Can Felons Own a Pellet Gun?
Civilian Rights Firearms

Can Felons Own a Pellet Gun?

Can felons own a pellet gun

As felons know, owning a firearm is one of the most frustrating restrictions that they’ll face as life after prison begins.

While felons cannot own a firearm in the traditional sense, there are other types of weapons used for hunting that they can possess such as Muzzleloaders, crossbows, and knives.

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 muzzle velocity 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.

8 responses to “Can Felons Own a Pellet Gun?”

  1. Strgazer says:

    In Oklahoma felons can NOT own a crossbow. Just went thru this with a friend of mine.

  2. David says:

    Can a felon own and hunt with these new air powered rifles that actually shoot 45 caliber rounds

  3. Jeff mabry says:

    Ok y’all. Airsoft guns are the weakest most harmless of all airguns. They fire plastic projectiles at very slow speeds. They could never be used to hunt Anything

  4. Mike says:

    Completely incorrect…sorry to tell you. An Airsoft rifle shooting at 350fps+ can kill a small animal such as a squirrel, rabbit, or w/e rodent. Why? Because they shoot fast…and at that speed(projectile speed)… repeated shots can kill them.

  5. Clayborn Lewis says:

    I’ve got a 58 caliber air pistol , that will drop a buffalo with one shot. and it is an air pistol. so don’t be fooled air pistols can kill just as well as firearms… but the one I own is totally legal for a felon to own . because it is just what I said an air pistol……

  6. Clayborn Lewis says:

    you my friend are absolutely correct . they’ve got 50 caliber air rifles out there that will drop a deer with one shot from 40 yards away…

  7. James McNab says:

    LMFAO ….Hunting with a AIRSOFT!!! Wow. Airsoft is a SPORT, just like paintball, using 6mm plastic BBs. the guns are electric, compressed gas or use a spring. 400 fps is the max for competition play.

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