You might have kids or probably even be a kid, the question of whether there’s an age restriction in Airsoft might be on your mind. How old would one have to be to participate if it turns out there is?
Seeing as Airsoft guns aren’t rated as firearms, technically, you could play with them at any age. If you’re going to a field to play, the recommended age is 12. Also, if you’re not 18 years and above, it’s against the law to buy an airsoft weapon, whether online or your local store. However, you are allowed to battle it out with your friends in the field, as long as it’s permissible in Airsoft fields around your locality.
Confusing right? Can’t get yourself a personal airsoft weapon if you’re younger than 18, you are legally banned from buying airsoft guns, but they give you permission to participate in airsoft skirmishes? Baffling, I must say. Imagine if buying a car under 18 was illegal, but you were allowed to get a driver’s license and drive at that age. In an attempt to find answers to the question at hand, “what are the age requirements to participate in airsoft,” we will have to run through the legal complications surrounding Airsoft.
Does Airsoft Have Minimum Age Restrictions?
In the USA, there’s no age limit in the sport of Airsoft. This is because an airsoft gun does not fall under the classification of firearms. Just about anyone can operate airsoft guns along with other related gear, provided their actions are protected by the law of the country. Airsoft is considered in all states as a modern competitive shooting sport. The replica weapons, as well as other paraphernalia, are completely legal. For example, in California, the law clearly states that individuals of all ages can take part in the sport of Airsoft. California law also deems an airsoft gun to be a toy and a tool. However, if you and your pals are less than 18 years old, most airsoft fields in California require that your parents have to give you signed waivers. That is how it is with parks in various states.
I know you’re thinking, why is a 15-year old not allowed to purchase an airsoft gun but is permitted to fire one? Before we answer this, we have to be conversant with the laws governing firearms and how they relate to airsoft guns.
Airsoft and Gun Laws
Yes, Airsoft Guns are not fatal but are still classified as dangerous weapons. Hence they are subject to regulations under both federal and state laws. Remember, though; they are not considered as firearms legally. That’s why the paperwork is nonexistent when you walk into a store to buy an airsoft gun, unlike when you’re going for the real deal.
However, there are certain legal restrictions that prohibit the purchasing, transportation, and storage of replicas for Airsoft. This is done usually because even though airsoft guns are toys in the eyes of the law, they fire real projectiles. Replicas also have a striking similarity to real guns, and this fact has caused a lot of controversial circumstances.
Remember the case of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old kid in Ohio who was killed by the police after they said he was attempting to pull what they thought was a real weapon. The gun found on the crime scene was revealed as an Airsoft replica. There are multiple cases where individuals were mistakenly shot at for pulling out or waving an airsoft weapon.
That may be the reason there’s a legally set age restriction for buying airsoft guns but gives permission for kids and teens to relish the sport.
It’s fair to mention that BB guns too have been at the center of unfortunate situations where people have been killed or shot at because they were thought to be in possession of a real weapon. They too, bear a reasonable resemblance to real firearms, although nothing as uncanny as that of the Airsoft guns.
Minimum Age For Playing Airsoft
It turns out, the legally approved age for playing Airsoft is 12 years. You might ask why 12, why not 15?
Per experts in human development, 12year olds resent the idea of being labeled as preteens. This person has a tendency to copy teens and older adults. This stage in the life of a preteen usually comes with the urge to prove themselves and show they too can be mature. They tend to be critical of their appearance and are judgmental about themselves, which means they are capable of exerting some responsibility in their life.
With proper parental supervision and guidance, any kid of 12 years can partake in airsoft sports safely and regard all the protocols of moving and handling airsoft paraphernalia. So, if you have a 12-year-old kid that is a fan of Airsoft, you are allowed to get them the protective gear and replica guns without running afoul with the law. It’ll be your responsibility to locate a suitable Airsoft field and also to sign a disclaimer whenever he or she goes out to play.
Granted, you fulfill minimum age restrictions, you can battle it out in any field till you’re satisfied. If you’re planning on taking your kids out to a field for weekend battles, make sure you have acquainted them with the rules and regulations. Make sure the kids understand the etiquette regarding handling replicas to avoid silly mistakes that may lead to severe injuries. If you have that in check, please, let them have fun running around. They’ve fantasized about being cops chasing after robbers for the most part of their lives. It’s time they get their hands dirty and feel the thrill of the action in real life. Also, don’t forget to make sure they don’t go around brandishing the weapons in public or anywhere off the field. Avoiding another disastrous tragedy of kids being killed because of replicas is of the utmost importance. Remember to play safe and have loads of fun!