Are Fully Automatic BB Guns Legal?

Air guns, including BB guns, have been a topic of interest for many enthusiasts and potential buyers. One of the most frequently asked questions is about the legality of fully automatic BB guns. This article aims to shed light on this topic based on the research provided.

Federal Perspective

According to David Franklin Hammack, a former law enforcement officer and NRA member, in the US, no airguns of any kind, regardless of their mode of fire, are regulated by the federal government. This means that many “full-auto” models are available in the market, some of which are quite popular. However, just because they are not illegal by federal law doesn’t necessarily mean they are legal. It’s essential to differentiate between what’s not prohibited by federal law and what’s allowed by state or local regulations.

State and Local Regulations

While the federal government might not regulate air guns, many states and localities have their own set of rules. As George Alicea, a former armed security personnel at federal buildings, points out, the legality can vary significantly based on location. For instance, in New York City, even some paintball guns are not legal. Similarly, Arek Petrosian, a gun freedom enthusiast, emphasizes that while air guns are not considered “firearms” by federal law, they are still subject to various state regulations.

Factors Influencing Legality

  • Federal Law: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) may classify some fully automatic air guns as firearms, requiring the same licensing and regulations as traditional firearms.
  • State Laws: Different states have different regulations regarding air guns. Some might have stricter rules, while others might be more lenient.
  • Local Regulations: Cities and counties can have their own rules, which might differ from state regulations.
  • Purpose: The intended use of the air gun can also influence its legality. For instance, guns designed for recreational purposes might be treated differently than those designed for more lethal purposes.


1. Are fully automatic BB guns regulated by the federal government in the US?

No, in the US, airguns of any kind, including fully automatic BB guns, are not regulated by the federal government. However, some might be classified as firearms by the ATF, requiring similar licensing and regulations as traditional firearms.

2. Can I legally own a fully automatic BB gun in any state?

Not necessarily. While air guns are not considered “firearms” according to federal law, individual states and localities have their own regulations. It’s essential to check the specific laws of your state or locality before purchasing any air gun.

3. Does the intended use of a fully automatic BB gun affect its legality?

Yes, the intended use can influence the legality of a fully automatic BB gun. Guns designed solely for recreational purposes, like airsoft guns, might have different regulations compared to those designed for more lethal purposes.


While fully automatic BB guns might seem like a fun and exciting prospect for many, it’s crucial to be aware of the legal implications. Before purchasing any air gun, it’s essential to research and understand the laws and regulations specific to your location. As always, safety should be a top priority, and one should always follow the rules of safe firearms handling, even with an air gun.

Note: This article is based on research and insights from various sources. Always consult local regulations and legal experts before making any purchase decisions.

Harrison Baxter
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