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Air rifle laws in CA/San Diego

Discussion in 'Legal' started by musick, May 19, 2009.

  1. musick

    musick Well-Known Member

    Hello, I am looking for serious/legal advice here. Any links and/or Title, Chapter, Section and Statue numbers would be appreciated, specifically for San Diego California.

    Due to cost of "real" ammo, I want to start getting back into using my air rifle (Beeman R1) to keep my skills up, but have found the navigation of the laws a bit difficult. Does anyone know FOR SURE what the laws are regarding air rifles? I would like to carry the air rifle UNLOADED in a LOCKED case when in public, but plan to use it at a local archery range. Use of bow weapons are permitted at this range. Just for shooting at paper; no hunting, no reckless shooting.

    I looked into the law, but it seems vague. In the begining, it classifys BB/air guns as "imitation firearms", yet later it says:

    "For these purposes, “imitation firearm” does not include: -Historically significant nonfiring collector’s replicas offered with a wall plaque or presentation case; -BB devices; or -Devices where the entire exterior surface of the device is 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, as provided by federal regulations governing imitation firearms, or transparent or translucent as provided by federal regulations governing imitation firearms (PC § 12555). "

    I cant use this in my backyard as I dont have one. Inside my house is also not possible. Does anyone here shoot air rifles? Where, How, etc.? I want to shoot, but in a very LEGAL manner.

  2. rogertc1

    rogertc1 member

  3. PaulBk

    PaulBk Well-Known Member

  4. Quiet

    Quiet Well-Known Member

    Penal Code 12550
    As used in this article, the following definitions apply:
    (a) "BB device" is defined in subdivision (g) of Section 12001.
    (b) "Firearm" is defined in subdivision (b) of Section 12001.
    (c) "Imitation firearm" means any BB device, toy gun, replica of a firearm, or other device that is so substantially similar in coloration and overall appearance to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to perceive that the device is a firearm.

    Penal Code 12001
    (g) For purposes of Sections 12551 and 12552, the term "BB device" means any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, not exceeding 6 mm caliber, through the force of air pressure, CO2 pressure, or spring action, or any spot marker gun.

    Penal Code 12556
    (a) No person may openly display or expose any imitation firearm, as defined in Section 12550, in a public place.
    (b) Violation of this section, except as provided in subdivision (c), is an infraction punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for the first offense, and three hundred dollars ($300) for a second offense.
    (c) A third or subsequent violation of this section is punishable as a misdemeanor.
    (d) Subdivision (a) shall not apply to the following, when the imitation firearm is:
    (1) Packaged or concealed so that it is not subject to public viewing.
    (2) Displayed or exposed in the course of commerce, including commercial film or video productions, or for service, repair, or restoration of the imitation firearm.
    (3) Used in a theatrical production, a motion picture, video, television, or stage production.
    (4) Used in conjunction with a certified or regulated sporting event or competition.
    (5) Used in conjunction with lawful hunting, or lawful pest control activities.
    (6) Used or possessed at certified or regulated public or private shooting ranges.
    (7) Used at fairs, exhibitions, expositions, or other similar activities for which a permit has been obtained from a local or state government.
    (8) Used in military, civil defense, or civic activities, including flag ceremonies, color guards, parades, award presentations, historical reenactments, and memorials.
    (9) Used for public displays authorized by public or private schools or displays that are part of a museum collection.
    (10) Used in parades, ceremonies, or other similar activities for which a permit has been obtained from a local or state government.
    (11) Displayed on a wall plaque or in a presentation case.
    (12) Used in areas where the discharge of a firearm is lawful.
    (13) A device where the entire exterior surface of the device is 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, or where the entire device is constructed of transparent or translucent materials which permits unmistakable observation of the device's complete contents. Merely having an orange tip as provided in federal law and regulations does not satisfy this requirement. The entire surface must be colored or transparent or translucent.
    (e) For purposes of this section, the term "public place" means an area open to the public and includes streets, sidewalks, bridges, alleys, plazas, parks, driveways, front yards, parking lots, automobiles, whether moving or not, and buildings open to the general public, including those that serve food or drink, or provide entertainment, and the doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings.
    (f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude prosecution for a violation of Section 171b, 171.5, or 626.10.
  5. musick

    musick Well-Known Member

    Thanks to Quiet (just what I was looking for), PaulBk and rogertc1 (tc as in scion by chance??)!

    I think Quiet summed it up quite well.

    I spoke with two different POs today, and both said it was against the law to shoot a pellet gun ANYWHERE in public. :fire::cuss::banghead:

    Cheers for the help all!
  6. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    (5) Used in conjunction with lawful hunting, or lawful pest control activities.
    so...be hunting moles in your backyard.
  7. musick

    musick Well-Known Member

    If only I had a backyard.
  8. noobiegun

    noobiegun New Member


    I was wondering about this too. Im going to go buy a pelet rifle today and wanted to make sure I could fire it in my back yard. Guess I can fire at the rats on my hill..... hooray! if the gun isnt too loud I'll probably use it for target practice to though :cool:
  9. HIcarry

    HIcarry Well-Known Member

    Apparently only your backyard would be "legal" as the definition of a "public space" includes your front yard.

  10. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    San Diego PD almost blew away a man with a water gun some years back on Mission Beach. It was one of those they used to sell, that was a realistic Uzi replica. You practically had to handle the thing to know it wasn't a gun.

    Two officers had their guns on him, safeties off, weight on the trigger. I remember the interviews afterward. Fortunately the guy dropped it when they told him to. I guess he was reasonably sober. The cops were frazzled beyond belief.

    That's the origin of all these laws in San Diego about "replica guns". The cops (who can be a bit edgy) don't want to kill someone who's holding a toy.

    Consider that, act accordingly, and you should be all right.
  11. John Parker

    John Parker Well-Known Member

    Is that range the one off of 163 in Balboa Park by chance?
  12. thedavemyster

    thedavemyster Member

    Your Beeman R1 is a fine rifle; I used to have a Beeman HW97 that I used for Field Target when I lived in Florida; it was a powerful rifle, but I had room there to shoot it in my backyard.

    Now I live in Georgia, with no room to shoot in our not-very-private backyard; and, like an idiot, I sold my really cool Beeman R7 (which I could have shot in the house).

    Fortunately, I was able to find a nice little Diana model 23 in .22 caliber; the power is low, somewhere in the 350 to 400 fps range, but the accuracy is sweet. There are times when low power is a blessing; I shoot this gun in the house all the time, on my little 16-foot airgun range (which is my only wifely-approved place to shoot inside =>).

    You might find an old Diana 23, 25, or 27 (all in a similar low power range 350 - 450 fps)on the gunbroker.com site. Or, for less than $100, you could get a nice new Crosman 1377 Classic (I have a very old one) pistol. The new ones are nice, with a brass bolt for loading and cocking; and Crosman still sells the shoulder stock to make this into a mini-rifle (the stock also comes with a peep rear sight for the gun).

    I built one of these 1377 rifles for my grandson; they are great for shooting in the 15 t0 30 foot range, lots of fun, and a good way to keep in practice.

    Hope this helps.
  13. musick

    musick Well-Known Member

    There is a range in BP, and I was informed it was not legal to shoot air powered weapons there.
  14. musick

    musick Well-Known Member

    Yeah, so I have read. Not that I would know since I cant shoot it anywhere. OK, its not that bad, but Ive had it for about 10 years and have only shot, I dont know, maybe 20 pellets through it. Sigh, I think I am just going to sell it. With my luck, Im sure that selling it would probably be illegal. :banghead:
  15. John Parker

    John Parker Well-Known Member

    I've never tried to use it, but archers run between targets, stop, shoot their arrows, and run some more. It's right next to the 163 on the east side, if I remember right. First time I saw it was from my car, but you can stand on the bridge and watch them underneath. Pretty sweet!
  16. TheFallGuy

    TheFallGuy Well-Known Member

    don't depend on state laws only, lots of cities have ordinances that apply to air rifles/bb guns/sling shots. I know at my dad's house it is illegal to use an air rifle even though it is open field in the back. I found out when my neighbor called the local cops because I was shooting tin cans. It isn't much fun to have 12 officers swarm your house with guns pointed in your direction when you are holding a rifle. Makes for a scary day. Luckily no ticket, but a very firm lecture.
  17. Zoogster

    Zoogster Well-Known Member

    A bit more complicated. It depends on the layout of your front yard, whether you have property and if the public has access.

    The definition of open to the public changes if you do certain things. Legal postings of no tresspassing signs at legal intervals along the borders of the property, and a gate/fence at the front of the driveway can turn a front yard into an area no longer open to the public. At which point shooting in the front yard becomes legal. Leave that gate open though and it is once again open to the public for the duration.
    Of course it also can mean packages, mail and other things get dumped at the edge of your property rather than people crossing the boundry, along with other losses due to people unable to come to your door freely.

    So there is legal ways to turn your entire property into an area not open to the public. Maybe not in some little neighborhood with a home owner's association though.

    Additional many cities including those around San Diego county have local ordinances that forbid the discharge of firearms. In thier definition of firearm they sometimes include airguns and bb guns, meaning it becomes a violation of a city ordinance to discharge the airgun.

    Is it still "lawful pest control" at the state level if it violates a local ordinance at the city level?
    If not it could trigger a violation of state law by violating local laws.

    So be sure to look in your ordinances, many cities forbid discharge of airguns in city limits, or forbid the discharge of firearms and include airguns and bb guns and other things not firearms at the state level in thier local ordinance definition.

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