Gun rights and the laws that govern them are a complicated legal area that often touches very deeply held beliefs for individuals on every side of the issue. While gun rights vary from state to state, federal gun laws place some general restrictions on all firearms that regularly supersede state laws. Many people are surprised to learn that federal gun laws extend to BB guns, although many people don’t regularly think of them as “real guns.”

Despite lacking much of the stopping power of other guns, BB guns still fall under federal gun laws, meaning that many individuals may not realize they cannot legally own or carry one. If you or someone you know owns a BB gun in violation of these federal laws, there could be serious legal consequences.

Individuals who cannot own a BB gun under federal law include those who

  • have a domestic violence conviction
  • are under a restraining order involving an intimate partner or their children
  • are currently fugitives
  • use illegal substances
  • live in a mental institution or have been ruled mentally defective in court
  • live in the United States as an illegal alien
  • have renounced their citizenship in the United States
  • have been dishonorably discharges from the U.S. military

As you can plainly see, this is a fairly wide net that certainly pertains to many more people than one might expect. It is important to note that simply because one or more of these categories applies to you, this does not mean that you absolutely cannot own or carry a BB gun, but it does mean you should consult with a legal professional about how your circumstances may reflect the law.

Proper legal counsel can help you understand any restrictions that may keep you from legal owning a BB gun and guide you as you seek legal ways to enjoy firearms and protect yourself.

Source: FindLaw, “BB Guns,” accessed Aug. 04, 2017