There’s an incredibly fine line between what is legal and what is illegal as far as airsoft weapons are concerned. The rules governing their usage and who can own them are almost as strict as the laws that are in place to control and manage the ownership and usage of firearms.
And while the rule of law that applies to airsoft weapons might seem to be overly draconian, compared to those that other countries have in place, our system of airsoft governance is incredibly accommodating and lenient.
If you lived in Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, or Singapore, you couldn’t even own an airsoft gun, and if one was found in your possession, you could end up serving a lengthy prison sentence.
It wouldn’t matter if you never intended to use it or carry it in public, just owning the gun is enough to guarantee that you’ll spend at least some time in jail.
And if you decided to revoke your US citizenship and became a Canadian, the type of airsoft weapon that you could own would be entirely dependent on the way it looks.
If an airsoft weapon bears any sort of resemblance to a real-world firearm, then it can’t be sold, owned, or used in Canada.
So what is legal and what’s illegal in the United States? Well, even though Federal Law states that airsoft weapons are not classified as firearms and that anyone regardless of age can legally fire an airsoft gun, it’s illegal to purchase or own an airsoft gun if you’re under eighteen years of age.
And if you live in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, or an increasing number of cities and towns in Michigan, you can’t even own an airsoft weapon or attempt to exercise your second amendment rights as airsoft weapons are illegal.
Federal law it seems can be slightly awkward and more than a little biased against the usage and ownership of airsoft weapons.
Then there’s the orange tip that every airsoft weapon is sold with. Every retailer sells airsoft weapons under the proviso that the person they’re selling that weapon to understands that it is illegal to remove the tip.
Whether the new owner then takes the tip off the weapon is up to them, but as it is illegal to transport an airsoft weapon in the United States without that orange tip in place, it’s something that we strongly advise you against doing.
Even if you’re only going to use the airsoft weapon in your own yard or on your property, the orange tip is there for a reason, and we’d strongly recommend that you listen to, and obey the letter of the law and always leave the tip in place.
Can You Play Airsoft Without The Orange Tip?
Okay, let’s break this down so you know exactly what your position is and what you can and can’t do while participating in a competition and battling a squad of opponents in an airsoft game.
As the theatre of conflict that you’ll be playing in, whether that’s an indoor or outdoor arena or designated area, is private land, you can remove the orange tip from your airsoft weapon while competing and engaged in play, but must replace it after the game has ended and before you leave the arena that you’re competing in.
Most airsoft competitors do remove the tip from their weapons when they’re competing and playing, especially when they’re doing so outside.
The orange tip tends to give away your position if you’re looking to find and attempting to hide from your opponents in subterfuge and camouflage. And nobody wants to lose a game thanks to a piece of orange plastic that can easily be removed and then replaced when the game is over.
While it’s generally seen as being okay to take the plastic tip off while you’re on private land, before you do so, it’s always worth checking local and state laws regarding the legal position on airsoft weapons.
There might be a bylaw or addendum that asserts that it is illegal to remove the tip from your weapon even if you are on private land, and if that is the case, then you should fully comply with local laws and regulations.
And always remember, tip on while you’re traveling from your home to wherever you’re playing, tip off while you’re engaged in the game, and tip on again when the game has ended.
Why Do Airsoft Guns Have Orange Tips?
The orange tip on your airsoft weapon might seem like an unnecessary inconvenience, but there is a very real and tragic reason for it being there and why it is a legal requirement for you to ensure that it is always firmly locked in place.
And that’s because in the real world, mistakes can happen and when there’s a weapon involved, those mistakes can have fatal consequences.
As airsoft weapons are made to closely resemble actual firearms, when they’re being carried in public or used on your own property, sometimes it’s impossible to distinguish an airsoft weapon from the real thing.
For all intents and purposes, they look the same and without the plastic tip, the only person who really knows that an airsoft weapon isn’t a real firearm is the person carrying it.
Unfortunately, there have been several cases where young men who were carrying airsoft weapons without the orange tip were inevitably confronted by the police who assumed that they were brandishing firearms in a public place.
Those confrontations ended in exactly the way that you’re imagining that they did. With the young men dying because the police didn’t know that weapons that they were carrying weren’t the real thing and assuming the worst, felt they had no option but to use lethal force.
The orange plastic tip on an airsoft gun is in place for your safety and protection and to let any police officer who might see you carrying the weapon know that it is an airsoft gun and isn’t a firearm.
They exist to try and ensure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated and that anyone who wants to use an airsoft weapon for recreational purposes can do so safely and without fear.