What is Airsoft?
Airsoft is a type of modern shooting sport. It involves the use of Airsoft guns, which fire small, inexpensive plastic pellets at high speeds. Airsoft guns are usually powered through compressed gas or air containers. They are non-lethal by design, but can lead to similar injuries caused by BB guns.
The sport of Airsoft is very similar to paintball. Participants in Airsoft games typically form teams and attempt to eliminate other contestants by shooting the plastic pellets at one another. To avoid injury, participants are clothed in protective gear such as helmets, goggles, and body armor. The games are typically held in arenas or warehouses, where obstacles courses are put in place to hide behind during the competitions.
Are Airsoft Guns Illegal?
Under Federal law and most state laws, Airsoft guns are legal for all ages because they aren’t classified as firearms. However, state or local laws may impose additional restrictions on the guns based on:
- The user’s age- usually must be over 18 to purchase)
- Colorings- gun should be brightly colored or painted orange at the tip to distinguish it from a real firearm
- Propulsion power of the muzzle- cannot exceed a certain rate
One of the main concerns with Airsoft guns is that they can often look just like a real firearm, since many models are actually replicas of actual guns. This problem can usually be avoided by the orange markings on the tip. However, if the owner paints removes the orange coloring they might be cited for a violation.
What Types of Injuries Can Occur During an Airsoft Sporting Event?
Injuries can be common during private Airsoft sporting event. Even though safety gear is generally mandatory, injuries can still occur, such as:
- Welts or bruises, especially if the pellets penetrate through a vulnerable spot in the protective gear
- Serious eye injuries
- Sprains from running, jumping, or crouching
- Slip and fall injuries
Strict rules are also enforced during Airsoft sporting events. For example, contestants usually can’t shoot each other within a certain distance.
Can the Operator of a Sport Airsoft Facility be Held Liable for Injuries?
In most cases, the operator or owner of an Airsoft facility requires the participants to sign a waiver or a liability release form. This is a form that relieves the owner/operator of legal liability for injuries incurred during the Airsoft game.
In such cases, it will be difficult to bring suit against the owner if a waiver was signed. However, the owner can still be held liable for injuries caused by their negligence, such as a failure to maintain safe premises, or a failure to warn the patrons of any extremely dangerous conditions in the arena. Renting defective guns to players sometimes happens also.
Players usually can’t hold other players liable for normal injuries that can occur as a part of the game. However, they might be able to file suit for injuries resulting when the other player has violated the rules or stepped outside the bounds of what is normally acceptable during Airsoft play. For example, if a contestant shoots another person when a game is not in play, they could be held liable for assault or other types of charges.
In most cases, personal injuries caused by Airsoft games are usually remedied through a damages award, issued to the plaintiff for the purpose of compensating them for their injuries.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Lawsuit Involving Airsoft Guns?
Airsoft is quickly becoming a popular sport, especially among teens and younger people. Due to their nature, Airsoft guns and Airsoft games can also be a potential source of serious injury. You may wish to contact an experienced personal injury if you have any legal claims or questions involving Airsoft guns. Your lawyer can help research the laws for you and can assist you in filing your claim with the court.
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Last Modified: 08-17-2012 11:26 AM PDT
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