An air gun or air rifle is a gun that fires pneumatically with compressed air or other gases that are mechanically pressurized without engaging any chemical reactions. Air rifles are used for small game hunting, recreational shooting (also known as plinking), competitive sports such as the Olympic 10 m Air Pistol events, and even for pest control. But, can you use air rifles in your backyard?
Yes, you can! But there are certain things you may look at before doing so. You have to be aware of the legality of air rifles to be carried in your place, and you also have to consider the necessary precautions in performing shooting in your yard. Nevertheless, age does matter, you have to be 18 years old or older to be permitted to do so.
In this article, we will discuss if you can use air rifles in your backyard. We will tackle the things to consider before using air rifles in your backyard. This information will guide you before any adrenaline rush and adventures run on your property.
Can I Use My Air Rifle in My Backyard?
In the USA, air gun shooting is one of the most famous shooting sports. It’s an enjoyable activity to venture for both amateurs and professionals. Air gun shooting is a good start for determined beginners to engage before moving forward to high guns and hunting. But, can you do air gun shooting in your backyard?
Yes, you can use air rifles in your backyard or private land if you are at least 18 years old and have a permit. Nevertheless, each jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations. Anyone interested in air gun shooting must seek information about carrying air rifles.
It is recommended to first inquire your local authority for more information about local restrictions and gun laws. Generally, the law prohibits shooting in or within 150 yards from a residence, campsite, building, developed recreation area, or occupied area.
Are Air Rifles Considered Firearms?
The query as to whether air rifles are considered firearms is quite interesting. Based on a view of old standard air guns, we can easily see that air rifles are not firearms at all. However, considering the recently developed, big bore air guns and high-powered pre-charged pneumatic air guns, the presumption has changed a bit. This topic gets even more interesting as it needs to have a little explanation and exploration. Below is how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has classified air guns.
According to the 1968 Gun Control Act, air guns or air rifles are not considered firearms because they use compressed air instead of an explosive to expel a projectile. They do not constitute firearms under federal law unless they are manufactured with the frames or receivers of an actual firearm. Therefore, the domestic sale and possession of air guns are normally unregulated under federal firearms laws enforced by the ATF.
Some countries have a legal system with regards to air guns, but these may differ extensively. Each jurisdiction has its own definition of an air gun, and the regulations may change for weapons of the different bore, velocity, or muzzle energy, or even with the material of ammunition.
Guns created to fire metal pellets are more strictly controlled than airsoft weapons. Some places in the world require background checks and permits to own or use air rifles — the same conditions as those needed for owning a high-powered firearm. The sale and possession of both air rifles and ammunition should be practiced at the legal age.
Shooting is a very popular hobby in America. All around the country, people enjoy shooting, collecting guns, and hunting when it is the season. If you want to hone your gun skills, you will need to practice. You might think that your backyard is the perfect spot for training, but can you shoot a gun in your backyard? Read our article to find out.
Is It Legal to Use My Air Rifle in My Backyard?
U.S. federal law does not require licensing of both powerful guns and air rifles. In some other countries where air gun shooting is a very popular hobby, you are not restricted to buy air rifles and ammunition as long as you are 18 years old or older. An air gun can be used by a person of legal age in any permitted setting. This means that any unlawful act you conduct may generate heavy punishment and some different offenses. Adherence to this code is the best way to abide by the law. The right thing to do is to check with the local authorities for several firearm licensing provisions.
In the USA, the federal government will not regulate air rifles. However, this does not apply to all states because of the differences in state ratifications. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence keeps a list of states and municipalities that regulate air guns. It also goes against the rule to fire your air rifles or any other firearm within 50 feet of a highway center to prevent any individual driving on the highway from getting injured. Even so, it is necessary to connect with your local or state authorities to respect the guidelines.
However, in England, for instance, it is not required to have a license to possess air guns. Although, you must also be at least 18 to own any. However, any pistol that is over 6 ft./lbs. and that makes over 12 ft./lbs. worth of muzzle energy is classified as a ‘specifically hazardous firearm.’ To possess such air guns, you must have a definite Firearm Certificate, although having that type of firearm is forbidden under the 1968 Firearms Act.
Whereas, the rules and regulations about shooting in your yard may depend on what state or country you live in. The restrictions applied in all countries are generally common to guarantee your safety and that of other individuals in the surroundings. Usually, what the law prohibits is firing your air rifles beyond the boundary premises. It is a serious offense with commensurate punishments.
Things to Consider Before Using Your Air Rifle in Your Backyard
Air rifle shooting in your backyard is not illegal. Using it within your property and premises is indeed allowed, although it may vary on where you reside, considering the national and local rules and regulations. However, there are various rules and limitations on who can and how it should be executed.
Even though you are performing it on your property, you must be observant of the local laws to determine your limitations and not overstep your boundaries. The restrictions vary from state to state, who classify air rifles differently. If you are unsure, we advise you to clear up these restrictions with the authorities and ask for a written permit or authorized document to ensure your rights in case of questioning.
As with any form of shooting, safety is the main priority, especially considering the possibility of other humans’ existence nearby while you are shooting in your backyard. Air rifles are mostly fairly low-powered compared to other guns, which is why you may practice in your backyard. Still, they may result in insignificant threats and can cause accidents or even death.
This doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a safe air gun shooting experience in your backyard; you just need to follow all the guidelines and use your common sense. Although there is a list of rules and guidelines on how to practice air gun shooting, here are some essential advice you might consider before using your air rifles in your backyard.
Let your neighbors know about your activity
The most effective way to avoid conflict with nearby residents is to inform them of your game plan before you get into action. Explain to them the several safety measures you plan to apply. You may also propose to have them look over the setup and invite them to join you if they’d like.
Shooting range layout and safety
You have to make sure that you take all your shots in the safest direction possible. Avoid setting up in any angle that consists of any unlocked downrange access points. You don’t want someone uninformed about the activity to enter your yard and pass by your range. Keep in mind that it is ideal to put up a sign saying, ‘BACK OFF – Firing ongoing’ or anything you want to warn anybody around your property.
Before any shooting activity begins, make sure that all individuals in your home are fully aware that the backyard is restricted until you are done. Normally, most of these guns, especially the newest versions of air guns, make use of telescopic sights that are indicated by blinkering effects at the most dangerous moment.
The best advice to participants and watchers of this activity is that ‘there should be no one in front of the shooting line” during the shooting and until it is done and all guns are down and unloaded.
The appropriate backstop is a must when you want to practice shooting in your backyard. An acceptable backstop can be something like an adequate soft bank without stones. Or, you may install a brick wall within the bounds of your backyard and hang an old carpet or rug to avoid ricochets. However, do not use chipboards, plywood, or any thick material with a polished finish as a backstop as those increase the chances of ricochets.
Air gun shooting is a good starting activity to venture into when you are an enthusiast of action sports. As we all know, practice makes perfect, and your backyard could be a perfect shooting range. But before you begin practicing, you need to setup a few safety precautions and you also need to inform everyone around you about the activity that you are about to do to avoid unfortunate accidents.
With all the legal aspects that we reviewed in this article, as well as the helpful tips that we shared, you are now ready to try the sports you are passionate about. But remember to always be responsible for all your actions as great function comes with great responsibility.