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A Guide to California BB Gun Laws

A Friendly Guide to California BB Gun Laws

Hey there! If you’re reading this, you probably have some questions about BB gun laws here in California. As your buddy, I want to walk you through the basics in simple terms. I know laws and legal stuff can be confusing, but stick with me and hopefully this will make sense.

Can I Own a BB Gun in California?

The short answer is yes! Adults can legally own BB guns in California. But there are a few rules:

  • You have to be 18 or older to buy or own a BB gun on your own.
  • If you’re under 18, you can use a BB gun if you have permission from your parent or guardian.

So as long as you’re an adult or have your folks’ blessing, you can own a BB gun in CA. Pretty simple so far!

Where Can I Use a BB Gun in California?

Now this part is trickier. There are rules about where and how you can use your BB gun in California. Let’s break it down:

Using a BB Gun at Home

You can use your BB gun on your own private property, like in your backyard. But you gotta be smart and safe about it! Don’t aim at people or animals, and make sure you have a proper backstop like a target or dirt mound so the BBs don’t fly into your neighbor’s yard.

Using a BB Gun in Public

This is where things get strict. You cannot openly carry or use a BB gun in public places in California. That includes:

  • Parks
  • Streets
  • Sidewalks
  • Front yards
  • Anywhere basically that people can freely come and go

The reason is BB guns are classified as “imitation firearms” under California law. So all the rules about not displaying real guns in public apply to BB guns too.

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Exceptions for Using BB Guns in Public

There are a couple exceptions where you can have a BB gun in public:

  • You can transport your BB gun if it’s unloaded and in a locked container. So you can take it to a friend’s house or an approved shooting range this way.
  • You can have it in your car, as long as it’s unloaded and not displayed in a threatening way.

But otherwise, keep that thing at home!

What Happens If I Break the Rules?

If you display, use, or threaten someone with a BB gun in public, you could face:

  • A fine, usually around $100-$250 for a first offense.
  • Misdemeanor charges if you break the law repeatedly or do something more serious. This can mean fines up to $1,000 and jail time up to 1 year.
  • Felony charges if you commit a very serious crime with a BB gun. This can mean state prison time.

So take the laws seriously! Don’t let your buddy (me!) down.

What If I Shoot Someone?

Whoa there, partner! Shooting someone with a BB gun, even if it was an accident, is very illegal.You could be charged with:

  • Assault – For shooting at someone, even if you miss. Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Battery – For actually hitting someone. Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon – For shooting someone in a way that could have seriously hurt them. Up to 3 years in prison.

Not good at all. Be super duper careful and don’t shoot at people!

5 Safety Tips for BB Guns

I want to leave you with some basic BB gun safety reminders, friend:

  1. Treat your BB gun like a real gun – don’t point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot!
  2. Wear eye protection when shooting. A BB to the eye is no joke.
  3. Know your target and what’s beyond it – make sure BBs have a safe backstop.
  4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
  5. Unload and securely store your BB gun when not in use. Lock it up if kids are around!

Follow those simple rules, and you’ll be a responsible BB gun owner. Have fun plinking cans in your backyard! But be safe and smart, and don’t take it out in public.Let me know if you have any other questions! I know this stuff can be confusing but I’m happy to clarify. Stay out of trouble, buddy!


Here are some handy links if you want to learn more about BB gun laws in California:California Penal Code on Imitation FirearmsOverview of CA BB Gun Laws from Shouse Law GroupCalifornia BB Gun Safety TipsCalifornia Code on Public BB Gun Display

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