Is a paintball gun considered a firearm? 2022

Is a paintball gun considered a firearm

Those who play paintball have this question at some point “Is a paintball gun considered a firearm?” Paintball guns are not guns, though classified as air guns, which any government agency does not regulate. They are legal to own and purchase in every state, and they don’t even require a license to use. Is a paintball considered a deadly weapon? Read more to clear your introspections.

Yes, paintball guns are legal in the United States. You may be wondering why this is even a question, but in a few states and some cities around the country, paintball gun laws can be confusing, but they aren’t illegal. If you’re thinking about getting involved in paintball for the first time or are just curious about its legality, you should know that paintball guns are considered legal weapons.

They have to adhere to certain specifications to be legal weapons and can be used only for recreational purposes. Paintball has been a sport around since the early 1980s and has enjoyed tremendous growth. More than 15 million people play paintball every year in America alone, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. Many people enjoy their right to use paintball guns as sports goods. 

Paintball guns are regulated by law because they fire projectiles at high rates of speed. The projectiles themselves, the balls filled with colored liquid, are not harmful enough to cause injury if they hit someone (unless they hit an eye), but the velocity they are shot from a gun can cause severe damage if aimed at someone’s face or body. Unlike airsoft guns, paintball guns are not considered lethal as airsoft guns shoot tiny plastic that can be dangerous. 

Is a paintball gun considered a firearm

Charges of shooting someone with a paintball gun

A paintball gun is a dangerous weapon, and you can be charged with serious crimes if you misuse one. One of the most common charges for using a paintball gun is assault. You don’t have to shoot someone with a paintball gun to be charged with assault, though. Pointing a paintball gun at another person threateningly may be considered assault. If you are convicted of assault, you could face fines and time in jail.

If you shoot someone with a paintball gun, you may be charged with battery. A battery charge is more serious than an assault charge because it involves physical contact. If your paintball gun is loaded with anything other than paintballs, such as rocks or marbles, you can also face additional charges for using an actual weapon rather than a toy.

Again, if convicted of battery or assault with a real weapon, you could face jail time or fines. If the person is injured by the shot from your paintball gun or the object inside it, the charges could be even more severe. It’s essential to recognize that this law applies even if the person agrees to be shot by a paintball gun. Is shooting with a paintball gun illegal? A big no. 

ATF definition of a Firearm

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) recently released a determination relating to the definition of a firearm. The ATF determined that a paintball gun is not a “firearm” within the meaning of the Gun Control Act (GCA) or the National Firearms Act (NFA). The GCA and NFA define a “firearm” as, among other things, any weapon that shoots or is readily convertible to shoot ammunition utilizing an explosive. 

“Readily convertible” means that no special skills or tools are necessary to convert the device to expel a projectile utilizing an explosive.  The paintball gun in question operates like other paintball guns: it uses pressurized gas to expel a projectile through an enclosed barrel. The rocket is propelled by air pressure, not explosive force. 

In addition, there are no parts or devices which can be added or removed from this particular paintball gun that would convert it from an airgun into one which could expel projectiles employing an explosive. This particular paintball gun does not meet the definition of “firearm,” as outlined in 18 U.S.C., Section 921(a)(3). 

Can I shoot a paintball gun in my backyard?

As long as you’ve got a safe, open shooting space and take all the necessary precautions, you can have a great time with paintball in your backyard. If your yard is large enough, you’ll want to designate one end as the “safe area” where people can remove their masks, reload their guns, and keep their ammunition. You’ll also want to make sure that the area you’re shooting is clear of anything that may be damaged by paintball splatter. 

You should also avoid using any trees or other objects that would hide a person’s whole body. Just for safety, you don’t want somebody to suddenly appear from behind a tree and get hit in the face with a paintball. Ensure that the surroundings are free of anything that could catch fire if hit with a paintball (like piles of dry leaves).

Another factor to consider before shooting in your backyard is noise. Paintballs move quickly, so if they hit something solid (like the side of your house), they can make quite an impact. The sound of your gun firing could also disturb your neighbors so before you fire off any shots, talk to them about what you plan to do and ask them if there’s anything wrong with that. 

Final Words

A paintball gun is not a firearm but is classified as an air gun. Paintball guns are legal to own and use in every state with no license required to purchase or use. Additionally, paintballs don’t meet the legal definition of a “deadly weapon.” In other words, they cannot kill you unless they hit you in the head from an extreme distance. Is a paintball gun considered a firearm? No, it is not.

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