Airsoft guns are typically used for sport (similar to paintball) and fire small, non-metallic pellets. These pellets are usually made from plastic and travel slower than pellets from a BB gun.
Additionally, they are usually powered through compressed gas or air containers. Although airsoft guns are generally viewed as being safe, they may cause injuries and are therefore regulated by both state and federal laws.
How Could you be Injured from an Airsoft Gun?
Even if safety gear is worn during a game or sport using airsoft guns, injuries can till occur. The following are common examples of injuries:
- Eye injuries;
- Muscle sprains; and
- Slip and fall injuries.
In most cases, the operator or owner of an Airsoft facility requires participants to sign a waiver or a liability release form. This is a form that relieves the owner of legal liability for injuries that happened during an airsoft game.
However, the owner can still be held liable for injuries caused by their negligence, such as a failure to maintain safe premises, a failure to warn the patrons of any extremely dangerous conditions in the arena, or renting defective guns to players.
How are Airsoft Guns Regulated?
Under Federal law, it is legal for to use airsoft guns at any age because they are not classified as being a firearm. However, federal law requires a person to be at least 18 years of age to purchase an airsoft gun. Many state and local laws also place a similar age restriction on the purchase of airsoft guns. There are even some importation laws in place regarding airsoft guns.
Another legal concern regarding airsoft guns is that they often look like a real gun. Because of this, an orange marking is generally required to be painted on the tip of the airsoft gun. This is meant to distinguish them from real guns. You could be issued a ticket if you remove this marking.
You also may be charged and convicted of a crime if you use an airsoft gun to attempt a crime. For example, you could be charged and convicted with assault if you point a gun at someone because they will likely think it was a real gun and fear for harm. Another example is that you could be convicted of robbery with a firearm even if you use an airsoft gun to commit the crime.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been injured by an airsoft gun, you should contact a personal injury attorney about your options for filing a lawsuit. Your lawyer can help research the laws for you and can assist you in filing your claim with the court. In addition, you may want to meet with a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a crime relating to the possession, purchase or use of an airsoft gun.