Penalties for Unlawful Possession of a BB Gun, Pellet Gun or Air Soft Gun Can Be Severe Under New Jersey Law

The site of a crossman bb gun used to be commonplace in the homes of my friends when I was growing up. Once and a while, you would also come across a friend or his older brother that had a pellet gun. These days, the classic bb gun seems to have been replaced by what are commonly referred to as airsoft guns or even paintball guns. These items are often purchased by innocent children or adults who have absolutely no idea of the potential penalties and consequences of unlicensed possession under New Jersey Law.

As a New Jersey Gun Lawyer, I witness the havoc that an unlawful possession of a firearm charge can have on an individual possessing an airsoft, bb, or pellet gun without a license. The reason why this crops up stems from the fact that the definition of “firearm” under NJ Law includes a handgun or rifle whose projectile is fueled by air or an air cartridge. Accordingly, what is often viewed as a toy, is actually a gun under the law. See State v. Mieles, 199 N.J.Super. 29 (App.Div.), certif. denied 101 N.J. 265 (1985)(BB gun is a “firearm” under NJ law). This opens up a entire host of problems when someone is found in possession without a valid gun license and this can even include a charge of unlawful possession of a handgun with its mandatory parole ineligibility requirements. A great example of just how this can unfold was related in a news article regarding a boy exposed to a three year jail term for possessing a bb gun.

If you or a loved one has been charged with Possession of a Firearm for Unlawful Purpose or Unlawful Possession of a Gun, the situation is extremely serious. This is especially true where the airsoft or other form of air gun is used to shoot someone, scare someone, or even in conjunction with a theft. A thorough review of NJ Gun Laws, including those implicating these types of firearms, is contained at It should be readily clear from both this article and the citations, that jail is a definite possibility in these types of scenarios absent some good lawyering. I am happy to report that we have been fortunate enough to avoid jail terms for our clients in these cases.