Are Airsoft Guns Illegal in New York? Unmasking the Truth!

Out of recreational sports, airsoft has gained quite a following. However, as an airsoft enthusiast in New York, you might wonder about the legality of airsoft guns in your area. Let’s dive into the topic and clarify the regulations surrounding airsoft guns in New York.

First, it is essential to understand the distinctions between airsoft guns and other firearms. While airsoft guns may resemble real guns in appearance, they are designed to shoot plastic BBs and are not classified as firearms. Despite this, New York City harbors specific regulations you should be aware of to avoid legal issues.

As you navigate the airsoft planet, you must acquaint yourself with New York’s laws and regulations. By staying informed and respectful, you can continue to enjoy the sport while staying on the right side of the law.

Airsoft Guns and New York Laws

In the state of New York, airsoft guns are considered to be replicas or imitation firearms. State and local laws regulate possessing and using airsoft guns, with specific restrictions in areas such as New York City.

State Regulations

New York State law classifies airsoft guns as imitation firearms, which means you must adhere to specific guidelines when you own, transport, or use them. Some of these guidelines include:

  • Not displaying or exposing any imitation firearm in a public place.
  • Not selling airsoft guns to anyone under the age of 16.
  • Ensuring airsoft guns have a legible, permanently affixed blaze orange tip (minimum 6mm wide).

New York City Ordinances

New York City imposes stricter regulations on airsoft guns due to safety concerns. Possessing, selling, or using airsoft guns within the city’s limits is illegal (majority of the state). Store owners are also prohibited from stocking airsoft guns for sale.

Furthermore, airsoft guns are treated as firearms for the purpose of the law, which means penalties can be severe if you violate these New York City ordinances.

Regulations for Selling Airsoft Guns in New York City

The following details the city’s Administrative Code 10-131(b) regarding selling airsoft weapons.

Selling Airsoft Guns in New York City

In New York City, selling airsoft guns is subject to strict regulations. According to Administrative Code 10-131(b), it is unlawful to sell or offer for sale, possess, use, or give away any toy or imitation firearm that substantially duplicates or can reasonably be perceived as an actual firearm unless certain conditions are met.

Exterior Surface Color

To comply with the law, the entire exterior surface of the airsoft gun must be colored in one of the following bright colors:

  • White
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Pink or Purple

Alternatively, the airsoft gun must be constructed entirely of transparent or translucent materials allowing precise observation of its contents.

Barrel and Markings

Besides the color requirement, the airsoft gun’s barrel (excluding water guns) must be closed with the same material used to construct the gun for at least half an inch from the front end. The gun must also have stamped a legible manufacturer’s name or identifying mark.

Laser Pointers

Airsoft guns cannot have laser pointers attached, as defined in paragraph one of subdivision (a) of section 10134.2 of the Administrative Code.


Staying informed of any updates or changes to the laws and regulations is essential to ensure continued compliance.

Possession and Purchase

Regarding airsoft guns in New York, there are specific regulations regarding their possession and purchase. This section will cover requirements, licensing, and permits.

Age Requirements

In New York State, including New York City, there is no statewide age requirement for owning or possessing an airsoft gun. However, some localities may have age restrictions or guidelines for airsoft guns.

In New York City, possessing, selling, or using airsoft guns is illegal for under 16 years. This prohibition is due to the city’s strict gun laws, which also apply to airsoft guns.

Outside of New York City, there are no statewide age restrictions for owning or possessing an airsoft gun. However, it’s important to note that airsoft guns can be dangerous and should only be used under adult supervision, particularly for minors.

Licensing and Permits

Although airsoft guns are not classified as firearms in New York, certain localities may have stricter regulations. You may need to apply for a specific permit or license to purchase and possess an airsoft gun.

Check with your local authorities to understand the requirements in your area.

When buying or owning airsoft guns, keep the following in mind:

  • Always use caution and abide by safety guidelines when operating airsoft guns.
  • Never brandish or display an airsoft gun in public.
  • Use proper protective gear, such as eyewear.

By following these guidelines and adhering to local regulations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable airsoft experience.

Airsoft Games and Safety Measures

Airsoft is a popular sport many enjoy, but it’s essential to follow safety guidelines and rules when playing in the United States, especially in New York. This section will cover playing fields, schools, and critical safety aspects, such as eye protection and responsible behavior.

Playing Fields and Schools

Choosing a designated playing field is essential when playing airsoft games, as shooting airsoft guns in public places can be illegal and dangerous. Be aware that school premises are off-limits for airsoft activities, so always opt for an authorized airsoft field.

Many airsoft fields have strict rules to ensure players’ safety and maintain a fun, organized environment. Make sure you’re familiar with these regulations to avoid any unwanted incidents.

Eye Protection

Eye protection is crucial in airsoft games, as a stray BB can cause severe injury to your eyes. Always use high-quality, ANSI-rated goggles or masks, and encourage fellow players to do the same.

A full-face mask is recommended for added protection, but if you prefer goggles, pair them with a lower-face mask for complete coverage.

Responsible Behavior

You and your fellow players can ensure a safe and enjoyable airsoft gaming experience by following the above mentioned practices.

Identifying and Transporting Airsoft Guns

In New York, it’s essential to correctly identify and transport your airsoft guns to stay compliant with the law. This section will discuss distinguishing airsoft guns from real firearms and some safe transportation practices.

Orange Tip and Bright Colors

An essential requirement for airsoft guns is having an orange tip or being brightly colored. This helps differentiate them from real firearms and prevents confusion.

Safe Transportation Practices

When transporting airsoft guns, you should always follow safe and responsible guidelines to avoid potential legal issues or uncomfortable situations.

  1. Unloaded state: Ensure your airsoft gun is unloaded, and the magazine is removed during transportation.
  2. Carry case: Use a dedicated airsoft gun case or bag that conceals the gun and clearly identifies it as an airsoft gun.
  3. Avoid public display: To prevent alarms or misunderstandings, conceal your airsoft gun and be out of public view during transportation.

Legal Consequences for Misuse

Misusing airsoft guns can lead to serious legal consequences. This section will explore the penalties and fines, jail time, and other consequences you may face if you misuse these guns in New York and other states.

New York Fine And Penalties

The penalties for using airsoft weapons carelessly or irresponsibly may be less severe in other areas of New York State. However, they may still result in fines or criminal charges, mainly if they cause injury or property damage.

You might get into a problem if your airsoft pistol is not clearly marked as a toy and not a real firearm. Fourth-degree criminal possession of a gun carries a potential one-year imprisonment penalty, while first-degree illegal possession carries a possible 25-year prison sentence.

The law states that anyone, business, or company that sells an airsoft pistol to a juvenile under 16 violates the law and may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500.

Note: Anyone under 16 is prohibited from owning an airsoft pistol under New York law. However, some localities may have their own regulations or guidelines regarding minors’ ownership and use of airsoft guns.

Penalties and Fines In Other Parts

Depending on the state and the severity of the offense, fines for misusing airsoft guns can vary. In some states, such as California and Illinois, brandishing an airsoft gun in public can result in a fine of up to $1,000.

Jail Time

In some cases, misusing airsoft guns can also result in jail time. Jail sentences vary based on the state and severity of the crime committed, but it is essential to be aware of the potential consequences.

  • Michigan: Brandishing an airsoft gun or using it for intentional crimes can result in a misdemeanor with up to 90 days in jail.
  • Texas: Using an airsoft gun during the commission of a crime is considered a felony, punishable by up to some years in prison.

Other Consequences

Aside from fines and jail time, misusing airsoft guns can also lead to other consequences that could affect your life in various ways.

Misusing airsoft guns can lead to mandatory gun safety training or losing your right to own firearms. Other possible consequences include damage to your reputation, loss of employment, or difficulty finding a job in the future.

To avoid harmful consequences, it is essential to be cautious when handling airsoft guns, follow federal and state laws, and always keep safety in mind. Remember that while they may look like toys, airsoft guns can cause harm if misused.

Comparing Airsoft Guns to Real Firearms and Replicas

This section will explore the similarities and critical differences between airsoft guns, real firearms, and replica firearms. Understanding these distinctions is crucial when examining the legality of airsoft guns in New York.


Airsoft guns, real firearms, and replica firearms can all appear similar at first glance, and they often share design elements, materials, and color schemes, making it hard to tell them apart. Sometimes, airsoft guns even feature markings or logos from their real firearm counterparts.

  • Shared design elements and materials
  • Often visually indistinguishable
  • It may feature logos or markings from real firearms

Key Differences

Despite their visual similarities, these three types of guns have some significant differences, especially regarding federal and local laws. Airsoft guns are categorized as toys, utilizing non-lethal plastic pellets, while real firearms are lethal weapons with the risk of causing injury or death.

On the contrary, replicas are non-functioning copies of real firearms and are usually used for display or collection.

Type of GunFunctionalityFederal/Local Laws
Airsoft GunsNon-lethal, shoots plastic pelletsThey are regulated as toys, but local laws may vary
Real FirearmsLethal, shoot live ammunitionSubject to federal and state gun control laws
Replica FirearmsNon-functioning, display, or collection purposesRegulated differently than real firearms, but may be subject to local laws

Knowing these differences will help you understand how federal and local laws in New York affect airsoft guns. Always consult local regulations before purchasing or using airsoft, real firearms, or replicas.

Airsoft and Interstate Regulations

Understanding the regulations surrounding these replica firearms is crucial in the airsoft world. As a player, you must know how the laws vary between states and what this means for your airsoft activities.

Key Takeaways

Here is a brief overview of airsoft gun laws in New York:

While owning airsoft guns is permissible in some areas of New York, it’s essential to be cautious and responsible in their usage. Respect local regulations and always consider the potential impact of your airsoft activities on others.


In New York, airsoft guns are considered to be imitation firearms, meaning they are subject to some restrictions. While they are not entirely illegal, you must familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations.

You must adhere to the rules, such as storing your airsoft guns in a case while transporting and refraining from displaying your guns in public spaces. Violation of these regulations could lead to fines or even criminal charges.

Remember to always play responsibly in designated airsoft fields and ensure the safety of yourself and others. You contribute to a safer, more enjoyable airsoft community by staying informed and respecting the law.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are airsoft guns illegal in New York?

Airsoft guns are not entirely illegal in New York but are subject to specific laws and regulations. You must be at least 16 years old to purchase and use them, and they need to have specific markings like an orange tip.

Q. Can I use an airsoft gun in public places?

Using airsoft guns in public places in New York is generally prohibited. Always play in designated airsoft fields or private properties with proper permission to avoid legal issues.

Q. Do I need a permit to own an airsoft gun in New York?

No, you do not need a permit to own an airsoft gun in New York. However, be mindful of the existing laws regarding the purchase, usage, and transportation of airsoft guns.

Q. How should I transport my airsoft gun within New York?

Keep your airsoft gun in a case or bag, unloaded, and separated from any ammunition. This helps clarify that you are not carrying a real firearm, reducing confusion or misunderstandings.

Q. What are the rules for airsoft gun markings?

Airsoft guns in New York must have an orange tip and other markings to differentiate them from real firearms, such as a transparent or brightly colored body. This ensures that they are readily identifiable as toys, not real guns.

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