If you’re looking to buy an airsoft gun, the first thing you need to ask is “how old do you have to be to buy an airsoft gun?“. The age restriction is a result of the Child Protective Services Law, which states that you can’t use or possess any firearm that resembles a “real” gun (imitation firearms, like airsoft guns, are considered real) until you’re this age…
So, how old do you have to be to buy an airsoft gun? According to federal law in the United States, you need to be 18 years or older to purchase an airsoft gun. This age restriction also extends to ammunition and parts for the guns themselves. Depending on the state there are additional laws regarding purchasing and owning airsoft guns based on age.
The 18 year and older rule is not a one-size fits all — different states and cities have different rules. Some of these laws allow for more or less strict rules regarding the buying and selling of airsoft guns. If you want to learn more about state and city-specific laws and if you can purchase and/or own an airsoft gun in your state or city, read on below. Each state and city has different laws for buying an airsoft gun or airsoft gun accessories.
States with 18 or Older Age Restrictions on Purchasing Airsoft Guns
Most states follow federal law, which restricts the purchase of airsoft guns, ammunition, and parts to those who are 18 or older. Since these are not considered firearms by federal law, minors are able to play with and own airsoft guns.
There still remain legal restrictions in their use or possession while in public places outside of dedicated airsoft fields.
States, such as Texas, restrict discharge of airsoft guns to outside city limits; if you live in a city, you would need to relocate out of the city when using your airsoft gun. In several states, such as Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, airsoft guns are prohibited on school premises.
In some states you need to have certain coloration or designs to visually indicate it as an airsoft gun, rather than a firearm.
Some states require the orange tip to remain on the barrel, such as Michigan.
In addition, if a crime is committed and an airsoft gun was used in any way, the punishment would be the same as if the crime was committed with a firearm.
States with More Strict Age Restrictions on Purchasing Airsoft Guns
Several states have additional laws and restrictions beyond the blanket federal law of being 18 or older to purchase an airsoft gun.
These states include:
- New York
In California and Massachusetts, you need to be 18 or older to purchase and own an airsoft gun. If there is parental consent and parental supervision, minors under 18 are able to play with airsoft guns.
New York possession laws are slightly less restrictive in comparison. In New York state, airsoft guns can only be in your possession if you are 16 or older, but still must be purchased by an adult.
States with Less Strict Age Restrictions on Purchasing Airsoft Guns
Some states have less strict requirements in comparison to the federal laws when it comes to the purchasing and use of airsoft guns. These states include:
In Maine, if you are 16 or older, you can purchase and use airsoft guns. If you are below 16, you will need a parent or adult to purchase an airsoft gun.
Minnesota has by far the lowest age restriction. In Minnesota, if you are 14 years or older and have written parental consent, you can purchase and possess an airsoft gun. However, minors under the age of 14 cannot possess an airsoft gun without parental supervision. In addition, airsoft guns cannot be used in city limits within Minnesota.
States and Regions Where it is Illegal to Purchase and/or Own Airsoft Guns
While federal law in the United States does not consider airsoft guns to be firearms, there are some places in the U.S. that deem ownership and purchasing of airsoft guns as illegal based on state or local-level definitions of “firearms”.
These locations include:
- New York City, NY
- Washington, D.C.
- Chicago, IL
- San Francisco, CA
At the state-level, Arkansas is the only state that defines the possession and use of airsoft guns as illegal regardless of your age.
Beyond the state of Arkansas, the following cities are other locations that consider airsoft guns illegal to purchase and own: New York City, NY; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, IL, and San Francisco, CA.
Outside of these cities, their states follow either federal or state-level laws regarding the purchasing, ownership, and use of airsoft guns.