Paintball markers look very much like real firearms. Shooting someone with a paintball marker on the field is completely permissible. But what about outside the field. Is it legal to shoot someone with a paintball gun? Like a trespasser, a burglar, or any other person. Well, you are not supposed to shoot someone with a paintball gun unless the reason is to save your life and your loved ones.
That’s why Regulatory bodies have imposed certain rules for paintball markers too. In some states of the US like New York and New Jersey, paintball markers are considered and treated as real firearms. It’s difficult to generalize one paintball gun law for every state that’s why they vary from state to state. Remember, killing anyone without any valid cause is illegal be it a paintball gun or any other.
Is Paintball Gun a Firearm?
Paintball gun is a firearm and comes under the category of weapon, as per the Federal Government. But according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), a paintball gun is not a firearm. The reason is, it doesn’t shoot by utilizing any explosive reaction which is the main phenomenon in real firearms.
That’s why governing bodies do not consider paintball markers to be real firearms. One reason is, they fire fragile ammos that burst on impact rather than causing deep injury. If the ATF considers paintball markers as firearms, then the paintball gun laws would be consistent all around the US. That’s why every state in the US has its own set of paintball gun rules; some of them are mentioned here.
Paintball Laws in the USA:
Out of the 50 states in the US, there are only 10 states that have legalized paintball activities and paintball guns. These are New Jersey, New York, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas.
Regarding the use and transportation of paintball guns, above mentioned 10 states have different laws. Here they are:
New York and New Jersey follow the same paintball laws for the use, carry, and transportation of markers that are:
Paintball Laws About Transportation:
Many states in the US have imposed strict laws about carrying paintball guns in cars, like New Jersey. You can only carry a paintball gun with you when it’s empty. There shouldn’t be any paintballs in the gun. Also, dismantle the paintball gun completely. Remove the barrel of the marker. Don’t forget to remove the air source. Now keep the main body of the gun in a closed and secure box. That is how you can easily carry a paintball gun. Remember, carrying a fully assembled and functional paintball gun may cause some penalties.
Paintball Gun Laws UK:
Luckily, in the UK, paintball guns, which are commonly known as “markers”, do not fall under the category of “firearms”. The reason is, they do not fire non-frangible rounds like bullets. Paintball guns use frangible rounds that burst on impact and do not cause any injury. That’s why paintball markers are classified as “air weapons.” Hence, players in the UK do not need to have a license for a paintball gun. It is to make sure that the marker’s rate of fire and velocity stay within the limits.
Paintballers in the UK must be aware of the Anti-social Behaviors act 2003. According to this act, it is illegal for any person to own an air weapon in a crowded or public place without having any proper valid reason. An example of an invalid reason is, to shoot a barking dog. Also, under 17’s are strictly forbidden to possess a paintball gun until or unless they are at the paintball site with their parents’ consent.
Can you shoot someone with a paintball gun?
No, it is 100% illegal to shoot someone. Until or unless that someone is part of the paintball game. But yes, if you are facing any genuine danger. For instance, a group of burglars has invaded your house. In this scenario, for self-defense purposes, you can use paintball guns.
Paintball gun laws are different for different states and countries. Whether a paintball gun is legal to use or not, it all depends on the area you are living in and the purpose of using it. Different states have legalized paintball guns with certain restrictions like use in public areas, transportation, and selling/buying to minors. In short, when you are at the paintball field, you are free to shoot players with paintball guns. Otherwise, do not use it.