or spring action. This means that, as far as the state of California is concerned, BB guns, pellet guns, and airsoft guns are all one in the same. Due to this fact, these guns are all subject to the same laws.

California Laws about BB Guns

There are several different laws that pertain to BB and pellet guns. Some of these laws are:

  • PC 12550 – BB and pellet guns, along with any other “toy” gun that is designed to look realistic, is considered an imitation firearm.
  • PC 12551 – It is a misdemeanor to sell a BB gun to a minor, anyone under the age of 18.
  • PC 12552 – Giving a minor a BB gun without permission from the minor’s parent or guardian is a misdemeanor.
  • PC 12553 – All imitation firearms have to have bright markings to help distinguish that they are imitation firearms. Altering these markings is a misdemeanor offense. This does not apply to props for theatrical productions.
  • PC 12554 – All imitation firearms should have warnings on their packaging stating that it is possible for an imitation firearm to be mistaken as an actual firearm and that making an imitation firearm look more like a real gun is dangerous and illegal, and displaying the imitation gun in public is illegal.
  • PC 12556 – Displaying an imitation firearm in public, on streets, in a front yard, or in public buildings, is illegal, and an infraction with a max fine of:
  • o $100 for a first offense.
    o $300 for a second offense.
    o Subsequent violations are misdemeanors.

Since most of these laws result in misdemeanors when broken, a person can face a small fine and a short jail stay.

Another thing that people may not realize, is that shooting another person with a BB gun is illegal in the state of California. Depending on the case, a person can be charged with one of the following for shooting someone with a BB gun:

  • Assault – If the person attempts to use force or violence on someone.
  • Battery – If a person uses force or violence on someone.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon – A case of assault that occurs with either the use of a deadly weapon, or force that could produce great bodily injury. A BB gun is considered a deadly weapon in the state of California.
  • Use BB Guns Safely

    When it comes to BB guns, there is more to worry about than just “shooting your eye out.” A person has to be aware of state laws surrounding BB and pellet guns. They should also know how to operate these imitation guns safely. Some tips for doing that include:

  • Never operate a BB gun while drunk.
  • Never operate a BB gun while high.
  • Handle the BB gun with care.
  • Recognize that a BB gun is not a toy.
  • As long as a person does that, and follows all state laws, they have nothing to worry about. What do you think of California’s take on imitation guns such as BB and pellet guns? Are the laws overreacting, or are they appropriate for what they deal with? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.