California is well-known for having some of the toughest airsoft laws in the country. In fact, the laws are so tough that it can actually make playing airsoft a little bit more difficult than in other states.
For example, California airsoft laws require that an airsoft gun should look a certain way. In fact, it has to always be identifiable as an airsoft gun from a distance. If it isn’t, then it is going to be illegal to carry and use it. Let’s take a look, shall we? It is important to note that all of these requirements apply no matter how powerful the airsoft gun is. We know that there are some states that have laws that only kick in when the airsoft gun is able to launch a pellet at a certain speed. Not California. If a pellet can come out of the end of it, it needs to oblige by certain laws.
What Age to Buy an Airsoft Gun in California?
Let’s start with an easy question. if you want to buy an airsoft gun in California then you need to be 18-years-old. However, California airsoft laws do allow people to use the airsoft gun under this age if they meet certain requirements.
According to airsoft laws in California, if you are under 18, you need to have your parent’s permission. Therefore, if you go to an airsoft location, you may be asked to show a signed permission slip from your parents. If you do not have one, they may not allow you to compete.
What Should an Airsoft Gun Look Like?
In California, airsoft guns cannot look realistic. There needs to be some way to distinguish the airsoft gun from a real gun. This is, most of the time, going to be down to the colors used on the gun.
In an ideal world, under Californian law, airsoft guns would clearly look like toys. They would be made in colors that are clearly designed for toys e.g. they may be a bright red or orange color. Californian airsoft laws have no problem with airsoft guns like that. Guns that clearly look like toys can be carried around in public. No further modification will need to be made to them. The problem is that these guns probably wouldn’t work well if you are playing airsoft. If you run around with a bright red airsoft gun, you are going to stand out like a sore thumb.
On the other hand, if the gun looks almost real i.e. it could be mistaken as a real gun from a distance, then a few adjustments will need to be made to the gun. This will normally only apply if the gun is made in a color that real guns are normally made from e.g. black or silver.
Whenever the airsoft gun is being transported around, it needs to have an orange muzzle cap. If you do not have an orange cap for the muzzle, then you will need to put orange tape on the muzzle. There should be a strip of tape on either side. This will allow people to see that you probably are not carrying a real gun.
This isn’t the only place where the tape needs to be, though. Oh no. You will also need to have some brightly colored tape around the trigger guard and on the magazine. Airsoft laws in California state that the gun really should be identifiable as a toy from a distance, so you may need to go heavy on the tape.
Can You Transport Airsoft Guns?
It is hard. You can take them in your vehicle. However, the law technically states that it is illegal to carry airsoft guns in a public space. We are sure that you won’t get caught if you keep them well-hidden and are literally carrying them to and from airsoft events. However, make sure that you are not flailing that airsoft around randomly. It leads to incredibly harsh penalties in California. This can include prison time.
Can You Modify Airsoft Guns for Use in California?
As we said before, airsoft guns need to have some specific markings on them to make them useable in California. Thankfully, these markings are not so specific that you can’t modify guns to comply with the law.
All you need is some bright, neon tape and stick it on the relevant parts of the airsoft gun. Most airsoft gun retailers in California should sell this tape. This means it shouldn’t be too tricky to get hold of.
Remember, these are the only modifications that you can make to the gun. You cannot modify them to be more powerful or to look more like a real gun. These are both going to have you falling foul of California airsoft laws.
Does an airsoft gun still need to be clearly marked if you are playing on private property in California?
Yes. The airsoft gun will still need to have some sort of colored strip on it that indicates that it is an airsoft gun. The law doesn’t change on private property. Of course, this does make playing the sport a little bit more difficult as you can’t camouflage quite as well if you have to have a brightly colored strip on show at all times. Some people will remove the colored cap when playing airsoft but this is still against the law. There is just a lower chance that you will be caught.
Can you store an airsoft gun in your vehicle?
As long as it fires a projectile under 6mm in size, then you can keep it in your vehicle. Anything larger than that, and it becomes illegal to transport under Californian law.
Can you take an airsoft gun to school?
Californian law specifically prohibits people from taking airsoft guns onto school property. You are also not allowed to take them into government buildings. So, if somebody takes an airsoft gun to school, then the law will come down on them pretty hard, for obvious reasons. Basically, anywhere you can’t normally take a real gun, you can’t take an airsoft gun.
California Airsoft Laws Final Thoughts
We now know that California has some of the toughest airsoft laws in the nation. If you’re unfortunate enough to live in California, make sure you follow your local and state airsoft laws. It sucks that there is so many restrictions, but it’s vey important that you respect them.
If you wants to know the airsoft laws in your state, feel free to checkout out beginners section or use the search icon on our homepage.