Can A Felon Own A Paintball Gun: Read Before Buying

Can A Felon Own A Paintball Gun

Nobody wishes to be a felon. We all want to live a happy and free life. 

Felons have restrictions on the use of firearms. They cannot possess guns, as federal law outright prohibits such. 

The law forbids anyone convicted of a crime that resulted in the person spending at least a year in prison from possessing a gun. 

Now, the question is, can a felon own or use a paintball gun? We’ll answer this question in this post. Keep reading. 

Can A Felon Own A Paintball gun?

Yes, a person convicted of a felony can possess and use a paintball gun. By the way, these guns are harmless compared to real guns. 

But note that paintball can still cause injury if used on someone not wearing protective gear. Paintball guns are used majorly for recreational purposes and are not meant to cause harm to anyone. 

Another thing you need to know is no federal law prohibits the use or possession of paintball guns by felons. We all know the law is subject to change, and there might be restrictions in the future. 

However, if paintball is listed as a firearm in your state, you cannot own it if you’re a felon. You can check with your local police to be sure possessing a paintball gun as a felon isn’t against the law or illegal in your residence.

Does A Felon Need A License To Own A Paintball?

Firstly, what is the use of paintball? The primary usage is for recreational purposes. 

Paintball is not considered a firearm or weapon (in some states), and therefore, it’s not listed as such under state laws. You can also own a paintball gun as a felon if your state doesn’t recognize it as a firearm. 

This brings us to the question: does a felon need a license to own or use a paintball? The simple answer is no if the state doesn’t recognize it as a firearm. If the state law does, you cannot even own a paintball as a felon.  

However, you can confirm from your local police station if paintball is considered a weapon or firearm. 

Can A Felon Carry A Paintball Gun In Public Places?

The first question you need to ask is this. Is it legal or illegal to carry a paintball gun around? Consider what the law says about bringing a paintball or firearm-like object to a public place. 

Now, here’s what you need to know. It is against the law to carry an imitation firearm to or display it in the following places:

  • Parking lots
  • Front yards
  • Shopping malls
  • Public transportation
  • In public, e.g., sidewalks
  • California legislative offices

Some private organizations also don’t allow firearms or firearm-like objects. Thus, you cannot bring such weapons into these private organizations. 

Furthermore, paintball is an example of an imitation firearm. It looks like a real firearm, though there’s a massive difference between both. 

Reasons You Should Not Carry A Paintball To Public Places

You don’t need a license to own a paintball gun (if your state doesn’t consider it a weapon), but that doesn’t mean you are free to carry it around. There are several reasons to avoid taking paintballs or imitation firearms to public places. Let’s discuss some of them. 

1: It is against the law:

The law prohibits bringing imitation firearms to the public and other sensitive places. Examples include public transport vehicles, public sidewalks, shopping malls, parking lots, front yards, and other sensitive locations. 

The reason you shouldn’t bring your paintball to these places is simple. People may think you’re carrying a real firearm, which could cause panic, disrupting the peace in the area. 

If there’s panic, people may want to leave the area quicker and end up hurting themselves or causing injuries to others. 

You certainly don’t want to be that person whose imitation firearm created a scare in a public place, causing many to get injured. You could go to jail for this. 

2: You could become a target to others:

Imitation firearms, like paintball guns, look almost like real guns. That’s why they’re called imitation firearms. 

With the gun violence epidemic becoming a severe issue for the government, moving around with imitation firearms will be risky. 

People may harass you or even try to arm you. In their minds, they may assume you plan to unleash mayhem on people and may decide to disarm you is the best option to prevent such from happening. 

So, avoid carrying paintballs to a public place. It is against the law to do such, and people may react in ways you can never imagine. 

3: The police could treat you as a suspect:

To become a suspect, one doesn’t have to be a felon and have a paintball gun. The fact that you’re carrying an imitation gun, a paintball, has already made you a potential threat. e

So, you could be harassed for moving with a paintball gun. Worst case scenario, you could be shot before you even have the time to explain yourself. 

Mass shootings and gun violence have become serious epidemics plaguing the country since the gun law became active. So, avoid getting into trouble. Resist the urge to move around with your paintball gun. 

Where Can You Use A Paintball Gun Legally?

You can use a paintball gun in a paintball arena. The paintball arena is designed for this recreational game and boasts all the apparatus you need to have a memorable time with your family or friends.

So, it is legal to use a paintball in a paintball arena. As we said earlier, the arena is built for the game. 

You can use a paintball outside the arena. An example is when doing a parade or theatrical production. You can also display a paintball in your home, but ensure it is inside your house.

Does The Federal Government Consider Paintball Gun A Firearm?

The simple response to this question is no. Paintball doesn’t fall into the category of a firearm, going by the federal government’s definition of a firearm.

According to ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives), firearms are defined as weapons capable of firing a bullet and producing an explosive reaction. 

Does paintball produce an explosive reaction when fired? The simple answer is no; it doesn’t. 

So, paintball isn’t illegal, and it’s not a firearm under federal law. However, state laws may differ. Under specific state laws, paintball might be interpreted differently and classified as a firearm. 

What State Is Paintball Gun Considered A Weapon?

In some states, paintball guns are treated as weapons. And consequently, the laws regulating the sales, transportation, and use of guns, can and do apply to paintball guns. Two states that view paintball this way are New Jersey and New York.

So, if you’re a felon living in New York or New Jersey, you cannot move around with or own a paintball gun. The same goes for every individual, as the law considers a paintball gun a weapon in these states. 

In North Dakota, Connecticut, and Delaware, paintball is considered a dangerous weapon, and you know what that means. In these states, anyone who wants to own a paintball gun must follow the same procedure for obtaining other weapons, such as firearms. 

Note: Carrying paintball to school is prohibited in most states. Any student that does such may get expelled or face criminal charges. 

So, ask your school’s authority about the rule regarding bringing paintball to the school premises. In many schools, it is forbidden.  

Another thing you need to be careful about is the transportation of paintball guns. Most states in the US have regulations regarding the transport or movement of paintballs. 

To avoid getting into trouble with the authorities, ensure you empty the paintball gun’s hopper and have the propellant disconnected completely. Finally, ensure the paintball is kept in a case. 

Here are states that regulate paintball. Note that more states may decide to join the fold in the future. 

States that regulate paintball guns:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota 
  • Massachusetts
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Washington
  • Oklahoma 
  • South Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • Oklahoma 
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire 


So, can a felon own a paintball gun? Yes, a felon can, if we consider federal law. But let’s get something straight. No federal law that forbids a felon from possessing a paintball gun exists.  

No federal law also states that a felon can own a paintball gun. However, specific states prohibit offenders from possessing a firearm, and some of these states consider paintballs as a firearm or weapon. 

In such states, a felon cannot own a paintball. Keep in mind that interested paintball owners must go through the same process as those seeking to own firearms. 

John Henrick

My name is John Hendricks, and I am a passionate paintballer who loves to play and compete. I have been involved in the sport for many years and have a wealth of experience to share.
I believe that paintball is a great sport for people of all ages and skill levels and should be accessible to everyone. That’s why I created this website – to provide a one-stop shop for all things paintball.

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