Analyzing Air Gun Laws by State: 50 States Airgun Laws

While they are not as powerful as conventional rifles, air guns or BB guns are still considered lethal in most states. It is for this reason; different states have different laws and regulations relating to BB guns.

Below are air gun laws by state.

Alabama

In Alabama, there are no laws restricting or regulating non-powder guns or air rifles. 

Alaska

Like Alabama, Alaska also does not have any laws restricting or regulating air rifles.

Arizona

Arizona is another state whose laws are quiet on the use of non-powder rifles or BB guns. The state, therefore, does not have any laws restricting the use of these guns.

Arkansas

Arkansas does not prohibit the use of air rifles either

California

In California, BB guns are classified as imitation firearms. As such, While it is legal to own an air rifle, it is illegal to display an air rifle in a public place. Also, it is unlawful to furnish a minor with a BB gun without their parent’s or guardian’s supervision.

This raises the question of where to shoot air rifles in California? California does allow the use of air rifles for hunting. There are several species of animals that you can hunt with an air rifle. These include pigeons, quail, rabbit, skunk, weasel, and turkey.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=20170#:~:text=20170.,firearm%20in%20a%20public%20place.

Colorado

Colorado air gun laws are a bit different as they may vary from municipal to municipal. However, it is generally illegal to fire a BB gun in a public place in most cities. This includes cities such as Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Thornton.

However, the firing of air rifles can be done at any approved gun range. As for hunting, there are several animals you can hunt with an air rifle. These include predatory animals such as coyotes and bobcats.

Under colorado bb gun laws, you can only use a .25 caliber or bigger PCP rifle for hunting coyotes and bobcats. Other animals such as ground squirrel, feral hogs, and Opossum can all be hunted with different air rifle calibers.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, you can use your air gun to hunt most small animals. However, you can only use a .17 caliber air rifle or larger on private lands. And on state lands, the air rifle caliber you use should not exceed .22 caliber.

This applies to all the small game that you can hunt with an air rifle, from squirrels, Opossums to Raccoons.

Delaware

Delaware air rifle laws prohibit anyone from owning or possessing any weapon capable of discharging a pellet by compressed air. The only exception is a BB or air gun that shoots a projectile not larger than a BB shot.

As such, only small game air rifle hunting is allowed under air hunting laws. You can only use a rifle with a caliber of between .17 and .22.

https://codes.findlaw.com/de/title-11-crimes-and-criminal-procedure/de-code-sect-11-1445.html

Florida

The Florida law on air rifle requires any minor under the age of 16 who uses an air rifle to be supervised by an adult. For hunting, Florida does not restrict hunting deer with a pellet gun. During firearm season, you can use a.30 caliber or larger PCP rifle to hunt whitetail deer.

For turkey season, you can use a .20 caliber or larger for hunting turkey. There are other animals that you can hunt with an air rifle, including feral hogs and coyotes.

Georgia

In Georgia, it is illegal to be in possession of an air rifle in any park, historic site, or recreational area unless with written permission from the commissioner of natural resources. For hunting, Georgia does allow the use of air rifles.

During the primitive weapons and firearms season, you can use a.30 caliber or larger PCP rifle on black bear. The same applies to whitetail deer. For turkey season, you can also use a.30 caliber air rifle.

Hawaii

Air rifles do not fall under the classification of firearms. Thus no permit is required to purchase an air rifle in Hawaii. However, displaying or using an air rifle in public lands or public places is illegal under most municipal bylaws.

The use of air rifles on private land is, however, acceptable. You can hunt different animals on private land, including feral goat, hogs, axis deer, and mouflon.

https://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/ocs/roh/ROH_Chapter_41a1-25_.pdf

Idaho

Generally speaking, there are no regulations or restrictions on the use of air rifles in Idaho. As such, you can use an air rifle for most hunting activities. However, the Idaho game and fisheries department requires the use of .45 caliber or larger PCP on big game.

For bighorn sheep and black bears in particular, an air rifle with an FPE of at least 350 is recommended. The same goes for Elk, mountain goat, moose, mountain lion, and mule deer.

Illinois 

Certain air rifles are considered firearms in Illinois. Powerful air rifles are considered firearms and have the same regulations as guns. Nonetheless, air guns that shoot a projectile that is less than 18 inches in diameter are not considered as firearms. 

It is illegal to display or use an air gun in any public space or land, except for authorized gun ranges. 

When it comes to hunting Illinois air rifle hunting laws, do not restrict the use of air rifles for hunting. Nevertheless, you can only use a .22 caliber air rifle for dispatching bobcat, beavers, badgers, and furbearers.

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+24%2E8&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=72700000&SeqEnd=73500000

Indiana

Indiana does not have any restrictions on the use of air rifles. That being said, you can use an air rifle on most animals, including coyotes, feral hogs, and red foxes. 

Iowa

Like Indiana, there are no specific laws relating to air guns in Iowa. Some of the animals that can be hunted with an air rifle include rabbits, coyotes, feral hogs, squirrels, and foxes.

Kansas

Kansas also has no laws restricting the use of air rifles. However, you do require a permit to hunt feral hogs on private land. Also, feral hogs can only be hunted in private lands.

Kentucky

Kentucky is another state that does not explicitly restrict the use of air rifles. Nonetheless, there are guidelines for air rifle hunting. For whitetail deer, you can only hunt them during the firearm season.

The accepted whitetail deer hunting air rifle is any .35 caliber rifle powered by an external source. For most other animals, the accepted caliber is .22 or larger.

Louisiana 

Louisiana does not have any laws restricting air guns as well. You can hunt coyotes, armadillos, feral hogs, rabbits, and squirrels using an air gun in this state.

Maine

It is illegal to knowingly sell or furnish a minor aged 16 years or below with an air rifle in Maine. This is the only law relating to air rifles in the state. For hunting, though, you need a .22 caliber or larger air rifle for black bear, deer, and moose.

Maryland

Are air guns legal in Maryland? The answer is yes. There are no laws restricting air rifles in Maryland. But there are specifications on what kind of air rifles can be used for hunting. Big game air rifle hunting is allowed but only with a .40 caliber or larger air rifle.

Furthermore, the air rifle needs to produce at least 400 FPE. This applies to black bear and whitetail deer. Air guns are also allowed during the spring turkey season.

Massachusetts

The only main restriction regarding air rifles in Massachusetts is the selling or furnishing an air rifle to a minor aged below 18 years. Most animals can be hunted using an air rifle in Massachusetts.

There are thus no bb gun laws Massachusetts purchase. Some of the animals that can be hunted with an air rifle include bobcats, coyotes, chipmunks, and raccoons.

Michigan

In 2015 Michigan amended its laws to remove high power air rifles from the firearms list. This means the regulations that apply to conventional guns do not apply to firearms. When it comes to air gun hunting, it is generally acceptable.

However, only air shotguns are allowed for turkey hunting season.

Minnesota

Like most other states, Minnesota prohibits the carrying or displaying of air rifles in public places. For hunting purposes, air rifles are generally acceptable. However, there are some exceptions. Hunting northern pocket gopher, bobwhite quails, English sparrow, and spotted skunks are prohibited. 

Mississippi

Mississippi prohibits the carrying, whether concealed or not, of an air rifle in an educational property. This restriction also applies to giving a minor aged below 18 years an air rifle. Other than these restrictions, there are no other laws relating to air rifles in Mississippi.

For hunting purposes, only whitetail deer can be hunted on private property with air rifles.

Missouri 

Missouri makes it an offense to handle an air rifle negligently, while intoxicated or in a manner to cause harm. You can, however, use an air rifle for hunting. But only a .40 caliber or larger PCP air rifle is accepted for deer hunting.

Montana

Montana has no laws relating to air rifles. The use of air rifles for hunting small game is allowed.

Nebraska

Nebraska also has no laws relating to air rifles. Small game hunting of raccoons, rabbits, porcupine, skunk, and other small game.

Nevada

As with some other states, Nevada mostly prohibits the display or use of air rifles in public places and educational places. Most animals mostly small game can be hunted using air rifles except for upland game birds

New Hampshire

When we go to New Hampshire, the main laws relating to air rifles relate to minors aged below 18 years who are found with an air rifle in a school premise. Other than that, there aren’t other laws relating to air rifles.

New Jersey

Air guns in New Jersey are considered firearms and are subject to all regulations relating to other types of weapons. As such, you need a permit to purchase an air rifle. When it comes to hunting, air guns with a caliber of between .177 and .22 with at least 600 FPS are allowed for small game hunting.

New Mexico

New Mexico does not restrict the use of air rifles. If you intend on hunting coyotes, skunks, squirrels, and Grouse, you need a .177 or larger caliber air rifle. For coyotes, the recommended caliber is .35.

New York

In New York, an air gun is any firearm that uses compressed air or spring to propel a single projectile. For purposes of this definition, a single projectile that is .177 or larger and with a muzzle velocity of at least 600 FPS.

You can use an air gun to hunt most small animals ranging from chipmunks, pigeons, rabbits to raccoons and red squirrels.

North Carolina

Unlike in some other states in North Carolina for hunting purposes, air rifles are grouped in the same category as conventional firearms. As such, you can use air rifles to hunt any animals that you would hunt with a conventional gun.

It is worth noting that arrow shooting air rifles are not classified as archery equipment and thus not allowed during archery season.

North Dakota

North Dakota laws on air rifles do not consider them as firearms. Big game air gun hunting is allowed. For bighorn sheep, and moose a .45 caliber air rifle is required. 

For mule deer and whitetail deer, you can use a .35 or larger caliber air rifle. 

Ohio

Ohio does not have laws restricting air rifles, and most small game can be hunted using air rifles.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma also does not have laws relating to airguns. Thus most small games can be hunted using air rifles.

Oregon

There aren’t any laws restricting air rifles in Oregon. 

Pennsylvania 

Most animals can be hunted using air rifles in Pennsylvania. However, there are some rules on what kind of air rifles can be used and for what. When it comes to beavers and river otters, air rifles can only be used to dispatch trapped animals. 

Other small animals can be hunted using an air rifle with between .177 and .22 caliber air rifles. 

Rhode Island

You can hunt three animal species using an air rifle in Rhode Island, rabbit, squirrel, and woodchuck. For these three animals, you need an air rifle with a caliber of between .177 and .22 capable of producing 750 FPE.

South Carolina

It is illegal to be in possession of an air rifle in any park that is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. This is unless you have a concealed weapon permit. 

Air rifles are classified as firearms. And as such, you can use one for hunting on condition it meets the necessary caliber requirements. On most public lands, you need a .22 caliber or smaller air rifle.

South Dakota

South Dakota has no laws restricting the use of air rifles

Tennessee 

In Tennessee, there are several air rifle caliber requirements you need to fulfill. To start with, air gun deer hunting can only be done during the firearms season. Also, you can only use a .35 caliber or larger PCP rifle for this.

For most other animals, the caliber requirements range from .22 or smaller to .35 or larger.

Texas

Texas is another state that does not have laws restricting the use of air rifles. However, similar to other states, caliber restrictions apply for air rifle hunting. For instance, for alligator hunting, you need at least a.30 caliber rifle. 

Also, Texas air gun laws provide that air gun hunting of coyotes can only be done on private lands. For most big game such as Elk, PCP rifles are accepted for hunting.

Washington

DC laws on air rifles mainly relate to the sale and use of air guns by minors aged below 18 years. Anyone aged 18 years and above may transport an air rifle within the state provided it is unloaded and well secured.

Air rifles can only be used on small game in DC, this includes gray and ground squirrel, coyote, beavers, and gophers.

Utah

Both small game and big game air rifle hunting are allowed in Utah. However, it is with some restrictions. Hunting of big games can only be done during the firearms season. And the only accepted air guns for this are PCP rifles.

Vermont

Vermont does not have specific laws restricting the use of air guns

Virginia 

Air rifles in Virginia can be used to hunt the same animals hunted using conventional guns. For whitetail deer, only .35 caliber PCP rifles are accepted during the rifle season.

West Virginia

West Virginia has no laws restricting the use of air rifles

Wisconsin 

Wisconsin prohibits the use of air rifles in school premises. As for the animals you can hunt with air rifles, they are mostly small game.

Wyoming 

Wyoming does not have any laws restricting air rifles.

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