Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Is it illegal to remove the orange tip from an airsoft gun?

Is it illegal to remove the orange tip?
That is the question that is on many airsoft players minds. I too wanted to know the answer. I am coming from a paintball background in which markers are not shipped with nor require an orange tip.

Due to the potential of violating a federal law by removing the orange tip from my AEG and the contradicting information available on the interwebs, I decided to contact my attorney for an official answer.

As of July 30th, 2012 "Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade" Part 1150 "Marking of toy, look-alike, and imitation firearms" states:

§ 1150.1 Applicability
 This part applies to toy, look-alike, and imitation firearms (“devices”) having the appearance, shape, and/or configuration of a firearm and produced or manufactured and entered into commerce on or after May 5, 1989, including devices modeled on real firearms manufactured, designed, and produced since 1898. This part does not apply to:
(a) Non-firing collector replica antique firearms, which look authentic and may be a scale model but are not intended as toys modelled on real firearms designed, manufactured, and produced prior to 1898;
(b) Traditional B-B, paint-ball, or pellet-firing air guns that expel a projectile through the force of compressed air, compressed gas or mechanical spring action, or any combination thereof, as described in American Society for Testing and Materials standard F 589–85, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Non-Powder Guns, June 28, 1985. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies may be obtained from the American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Copies may be inspected at the office of the Associate Director for Industry and Standards, National Institute for Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202–741–6030, or go to:http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html; and
(c) Decorative, ornamental, and miniature objects having the appearance, shape and/or configuration of a firearm, including those intended to be displayed on a desk or worn on bracelets, necklaces, key chains, and so on, provided that the objects measure no more than thirty-eight (38) millimeters in height by seventy (70) millimeters in length, the length measurement excluding any gun stock length measurement.
[57 FR 48453, Oct. 26, 1992, as amended at 69 FR 18803, Apr. 9, 2004]
§ 1150.2 Prohibitions
No person shall manufacture, enter into commerce, ship, transport, or receive any toy, look-alike, or imitation firearm (“device”) covered by this part as set forth in §1150.1 of this part unless such device contains, or has affixed to it, one of the markings set forth in §1150.3 of this part, or unless this prohibition has been waived by §1150.4 of this part.
[54 FR 19358, May 5, 1989]
§ 1150.3 Approved markings
 The following markings are approved by the Secretary of Commerce:
(a) A blaze orange (Federal Standard 595a, February, 1987, color number 12199, issued by the General Services Administration) or orange color brighter than that specified by the federal standard color number, solid plug permanently affixed to the muzzle end of the barrel as an integral part of the entire device and recessed no more than 6 millimeters from the muzzle end of the barrel. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of Federal Standard 595a may be obtained from the Office of Engineering and Technical Management, Chemical Technology Division, Paints Branch, General Services Administration, Washington, DC 20406. Copies may be inspected at the office of the Associate Director for Industry and Standards, National Institute for Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202–741–6030, or go to:http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.(b) A blaze orange (Federal Standard 595a, February, 1987, color number 12199, issued by the General Services Administration) or orange color brighter than that specified by the Federal Standard color number, marking permanently affixed to the exterior surface of the barrel, covering the circumference of the barrel from the muzzle end for a depth of at least 6 millimeters. This incorporation by reference was approved by the Director for the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. Copies of Federal Standard 595a may be obtained from the Office of Engineering and Technical Management, Chemical Technology Division, Paints Branch, General Services Administration, Washington, DC 20406. Copies may be inspected at the office of the Associate Director for Industry and Standards, National Institute for Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, or at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202–741–6030, or go to:http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.(c) Construction of the device entirely of transparent or translucent materials which permits unmistakable observation of the device's complete contents.
(d) Coloration of the entire exterior surface of the device in white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple, either singly or as the predominant color in combination with other colors in any pattern.
[54 FR 19358, May 5, 1989, as amended at 57 FR 48454, Oct. 26, 1992; 69 FR 18803, Apr. 9, 2004]
 
 I took the liberty of highlighting the important parts in bold. Notice that it is a violation of federal law for a person to "manufacture, enter into commerce, ship, transport, or receive" an airsoft gun without an "orange color brighter than that specified by the Federal Standard color number, marking permanently affixed to the exterior surface of the barrel, covering the circumference of the barrel from the muzzle end for a depth of at least 6 millimeters". However, it does not state it is unlawful for an individual to remove the orange tip once purchased.

With that being said, it is highly recommended an individual not carry nor display an airsoft gun in public! THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY AND THE SAFETY OF OTHERS.

You may also be asking yourself, as I was; Can I shoot an airsoft gun in my own backyard?

There is no federal law that prohibits such activity BUT check with your local municipal restrictions. I live in Oklahoma and the city in which I reside has the following statute on the books:

Discharging Firearms: It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully discharge any pistol, rifle, shotgun, air gun or other weapon or throw any other missile in a public place, or in any place where there is any person to be endangered thereby, although no injury to any person shall ensue.

I highlighted the important parts in bold. My backyard is not a public place, (I do not recommend target practice in your back yard if you do not have a privacy fence) but due to the clause "or in any place where there is any person to be endangered thereby" leaves me open to legal complications if a neighbor feels endangered. This is why it is important to be on good terms with your neighbors and practice airsoft responsibly.

Hopefully this answers the question once and for all. When in doubt, check it out!




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