As felons know, owning a firearm is one of the most frustrating restrictions that they’ll face as life after prison begins.
But, what about a pellet gun or Airsoft Rifle?
This blog post will address the question of whether felons can own a pellet gun.
- What is a Pellet Gun?
- Pellet Gun vs. BB Gun
- What About Airsoft Rifles?
- Laws Concerning Airsoft Rifles
- Supporting Felons Owning a Pellet Gun
What is a Pellet Gun?
A pellet gun is a type of pneumatic weapon which uses compressed air or CO2 to propel a projectile. Firearms use a propellant charge to shoot. The speed of the projectile is much slower with a pellet gun than a traditional firearm.
Pellet guns actually have a very long history. They date back to the 1700’s, the days of the explorers Lewis and Clark, who used this weapon.
Pellet guns were designed to fire projectiles at speeds similar to the muzzleloader. They had extreme accuracy in firing up to 40 rounds quickly, once the gun had been pumped enough to build up sufficient pressure (about 1500 pumps).
This was a drawback, and they were expensive to manufacture, compared to muzzleloaders. So, they were not often used as weapons.
Pellet Gun vs. BB Gun
Pellet guns can easily be confused with BB guns. They are similar but not the same.
How does a pellet gun compare to a BB gun? Both are pneumatic weapons, but they are still different from each other.
They use slightly different ammunition. BB guns employ round steel ammunition while the shape of ammunition for pellet guns is non-spherical and made of lead.
BB guns have a smooth barrel while pellet guns have rifling in the barrel. Because of the smooth barrel, BB guns shoot at a lower velocity than a pellet gun.
What About Airsoft Rifles?
Airsoft rifles are typically much more powerful than a BB gun or a pellet gun, but shoot a similar projectile. Further, technically speaking, an airsoft rifle is commonly referred to as a “BB Gun” or “Pellet Gun”. Because, well, they shoot little pellets. However, at a rate of fire of about 400 FPS (Feet Per Second), they can definitely be used to hunt small game such as rabbit, squirrels, and rodents.
When it comes to larger game such as deer, Airsoft rifles can be a tricky weapon of choice. Most airsoft guns don’t have the FPS needed to be able to hunt, but if you spend enough money (no less than $1000), you can likely find an Airsoft rifles that shoots at or over 1000 FPS.
That is fast enough to wound a larger animal, but there is still the issue of placement.
Simply put, when you shoot an Airsoft rifle you’e shooting a very small projectile into the target. Because of this, it’s much more difficult to get a kill-shot and it’s likely that the animal would suffer significantly more with this method of hunting as opposed to a regular rifle.
Laws Concerning Airsoft Rifles
Interesting enough, the laws surrounding airsoft rifles are scattered at best. Every state is different and the rules are not consistent from one place to the next. One state outright bans the possession of Airsoft gun hunting (New Hampshire). while some states only make this illegal if you don’t have a bright orange tip covering the barrel.
Because local laws are frequently changing, it’s best that you contact your state’s department of wildlife conservation to ask them whether or not you can hunt with an airsoft rifle.
In terms of owning one even though you have a felony on your record, the definition of a firearm is:
KRS 527.010: “Firearm” means any weapon which will expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.
A CO2 cartridge is not an explosive charge, therefore, it does not violate the statute. So, from a legal standpoint, you should be okay owning one of these.
DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind that we are NOT lawyers and advise you to always ask a lawyer directly to get confirmation.
Supporting Felons Who Want to Own a Pellet Gun
Families of felons who want to hunt with a pellet gun should remind them of the importance appearance makes to those around them.
Whether it is police or others who may know felons who have a pellet gun, they should take precautions to not give the appearance of having an illegal firearm.
It isn’t worth the aggravation an illegal firearm or the perceived intention of felons carrying it to get in trouble over a weapon that is legal but is seen as being carried in a threatening manner.
This could result in legal action requiring a lawyer, made worse if the previous felony conviction was related to firearms or another violent crime. They should play it safe and not become one of the 2/3 who return to prison within the first couple of years following release.
Hunting is a great past-time for those who enjoy the outdoors and the opportunity to hunt once again as they did in the old days before their felony conviction.
They should ask their loved one if it is worth the risk to have a gun that can be mistaken for a rifle.
If they still want to own one, encourage them to take it seriously and not carry or display it in a menacing manner at any time.
There is a safe way to own and use this weapon. Help them achieve this.
So what do you think about this blog post about can felons own a pellet gun? Have you or someone you know been in this situation? What was that like? Please tell us in the comments below.