Paintball is a sport that requires a firearm to play. Anytime you engage in an activity that uses a gun and ammunition, specific rules must be followed and proper safety precautions must be taken (at all times) to avoid serious injury. Right now, you may be wondering to yourself, ‘is it illegal to play paintball on private property or in your backyard?’
The answer to this questions depends on whether or not a paintball is considered a ‘firearm’ in your jurisdiction. If so, discharging a firearm in a region zoned for residential use is illegal. Therefore, you need to be vigilant and research the paintball gun laws in your area. Always check with your local law enforcement or government representative beforehand, just to be sure.
Now that you know playing paintball on private property may be illegal (depending on where you live), let’s take a closer look at this in more detail below. We will discuss various issues surrounding the safety of paintball guns and why they may be outlawed in your particular residential area.
So, if you’re ready to learn more about playing paintball on private (and public) property, then let’s get started!
Firearms are considered anything that fires projectiles through the air using gasses. Paintball guns use CO2 or compressed air to shoot paintball ammunition. This is usually done at high velocity and could potentially cause harm.
Being able to play paintball on private property depends upon whether or not the government in your area categorizes paintball guns as a type of firearm. There are laws in place in most states and provinces in both the United States and Canada that regulate the use of paintball guns.
Typically, paintball guns are considered to be a firearm. Before engaging in the sport in your backyard or any residential area, you must be fully aware of the laws surrounding the use of paintball guns in places other than designated gaming areas. Any paintball enthusiast should know these laws in advance and follow them at all times in order to prevent serious injury and keep other in the community safe.
Unless otherwise stipulated by your state or provincial law, you can play in your backyard at home under certain conditions. These include the following:
One reason why you shouldn’t play paintball near homes is to avoid vandalism, either by accident or on purpose. Using paintballs to vandalize property is illegal, which is why paintballs guns cannot be used to shoot at public or private property, unless prior permission has been granted such in the case of playing paintball in the woods or on an acreage.
Shooting at residential targets including homes, street signs and vehicles is strictly prohibited and subject to prosecution in the form of fines or possibly jail time. It comes down to safety and being responsible. Paintball should not be played in residential areas and should be reserved for areas designated specifically for the sport or in large areas with less risk for injury.
Regardless of the fact that public land is, well, public (meaning for all to use), you cannot play paintball in any public areas without prior permission from your local authority. Playing paintball on public land without being given the okay to do so is considered a type of vandalism.
Others reasons why you cannot play paintball in public areas (besides the fact that it is illegal) include the possibility of disturbing (and possibly injuring) those around as well the chance that the paintball thrashes could potentially pollute the surrounding area.
It is illegal to carry a loaded and fully-functioning paintball gun in public. You can, however, carry one if it is dismantled and inside a metal box. The gears, not the marker, need to be taken apart and in pieces for the gun to be considered non-functioning.
Any adult can legally own a paintball gun, as long as he or she is not a felon. In most cases, it is considered to be an ‘airgun’ so typically, any laws applying to BB or other airguns also apply to paintball guns.
For safety reasons, it is not recommended for children less than 8 years old be near or use a fully-functioning paintball gun. Kids under 14 years of age who want to play the game should always be accompanied by an adult.
It is okay to play paintball in the woods, provided that it is in permissible areas, likely those that are also legal for hunting. You should always check with your local law enforcement or forest ranger in advance, just to be sure. If the wooded area is on someone’s property, you need to be sure to follow the rules and regulations stipulated for playing paintball on private property.
When playing paintball in the woods, you should be aware of the following:
If you have already determined legally that it is okay to play paintball in your backyard, then here are the steps needed to create your very own course!
I will say this again as this is very important – contact your local law enforcement agency to make sure it is indeed legal for you to set-up a course and play paintball in your backyard.
Survey your backyard to see how many people can safely play in that area based on its size. The bigger the space, the more players you can have. Clear the space as much as possible to maximize the play area.
Use garbage cans, boxes, plywood sheets, tires, tables, sand-filled cola bottles, etc. to act as targets for your backyard game. Think of things you usually see at amusement parks or in playgrounds and use them. It is especially good (environmentally speaking) to use recycled items whenever possible.
Make sure all targets are placed high enough off the grounds so younger players don’t have to shot downwards.
Be sure to place barriers around the yard to act as a wall. Barriers provide cover for kids when they play so they have places to hide as well as return fire. An enclosed area with a fence will help keep players in your yard and out of your neighbor’s – this is important as you not want to disturb others around you.
Always use the recommended safety gear in the proper manner. Kids younger than 14 years of age should be under adult supervision at all times.
In conclusion, playing paintball in your backyard may or may not be illegal, depending on the individuals in your area. In most cases, it is likely prohibited in residential areas due to safety reasons.
In regions where it is allowed, you must follow specific safety measures such as ensuring your backyard is secure and surrounded by walls or fencing, being respectful of your surrounding neighbors and avoiding contact with animals.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always check with your local law enforcement or government representative in advance, just to be sure.
The information in this article is complete, to the best of our knowledge. It is the responsibility of the reader to determine what laws are in place to regulate the use of paintball guns in his or her local jurisdiction. We disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.