Firing BB/Air Soft Guns at Others Is a Criminal Offense

Walking on Swarthmore, before turning on Antioch, around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this editor watched a young black male, around 6’, about 150 pounds, jump out of a parked car, and fire an airsoft gun at two large male students walking in front of me.

The two winced with pain when hit, and when this editor realized the teen was firing pellets, I walked away as not to get hit. But I did record the license plate of the car and sent it to Espin and Palisades High School.

A teen jumped out of this car and fired a pellet gun at people on the sidewalk.

Today, a reader let me know that firing these guns is illegal in California. This editor should have called 911.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

California does not allow the display of any imitation firearms in any public spaces that include: streets, parks, sidewalks, front yards, a common area of an apartment building, commercial places open to the public, such as stores or medical buildings.

The state criminalizes the possession of those guns in government buildings, airports and schools.

In California, deliberately shooting a BB gun at another person is classified as a criminal offense. State law defines a “BB device” as “any instrument that expels a projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, gas pressure, or spring action.” It is a misdemeanor in California to sell, loan, or transfer a BB gun or BB device to a minor.

It could be considered battery under penal code 242PC, if someone shoots intentionally at another person and hits them. This act may constitute battery because it involves the willful and unlawful use of force. It is categorized as a misdemeanor in California and the punishment could include imprisonment of up to six months and a maximum fine of $2,000.

If someone aims at another person and misses, according to Penal Code 240, this is considered a misdemeanor and could include imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.

According to Penal Code 245 (a)(1), Although BB guns are generally not as lethal as traditional firearms, they can still be classified as a deadly weapon if they cause serious harm or death. This might be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a felony, it could lead to two, three, or four years in state prison.

According to Science Direct (February 2023), Air guns are considered mostly harmless by the public opinion, but projectiles shot from common air guns can penetrate skin and able to cause severe, even life-threatening injury. The prevalence of air gun injuries is constantly high, but severe injuries occur rarely.

These guns are designed to shoot projectiles at a high velocity and can be dangerous. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which issued a safety alert, these guns can kill.

Also, if police are called, it may be hard for an officer to tell if the person is firing a pellet gun or a real gun. Police may return fire and kill the person with the pellet gun.

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5 Responses to Firing BB/Air Soft Guns at Others Is a Criminal Offense

  1. sarah says:

    On many occasions, the kids paint the orange with black paint. This makes them feel like they are shooting a more “real” gun, but also makes it impossible for witnesses or police to tell if it is real or not. Disaster waiting to happen…

  2. Phil Bartolf says:

    Shouldn’t all of these issues–this about bee bee guns, the next article about a bee bee gun gun fight, plus all of the other reported instances of kids being out of control–go the the Community Council for their input/action? Can they do anything? Just a thought.

  3. Tony says:

    Common sense is not COMMON. The male who shot and injured two innocent teens could well have been shot had law enforcement been driving by. There are ALSO armed security guards in this area who might have thought “active shooter”. The PARENTS of this young man could ALSO BE HELD RESPONSIBLE…

  4. . says:

    Also, if police are called, it may be hard for an officer to tell if the person is firing a pellet gun or a real gun. Police may return fire and kill the person with the pellet gun.

    That punk is lucky we don’t have law enforcement here in the Palisades or he could’ve been shot dead himself — hmmm…….

  5. Pali Resident says:

    These guns are illegal in public parks and yet the Palisades Rec Center, on multiple occasions, has allowed parties with the vendor “Battle LA” to take place in the grassy open space, with eye protection only provided to participants, and zero protection to other hapless parkgoers. The participants use electric air rifles with gel pellets. We walked through the park on one occasion, only to hear what sounded like gun fire and emergency sirens and felt panic. Despite alerting the Rec Center management, they idiotically continue to use this vendor, in the “Veterans Gardens” of all places.

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