Are we an easy target for anti-airgun regulation?

Forums General Discussion Are we an easy target for anti-airgun regulation?

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    FlexWagtail
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    While the focus of anti-gun anger is on semi-auto “assault” style weapons and handguns, perhaps its worth wondering whether air guns might be low-hanging fruit in local jurisdictions seeking to “do something” about guns?  

    Just ask any YouTuber trying to put airgun content up what the climate is like.  Hint: It’s not good, Parkland tragedy notwithstanding.

    Maybe I’m over thinking but remind yourself of this:  Airguns are NOT protected by the Second Amendment because they are not regarded by the court as “arms” typically used for self-defense.  Nor are they regulated by the ATF, because they don’t meet the definition of firearms. 

    This leaves the door wide open for states, counties and municipalities to ban them, or regulate them in all sorts of ways that they can’t with firearms.   Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, San Francisco, New York City and the District of Columbia all provide vivid examples of how outrageously restrictive air gun regulation can become.  Michigan and Illinois treat larger calibers as “firearms” for legal purposes.

    Gabby Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a leading advocate for gun control, has a page of its website dedicated to “non-powder guns”.  This suggests air gun regulation is not just a fringe issue for gun control forces who are undeniably gaining strength.   Gifford’s website advocates for “laws that threat non-powder guns like the potentially lethal weapons they are.”

    Popular airgun forums such as this are populated largely by responsible, adult hobbyists who enjoy shooting sports.   For that reason perhaps we forget that unfortunately air guns are widely abused and misused by kids, criminals, animal abusers and all manner of other lowlifes whose misdeeds include everything from shooting neighborhood cats to vandalizing dozens of cars at a time (not to mention causing school lockdowns by bringing $20 Daisy pistols to school).  The mayhem occasionally makes the local news and provides all the ammunition needed for a municipality to “crack down” with no fear of being hauled to the Supreme Court by the NRA.

    With the explosion in popularity of PCPs and big bores, it goes without saying these are serious weapons designed to be used and enjoyed by responsible people.   The first lethal accident (or God-forbid intentional incident) with big bore is likely to raise the curtain on a whole lot of scrutiny.   When a kid got killed in Great Britain it sparked an ongoing government review of that country’s already ridiculously restrictive air gun laws.    People are people and there are more of these guns out there every day.  Something bad is bound to happen.

    I don’t write all this to offer any sort of strategy for protecting our “right” to enjoy our sport without harsh regulation or worse. (I guess that right is non-existent anyway).   Perhaps it’s just food for thought.

    But if they are not already, I would certainly encourage the industry to collectively spend some time on this issue by monitoring developing legal and legislative challenges.  They should also continue to create events such as the Pyramid Cup, EBR and FT rallies which successfully focus on the pure sport side of air gunning in friendly welcoming environments.  Continued engagement with state natural resources agencies regarding the expansion of airgun hunting opportunities is another good thing to keep working on in organized fashion.  As an observer, I think the industry does a good job of maintaining a largely responsible marketing posture focused on adult target use and legal hunting and pest control.  The rest of us would do well to follow suit. 

    I got into airguns because I really enjoy shooting sports and I’m fascinated by the tinkering and physics that comes into play.  Airguns give me all the challenge of powder-burning without all the noise, special trips to the range and regulatory hassles.  Frankly, I can also do without all the gun politics. Airgunning allowed me to ignore that kind of noise too — until now.
     

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    intenseaty22
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    Tic, Toc, Tic, Toc……it’s just a matter of time. Sooner or later. 

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    Trailryder42
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    I didn’t buy my first firearm until after Hillary said she was running for President. Then I went nuts. I suppose I should do the same with air guns, get them while I can.

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    Dcorvino
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    We already are a target. 
    In states such as Maryland and Massachusetts  they tried to
    put Airguns in the same category as airsoft guns, there has been frequent attempts to have them banned or severely restricted. There reasoning was pubic safety some people where shot because they pointed a pellet gun at a police officer 
    Two years ago at shot show I spent the whole week talkng with the people in the Airgun industry about the proposed ban. 
    i am a little concerned about the push to increase Airgun hunting, if the anti gun people in Massachusetts knew what some Airguns could do they probably would be new legislation  created very quickly in Massachusetts 
    i am all for increasing Airgun hunting but it could draw unwanted attention to our sport
    just my opinion 

    Dave 

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    hawkeye69
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    Humans are very sensory orinented and absent the loud bangs and muzzle flash, it wouldn’t even occur to most peple that air rifles could be any kind of threat.  Most people place air rifles on the same level as their kids BB gun.

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    rjos3ph
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    With the sport, power and hunting opportunities growing regulations or outright bans are sure to come. 

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    Hynzie
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    well im in mass too …and i fear its coming ,and soon,,and it will be awful thing to put heavy bans on our sport , and if we open the door to policing ourselves.. it could back fire ..and well that could light the match that some are waiting ..for to screw us ,,also i think the more recent trend of air gun makers coming out with semi auto models  sure there cool for a while..but i was hoping they would shy away from them ,,no need to draw more attention ,,, do we have a way to protect the sport we love,,,can we unite like the NRA or join with them somehow  i dont know  how any of that would work.. or if its even possible,,so who makes the first move do we have a leg to stand on ,,..we need a united front now ,,pat

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    Kayakairgun
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    Its only A matter of time before A low life dose something very stupid that makes national news headlines. Regulation could come faster and easier than one may think. All the government would have to do is change the legal definition of a firearm to include airguns. 

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    John_in_Ma
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    I also agree that regulation is inevitable. What doesn’t have to be is the regulations themselves. In Mass we have a conservative political watchdog group(what the gov’t supposed to be right?) that keeps an eye on the state house and any last minute, late night shenanigans they may try to pass any variety of harmful bills including anti gun legislation. If there could be an airgun lobby formed on the state level to get a foot in the door before the discussion even begins would be the best way to make sure any regulations are vetted and not overbearing or over reaching.

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    Sell682
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    I am also under the impression, now that we have a FPE race to the top we will start entering regulation territory. I can hear it now now “they don’t need 700 fpe, when a bow and arrow produces only 350…blah blah.” This will bring attention to the sport and of course, when they see this the replica firearms they already do not want with features such a full auto.  NJ classifies airguns as firearms and are treated as such. Yes a red rider B.B. gun is considered a firearm and requires a firearms card and background check to purchase …

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    AGFAN
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    mabpi
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    “Trailryder42”I didn’t buy my first firearm until after Hillary said she was running for President. Then I went nuts. I suppose I should do the same with air guns, get them while I can.

    Yes and without getting too political, the above statement is a major part of the problem. Just ask Glenn Beck about why powder burner ammo prices jumped so high….because “they” were coming to get your ammo so that they could put serial numbers on it.   
     

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    bowwild
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    As a retired fish and wildlife director, I can only imagine the statements some airgun fans are making in public meetings about the lethality of certain air rifles. They do this to convince regulators these guns are suitable for deer hunting. 

    However, low shot count (for big bores) and buddy bottles don’t fit checklist of the evil or mentally disturbed on the fringe of society. 

    So much of our freedom is restricted already (not just with firearms) because of our tolerance and coddling of miscreants. 

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    FlexWagtail
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    “bowwild”As a retired fish and wildlife director, I can only imagine the statements some airgun fans are making in public meetings about the lethality of certain air rifles. They do this to convince regulators these guns are suitable for deer hunting. 
    However, low shot count (for big bores) and buddy bottles don’t fit checklist of the evil or mentally disturbed on the fringe of society. 
    So much of our freedom is restricted already (not just with firearms) because of our tolerance and coddling of miscreants. 

    
Your point about shot count/buddy bottles etc is an important one. Legislators, town councils snd others will need to be educated on these important limiting factors when they consider the inevitable and there needs to be an Airgun-specific organization prepared to argue that NO ONE is going to choose an airgun to attack a school anymore than they will chose a crossbow or muzzleloader.  With tespect to NRA members, I fear the organization is poison in states like Mass, NJ , CA and others. A too close alignment would further associate aurguns with actual school shooter firearms in the minds of many.   At the minimum the airgun world needs its own organization with a focus on education, sportsmanship, consevation  and competition that aligns more with bowhunter groups that lobby at the state level.    The posture cannot be “from my cold dead hands”  because there is no Constitutiional “right” in play.    

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    outdoorman
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    “Dcorvino”
    In states such as Maryland and Massachusetts  they tried to
    put Airguns in the same category as airsoft guns, there has been frequent attempts to have them banned or severely restricted. 

    
Didn’t know about that in Maryland. They just eased the air gun requirement for deer hunting this past season.

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    Bullfrog
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    “FlexWagtail”Airguns are NOT protected by the Second Amendment 

    Although that one trial court opinion gives some reason for concern for the people of New York, its not the final say as to whether the Second Amendment protects airguns. In fact, there’s a high likelihood that NY case was overruled by a Supreme Court case from 2016 that clearly stated that the Second Amendment applies to weapons other than firearms. In that particular case, the weapon in question was a stungun. The Supreme Court held that a State may not ban general possession of stun guns because of the Second Amendment. It shot down the State’s arguments, which were basically the same arguments the NY trial court judge put out in his case against airguns.

    https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-10078_aplc.pdf

    I would think the same logic would apply to our airguns.  That wouldn’t mean airguns couldn’t be regulated just as firearms are, as firearms are still regulated with some restrictions such as how they may be carried and who may carry them. But I doubt after the 2016 opinion they could be banned outright. 

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    Springrrrr
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    Let one incident make national news and the slide will begin in full

    Many states like the People’s Republic of New Jersey already consider an air gun, both pistol and rifle, a firearm and put you through hoops to get one.

    The more noise that is made about the increasing power of these things, the faster we will hit the bottom of the slide.

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    Glem.Chally
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    Yeah hopefully something doesn’t happen and trigger “outrage culture” and “we gotta do something!”,  with semi-auto here/on the way and more and more FPE every year it can bring some negative attention.

    I’m rooting for you guys!

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    Dcorvino
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    “outdoorman”

    “Dcorvino”
    In states such as Maryland and Massachusetts  they tried to
    put Airguns in the same category as airsoft guns, there has been frequent attempts to have them banned or severely restricted. 

    
Didn’t know about that in Maryland. They just eased the air gun requirement for deer hunting this past season.

    Maryland and Massachusetts were considering a ban 2 years ago.
    They lumped Airguns in with airsoft and replica Airguns. This ban idea was caused when someone was shot by a police officer in Chicago because they would not drop the pellet gun  
    Hope this helps 

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    fishinwrench
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    Even if municipalities ban them, ignoring the ban cannot be a felony.  Eventually they will tire of giving out $10 tickets and leave you alone.   I’d say the most it is likely to cost you is 30-100 bucks.  

    We all would prefer to always adhere to rules/regulations/laws, but that is contingent on the rules/regulations/laws being reasonable.   Don’t pretend that there aren’t already other rules/regulations/laws which are rediculous and get ignored daily, there are already plenty of them.
    In some places it is illegal to warm your car up on a cold morning before leaving for work.  That law gets ignored in masse regularly.  

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