Question primarily for those in California

Discussion in 'General Airsoft Discussion' started by 442rct, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. 442rct

    442rct New Member

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    Greetings everyone. I've been out of airsoft for awhile but the upcoming AirsoftCON has gotten me interested in playing again. I was wondering for those who play at commercially run fields in California, do the fields enforce the California marking requirements (SB199)? I know the fields are not the ones charged with actual enforcement of the laws (that obviously is LE's job), but what I am asking is whether fields allow you to play with airsoft guns that do not have all the proper markings (perhaps to maintain their liability/property insurance)? Do fields (in my case in SoCal) check for markings or do they not seem to care (as it may decrease their business particularly for milsim events). A corollary question: if they do not enforce these requirements, are they complicit in violating California law, and so in the long run (at least in the eyes of an ultraliberal California legislature) risking the future of airsoft in California by giving California another excuse to get rid of airsoft just so these fields can reap immediate financial gain at the expense of the future of the business? I need to know if I need to tape or paint my guns before showing up to a field (I know I should to remain in compliance, but its a shame to "deface" some nice authentic replicas). As a side note, when I last visited Evike, I noticed that they would place cheap blue temporary painters tape on the guns at point of sale while the law states that markings are to be of a type that is not meant to be removed. By using tape that is designed to be removed by its inherent design (painters tape being designed and intended in its original use to be easily removed) are they ultimately putting airsoft at risk in California by basically flaunting the law? I would hate to see this happen as I enjoy AS as well as RS shooting and think Kevin Deleon is an absolute idiot and cares more for non-citizens compared to citizens in what used to be the greatest state in the Union years ago. What are your thoughts and findings? TIA for your input.
     
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  2. link0

    link0 Well-Known Member

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    CA licensed lawyer here, but not remotely experienced in this field of law, so take this with a grain of salt. Disclaimer: I'm not your retained lawyer, and this is not legal advice. I just looked up SB199 out of curiosity.


    SB199 states:
    "Existing law generally prohibits anyone from purchasing, selling, manufacturing, shipping, transporting, distributing, or receiving an imitation firearm."

    16700.

    (a) As used in this part, “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.

    (b) As used in Section 20165, “imitation firearm” does not include any of the following:
    ...[redacted]
    ...(A) If the airsoft gun is configured as a handgun, in addition to the blaze orange ring on the barrel required by federal law, the airsoft gun has a trigger guard that has fluorescent coloration over the entire guard, and there is a two centimeter wide adhesive band around the circumference of the protruding pistol grip that has fluorescent coloration.
    (B) If the airsoft gun is configured as a rifle or long gun, in addition to the blaze orange ring on the barrel required by federal law, the airsoft gun has a trigger guard that has fluorescent coloration over the entire guard, and there is a two centimeter wide adhesive band with fluorescent coloring around the circumference of any two of the following:

    Therefore, in CA, when you remove the Orange tips, the airsoft gun becomes an "imitation firearm" and does not fall under the exclusions above. However, you are only required to have an orange tip (and tape around the trigger guard and grip, etc) ONLY when you are purchasing, selling, shipping, etc.

    So NO, you do not need an orange tip after you already own your gun. No commercial field in CA that I am aware of requires, cares, or even suggests you to have an orange tip.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  3. 442rct

    442rct New Member

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    Thank you very much link0! My confusion stems from the following argument made by another (who I believe is also an attorney) that I found when researching this. I quote:

    • Airsoft guns are sold in California as 'BB devices'. To be sold as such, State law (CPC s.16700(b)(4)) requires stripes, and Federal law (CFR Title 15 Part §272.3(a)) requires a muzzle tip.
    • It is an offense to "change, alter, remove, or obliterate any coloration or markings that are required by any applicable state or federal law or regulation, for any imitation firearm, or any device described in subdivision (b) of Section 16700" - CPC s.20150(a). CPC s.16700(b)(4) includes BB devices.
    • Therefore, it is an offence under CPC s.20150(a) to remove the stripes and muzzle tip from both a BB device and from an imitation firearm.
    • If you do so, you face a fine of $100 for the first gun, $300 for the second, and a misdemeanour for the third. Additionally, your gun is now an imitation firearm, not a BB device, and is subject to imitation firearm rules which BB devices aren't.
    • Man this is confusing, as like you said, one friend that has been to one particular SoCal field has stated that nobody seems to care. Also, doesn't "transporting" also include driving it to the field? Having been out of airsoft since prior to the new law, I just wanted some better clarity, but thanks for your input, its greatly appreciated.
     
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  4. slappomatt

    slappomatt Member

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    interesting wording they use, flat out ban them completely and then come back and amend them to allow an exclusion.

    Thanks OP for bringing this up I havent been to a field yet and was kind of wondering. although the guys at the local store don't even have orange tips on their guns and thats just asking to be shot IMO.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  5. -Spitfire-

    -Spitfire- Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Only risking getting shot if you brandish it in public...
    Really? Huh. Looking forward to your response to


     
  6. Splode

    Splode Well-Known Member

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    I have yet to play at a field here in cali that enforces orange tips and such. That would suck and theyd lose customers. The owners of the fields around here say "that is your party". In other words, its not their affair. If you want to take it off and "break the law" thats up to you. They are only concerned with whether or not the insurance requires it. Orange tips are in place for use OUTSIDE of airsoft fields. No one sees a gun without an orange tip at an airsoft field and freaks out. The only reason a field owner would require it would be as an extra precaution. As far as i know, the law doesnt state that its illegal to let people play at your field if they dont have the orange markings. I suppose it could creep up in court if there was someone who got hurt or something but I dont know how tip color would affect someone getting hurt at an airsoft field. And field owners tend to be pretty good about having all the correct disclaimers posted stating they are not responsible if you choose to play with incorrect gear.
     
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  7. link0

    link0 Well-Known Member

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    Weed is also illegal by Federal Law, but allowed in various state laws. Technically, federal law trumps state law, but neither weed laws nor airsoft orange tip laws are enforced in those states that do not follow the federal law.

    Laws are never black/white, always shades of grey, and there is never a clear answer.

    Many laws are there, but is never enforced in practicality. In Idaho, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Wisconsin, adultery is a felony. When is that ever prosecuted?

    That said, the majority of airsoft players remove their orange tip in CA. I'm unaware of any cases of any actual legal punishment for it for owning, transporting, or using them on airsoft fields.

    Airsoft guns should always be treated like real firearms and never exposed in public, even if the whole gun is painted bright orange.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  8. Splode

    Splode Well-Known Member

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    For those interested, you can get removable orange rubber barrel tip cover thingies that fit most barrels. You can then cut a hole in the bottom of it so bbs can pass through and voila, you have a convenient attachable orange tip that you can add or remove at your whim. That said, ive been testing my sniper rifle off of my apartment balcony with one of these. :eek::p
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  9. 442rct

    442rct New Member

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    Thank you to everyone for all the input. Link0, I do understand that there are laws on the books that are just never enforced (like your adultry example). However, unlike the fed vs state weed laws, not being a lawyer myself, I think the possible difference in the California airsoft law is that the California law actually states that violation of the federal statute also is a violation of California law. At any rate, like you stated, I guess it doesn't matter if it is never enforced. I guess I can just call the field and ask if they care if the airsoft guns are marked according to Cali law. Thanks again for taking the time to look up the details. I'm just surprised that California being quite the "nanny state" that insurance companies let this slide. I suppose we should just enjoy it while it lasts, lol. I heard from a friend that one field in SoCal that used to not require barrel condoms, now requires them to meet their "insurance requirements". Again, thanks all.
     
  10. link0

    link0 Well-Known Member

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    Some fields here require barrel condoms in the staging area, a rule of which I am a big supporter of. The fields and also insurance companies, only care about real safety hazards. No one gives two $hits about an orange tip though.

    I've definitely seen noobs accidentally discharge their guns (because they forget to clear their rifle after removing the mag) in the staging area, which is incredibly dangerous. Having a barrel condom rule removes that liability.
     
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  11. 442rct

    442rct New Member

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    link0,
    I agree with you 100%. I just thought that since they did not require barrel condoms in the past, but now do require them (which I think is a very good and necessary rule) and that they cite this as an insurance company requirement for coverage, I just wonder if they will eventually start enforcing marking regulations as well, although insurance companies really do not cover you anyway for "breaking the law". Thanks again for your input.
     
  12. Ten8DoWork

    Ten8DoWork Active Member

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    I have no idea what is going on over there in CA and I am not giving you legal advice.

    But in my opinion, if you treat airsoft guns as real firearms and transport them safely in cases, unloaded, etc. and practice good handling then I doubt you will have an issue.

    If you have your airsoft gun with a muzzle device that is not brightly colored sitting in your back seat of your car in plain view and/or walking around with it slung over your shoulder through the neighborhood then you deserve whatever *** chewing LE gives you for brandishing it in public.

    In the end it's up to you if you want to take the risk. There's always that one pissed off cop that will give you a hard time.
     
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  13. Splode

    Splode Well-Known Member

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    Yep, but this was mainly an inquiry into field regulations. Everyone agrees that orange tips/cases/etc are a good idea when not in a game area.
     
  14. Ten8DoWork

    Ten8DoWork Active Member

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    Yea I know. The field rules are either they require it or they don't. I was explaining that what is going on at a legitimate airsoft field probably isn't what you should be worrying about at this point. Play it smart outside the field too so to not attract attention to the sanctioned events.

    It's always possible fields start getting checked by authorities. Then you got a whole new problem. :(
     
  15. Splode

    Splode Well-Known Member

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    Thats true. Very possible in California. Once they crack down on guns more, airsoft is next because apparently guns kill people and airsoft guns look scary..
     
  16. 442rct

    442rct New Member

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    OP here. In addition to my inquiry regarding field rules (so I would not be turned away from a field due to my ignorance of how current law is applied at the fields) I was contemplating whether compliance, and conversely intentional non-compliance, could affect the future business of airsoft, particularly in states like California. I of course agree with everyone who thinks you should handle an airsoft weapon as you would real steel, whether your imitation firearm is marked or not. Anything else just defies common sense and therefore gives airsoft a bad reputation to the uninformed. I think this is a particular risk in states like California and carelessness (aka idiotic behavior) just provides the anti-gun/anti-airsoft proponents fuel for their cause. When I used to play at commercial field games a number of years ago, I was generally appalled at how careless many were with muzzle control (they would have easily killed themselves or others in staging areas had they had a RS weapon in hand, and obviously had no clue as to how to handle a real weapon). As a side note, I also find it interesting that paintball "marker" guns do not seem to require flourescent markings, although there are some paintball models that can look like RS. I guess they can argue that with the ammo reservoirs, paintball markers are significantly different visually from RS compared to airsoft guns, or . . . paintball is just a more established industry in California, with a more well established lobby group, lol.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018