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BB guns are airguns designed to shoot projectiles called BBs. A BB is a small ball, typically made of steel with a copper or zinc plating with a diameter of 4.4 millimeters. BB guns are typically used for indoor practice, training children and occasional recreational shooting.
Unlike firearms, which are subject to a number of strict rules, the sale or possession of BB guns is generally unregulated in most U.S. States, as they are not considered weapons in most cases.
Missouri firearm statues
Most statutes in the Missouri Revised Statutes pertain to firearms. The laws and rules pertaining to firearms, and their intent of use, are generally quite different from those for airguns. Still, a few sections state restrictions that apply to projectile weapons.
Section 571.010 defines a projectile weapon as “any bow, crossbow, pellet gun, slingshot or other weapon that is not a firearm, which is capable of expelling a projectile that could inflict serious physical injury or death by striking or piercing a person.” These restrictions generally do not hamper ones right to possess a BB gun, although, it is considered illegal to be in possession of or to discharge a projectile weapon while intoxicated. The court also has the right to confiscate an airgun owned by a gang member.
Restrictions for lethal weapons
It has not been determined whether or not a BB gun constitutes a lethal weapon. However, if determined to be lethal, then its use would be severely limited. For example, it is illegal to carry a concealed lethal weapon. It is also illegal to carry a potentially lethal weapon into any school building, school bus or official setting. And simply threatening a person or a group with a weapon may be considered a peace disturbance or a terrorist threat.
It is generally agreed that though BB guns may cause bodily harm (usually no more than an eye injury), it is unlikely that they represent a deadly threat. However, it is best that you consult your local city council’s Web site before buying a BB gun, as there are many local regulations concerning airguns.
Justine Bayod Espoz is an arts and culture photojournalist based in Madrid, Spain, who began writing professionally in 2001. She has since published her writing, photography and videos in such international online and print magazines as "Art Monthly Australia," "Dance Europe," "Dance International" and "Dance Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and English literature from Smith College.