To play airsoft in Massachusetts means that the state law needs to be supportive regarding airsoft guns and in case that you want to enjoy airsoft in Massachusetts you better become fully aware of important laws, so you do not breach any.
Airsoft laws depend from state to state and only the federal law is fixed and certain and it says that all airsoft guns need to be properly marked with orange tips before they are placed in the stores, just as it makes it difficult for minors under the age of 16 to buy one.
Some states do not have defined laws regarding airsoft guns and then only the federal law applies, however, the state of Massachusetts has some specific laws regarding airsoft guns that are worth exploring.
I have to state that I am not a lawyer, so my interpretation of the law is not ideal, nor am I able to provide you with legal advice, but I can still state my opinion based on what I have researched.
I will give you my opinion and will link the official government site where you can find all laws regarding „firearms“, „imitation guns“ „non-powder guns“ and similar laws regarding their use.
So, for those of you who want to find the official information you can find it on a government site here where you can find lots about general law or on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts site here about specific sections of the law.
If you plan to play airsoft in the private backyard somewhere in Massachusetts check my post on it once you have fully understood the state law.
Are airsoft guns legal in Massachusetts?
Airsoft games are legal in Massachusetts, however, there are limits to owning, purchasing, and transporting airsoft guns within the state and the law is cautious about public safety.
Massachusetts is very strict when it comes to transporting airsoft guns in the public, so forget about any use or displaying of airsoft guns outside official fields.
Minors are forbidden to purchase and use airsoft guns on federal law anyways, however, Massachusetts additionally forbids it, so if you are under the age of 18 you won’t be able to purchase any airsoft gun in the area and you won’t be able to play airsoft anywhere including official fields without the supervision of a parent, guardian, instructor or a teacher.
If you are a minor, take this seriously because the law is pretty serious about this topic.
Regarding selling guns to minors younger than 18, there might be fines such as incarceration for up to 6 months or expensive fines.
Markings are mandatory
State law supports the federal law about mandatory orange markings, but besides federal law obligation that all airsoft guns found in the stores must be properly marked, it seems that Massachusetts state law also demands that you do not ever remove orange markings from the airsoft gun once you leave the store.
Some other states do not mention anything about keeping the markings after you leave the store, but Massachusetts law does which indicates that if you would be caught owning an airsoft gun without it being properly marked, it could put you in trouble.
Orange markings are there to make it easier for law enforcement and citizens to tell apart real guns from airsoft guns which are considered „replica/imitation firearms“.
If you decide to go through the law, you may find the section where the following is mentioned, „Airsoft guns are available solely for lawful use in a theatrical production, including a motion picture, television or stage production“.
This may not make much sense at first because it would mean that airsoft guns are not legal, yet there are airsoft fields and stores in Massachusetts, so there must be a way to own airsoft guns and use them.
From my understanding, it could mean that airsoft guns are illegal if they are not properly marked as toys, so if you would like to use them unmarked or outside official airsoft fields you would require permission for one of the mentioned purposes.
The best practices for not breaching the law in Massachusetts
I will share some tips with you, but the general rule of thumb is to treat any airsoft gun as a real gun. This way you won’t have to think whether some law applies to you or not because if it would apply in case you owned a real gun, it may also apply to a mere toy that resembles a real gun so well.
Do not take your chances and stick to official fields.
Stay out of school premises
This is something that applies to every state, school premises including school roadways, parks, and transportation are highly sensitive areas where airsoft guns should never be brought to.
Schools and colleges have their own policies regarding this and the state law often supports it.
Be careful in the public area
If you get caught using or displaying an airsoft gun in a public area it may lead to fines and confiscation of airsoft guns.
Be strict and careful how you transport your airsoft guns in public, never use them anywhere in the public including parks or woods because even the rarely inhabited woods are considered a public area unless they are private property. In either case, it may become a serious issue.
Transportation of airsoft guns
I believe that even mentioning the word „airsoft gun“ may be too much in the public, so if you use public transportation keep it incognito as much as possible.
One tip to stay super incognito: Do not use gun bags that give out a clue that there might be a gun in it and rather use something casual like a hiking or tourist bag.
If you plan to travel through the state or outside be careful to comply with transportation policies.
Final word about the law
As you can see, the law can sometimes be hard to understand and it is sometimes better to use common sense in order to stay safe.
There are many other laws that are not directly connected to airsoft guns but do exist, such as breach of the public peace, cause of massive hysteria or someone may sue you for feeling threatened.
Neighbours and local areas may even have their own policies regarding airsoft and air guns, so always make additional research just as you should always check the facts by researching the law on your own from official sources or by reaching to authorities.
Keep it simple respectfully, not everyone reacts to guns in the same way and airsoft guns are amazing at replicating real guns, so many people may not be ready for such encounters.
Stay safe and have fun!