Are Airsoft Guns Legal in California? Unveiling the State Laws

In California, the legality of airsoft guns can be confusing. Although they are generally allowed, there are certain restrictions you should be aware of to avoid breaking any laws. By understanding these regulations, you can safely and legally participate in airsoft activities within the state.

This blog post will examine California’s airsoft gun laws, including those pertaining to possession, transportation, and public use. We’ll go through the legal requirements for airsoft gun possession and use in California and give you a detailed overview of how to deal with the state’s laws.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced airsoft player, it’s essential to keep up with the rules and legislation so you may practice your pastime safely and lawfully. Let’s explore and learn the facts regarding whether airsoft guns are lawful in California.

Airsoft Guns Overview

Airsoft guns are replica firearms that shoot small plastic or biodegradable BBs (generally 6mm in caliber) to simulate real-life shooting experiences. These guns are designed for recreational purposes, such as target shooting, skirmishing, and military simulation games.

Due to their realistic appearance, airsoft guns can be divided into three main types: spring-powered, gas-powered, and electrically powered (AEG) rifles.

When choosing an airsoft gun, consider power, accuracy, and firing rate to meet your needs. Gas-powered airsoft guns often perform best, while electric and spring-powered guns offer reliability and ease of use.

Ensuring you use the correct caliber BBs in your airsoft guns will enhance their performance and protect them from potential damage.

As a responsible airsoft player, it’s essential to understand and follow all local laws and regulations. This includes adhering to proper safety measures, such as wearing eye protection, using appropriate airsoft fields, and maintaining high sportsmanship.

With proper knowledge and precautions, you can fully enjoy your airsoft experience.

California State Laws

In California, airsoft guns are legal but subject to specific state laws and regulations. Understanding these laws is essential for both manufacturers and users. Let’s take a closer look at the most critical aspects:

Penal Code

The California Penal Code outlines regulations regarding airsoft guns, and the primary focus is their design, color, and sale to minors. These regulations include:

  • Coloration: Airsoft guns must have a blaze orange tip or other markings to differentiate them from real firearms. This helps law enforcement, and others recognize an airsoft gun from a distance.
  • Sale to Minors: It is illegal to sell airsoft guns to anyone under 18, and retailers must ensure that purchasers are of legal age.
  • Transportation: An airsoft gun in your vehicle should be stored in a locked container or the trunk, separate from the ammunition.

Always follow these regulations to stay on the right side of the law and enjoy your airsoft hobby safely.

Legality and Restrictions

In California, airsoft guns are generally legal, but there are some restrictions you need to be aware of. For starters, it’s crucial to understand that airsoft guns are imitation firearms, and specific rules apply to their sale, purchase, and possession in California.

The Importance of the Orange Tip

When purchasing an airsoft gun, remember that the barrel must have a clearly visible attached blaze orange tip, at least 6mm wide. This fluorescent coloration is required by federal law to differentiate airsoft guns from real firearms, preventing confusion and potential safety hazards.

California’s Color Restrictions

To identify airsoft weapons from real firearms and lessen potential safety risks, the law mandates that they have a translucent or vividly colored body.

Additionally, since red, white, and blue are associated with law enforcement and emergency services, replica firearms in this color scheme are forbidden in California.

Permit Requirements and Local Regulations

Regarding permits, no specific documentation is required for airsoft guns. However, remember that it’s essential to follow local rules and regulations, as different cities and counties may have specific ordinances governing airsoft use.

Lastly, always remember to transport your airsoft gun safely in a locked container, separate from the ammunition. This will help you avoid accidental discharge and potential legal issues.

Airsoft Gun Coloration

In California, proper airsoft gun coloration is crucial for ensuring legality and safety. Specifically, airsoft guns must feature an orange tip and have specific bright colors to distinguish them from real firearms. Let’s go over the required colors and markings:

  • Orange-tip: Your airsoft gun must have a blaze orange ring around the barrel’s edge (no less than 6mm in width) to indicate that it’s not a real firearm.
  • Bright colors: Using bright coloration for the airsoft gun’s body is highly recommended. Colors like bright red, bright blue, bright green, bright purple, pink, and transparent tones are allowed in California.

Note that the airsoft gun’s appearance must be substantially similar to these bright colors, meaning a mix of these hues is permitted. While bright coloration is recommended, it’s crucial to comply with the orange tip requirements as this is mandated by law.

By following these coloration guidelines, you ensure the legality and safety of using airsoft guns in California.

Remember, the primary goal is to prevent confusion between real firearms and airsoft guns, protecting players and the community.

Purchase and Selling Regulation

You can purchase and sell airsoft guns in California, but they’re subject to specific regulations. Most importantly, you must know the restrictions on replica and imitation firearms. Airsoft guns are considered replica firearms in California, which must adhere to particular design and appearance requirements.

To ensure your airsoft gun is compliant, it should have an affixed blaze orange tip and a trigger guard, making it easily distinguishable from a real firearm. The goal is that a reasonable person would not mistake it for a genuine weapon.

Remember that brandishing a replica firearm, even an airsoft gun, is illegal and could result in severe consequences.

If you’re under 18, parental permission is required to purchase an airsoft gun. Moreover, remember that using a spot marker gun or paintball gun is also subject to regulations in California. By staying informed and following these guidelines, you can safely and legally participate in airsoft activities in the Golden State.

Safety and Handling

Carrying and transporting

When carrying and transporting airsoft guns in California, treating them like real firearms is essential. You should always hold your airsoft guns in a locked container or case during transportation in your car.

Replica guns and dangerous weapons

Due to the realistic appearance of many airsoft guns, they are considered replica guns. As such, carrying them in public places or using them in a threatening manner could be perceived as carrying a dangerous weapon.

To ensure your safety and those around you, always handle your airsoft guns responsibly and never brandish them publicly.

Safety precautions

Following safety precautions are essential to mitigate risks associated with airsoft guns. Some key points to remember:

Airsoft in Public Spaces

When using airsoft guns in California, it’s essential to know the laws regarding public spaces such as parks, schools, and fields. In most cases, using airsoft guns in public places is prohibited, as they can be mistaken for real firearms and pose a safety risk.

Your best option for enjoying airsoft is to visit dedicated airsoft fields, where all participants understand and follow the same safety rules. These fields provide a controlled environment for airsoft play, minimizing the risk of accidents and law violations.

In the case of schools, airsoft guns are strictly regulated. Possessing or using an airsoft gun on school grounds is prohibited, as it violates the existing firearm laws. Always exercise caution and common sense when transporting and using your airsoft guns to avoid legal troubles.

Age Requirements

In California, age requirements play a crucial role in the legality of airsoft guns. For adults (18 years and older), purchasing and using airsoft guns is generally allowed. However, minors (under 18 years of age) face restrictions.

Minors are not allowed to purchase airsoft guns, and an adult must be present during the transaction; supervision is required. Remember, minors cannot carry airsoft guns in public spaces, even if not loaded.

There are exceptions for minors using airsoft guns, such as when participating in supervised events or with permission from a police officer. Minors involved in official airsoft competitions or training programs are exempt from these restrictions if proper safety measures are followed.

Fines and Violations

Violating California airsoft laws can lead to hefty fines and, in some cases, even criminal charges. Understanding and abiding by these laws to enjoy the sport without any legal complications is crucial.

In California, airsoft guns are classified as imitation firearms, meaning they can be mistaken for real firearms. You are required to keep a distinctive color on the airsoft gun, typically an orange tip. Removing or tampering with the orange tip can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a misdemeanor charge.


Failing to transport your airsoft gun properly may also come with penalties. According to California law, airsoft guns must be stored in a locked container during transportation. Violations of this law can lead to fines and possible felony charges, depending on the circumstances.

Additionally, using an airsoft gun in a prohibited area, such as a public park or school, can result in fines or criminal charges. It’s essential only to play airsoft in designated locations and always let others know you are engaging in the sport.

Finally, be mindful that brandishing an airsoft gun and causing fear or alarm to others can lead to severe penalties, including fines and felony charges. According to Penal Code § 417.4 PC, a misdemeanor conviction carries a minimum 30-day sentence and a maximum 6-month jail term.

To avoid such consequences, always handle your airsoft gun responsibly, and treat it like you would a real firearm.

Federal Law and Other States

In the United States, federal law sets the minimum standards for airsoft guns. Unlike real firearms, airsoft guns aren’t under the same strict regulations. However, it’s crucial to respect the rules and restrictions that apply to these types of guns.

Your airsoft gun must have a blaze orange tip, at least 6mm in diameter, permanently affixed to the gun’s muzzle. This distinguishes them from real firearms, and it’s not just California that enforces this requirement. States like New York have similar regulations in place to ensure the safety of the public.

To distinguish toy guns, especially airsoft guns, from actual firearms, avoid confusion, and minimize safety risks, several states and local authorities may have specific laws and standards governing the colors and markings of toy guns.

Always research the specific rules in your area to avoid legal trouble with your airsoft guns.


By now, you should clearly understand the legality of airsoft guns in California. As an airsoft enthusiast, it’s crucial to comply with state regulations to avoid fines or legal consequences.

Always verify that your airsoft guns have the proper markings and remain within the allowed velocities. When transporting or using them, remember to treat them responsibly and adhere to the specific rules on public and private property.

It’s essential to stay informed about local laws affecting airsoft gun usages, such as in public spaces or specific counties. Be responsible and respectful to others while using airsoft guns, and always prioritize safety precautions to create a fun and secure experience for all participants.

Enjoy your airsoft hobby while respecting local laws, and continue to promote safe and fun gameplay within the airsoft community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are airsoft guns legal in California?

Yes, airsoft guns are legal in California, but they must follow specific regulations, such as having a permanently attached orange tip and adhering to certain age restrictions.

Q. What are the age restrictions for purchasing airsoft guns in California?

In California, you must be at least 18 years old to purchase an airsoft gun, and it is illegal to sell airsoft guns to anyone under this age. However, minors may still use airsoft guns under adult supervision.

Q. Can I remove the orange tip from my airsoft gun?

It is illegal to remove or alter the orange tip on an airsoft gun in California, as it is a crucial safety feature that distinguishes airsoft guns from real firearms.

Q. Are there any specific rules for using airsoft guns in public places?

Always transport airsoft guns in a secure, locked container, and avoid brandishing them in public places. Remember that using an airsoft gun in a threatening manner can result in criminal charges.

Q. What are the requirements for airsoft fields in California?

Airsoft fields require certain safety measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants. Generally, age restrictions of at least 10 years old are in place.

Additionally, it’s crucial to follow field rules such as FPS limits and other regulations for the safety of everyone involved.

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