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BB gun or Air Rifle plinking in back yard

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I am interested in using a bb gun or an air gun in my yard for plinking. Below is the ordinence regarding discharging firearms and air guns in the city limits where I live in MA. The part that I highlight in bold is that part that I take to mean that its OK to shoot an air gun in my yard since its my private property. But, using that logic this is also saying its ok to discharge a firearm on private property, so now I doubt my interpretation as I apply it to air guns. Any help form someone who knows how to read this stuff would be appreciated.


Sec. 20-1. - Discharge of firearms; prohibited; exceptions.

No person shall, except as authorized or required by law, fire or discharge any gun, fowling piece or other firearm or an air rifle within the city. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the chief of police or other police officers in the performance of their duties nor to the use of such weapon at any military exercise or at any established rifle range or in the lawful defense of the person, family or property of any citizen, nor to the rights and privileges of an owner or lessee of land as set forth in M.G.L.A., c. 131 nor shall the provisions of this section apply to persons lawfully upon private property with the express written permission of the owner thereof nor to persons upon public property with the express written permission of the chief of police.
 
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Talked to Andover Police, shooting airguns in backyard is LEGAL, as long as you don't damage neighber's property and no noise complaint.
Just make sure you have orange tips on your airguns.
 

Palladin

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An air gun is not a firearm. Period. The 500ft discharge rule does not apply.
I would doubt the town bylaw would stand up under scrutiny re: air rifle portion
 

mac1911

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I dont think there is a ornage tip requirement on air rifles/peelt guns..............you may add a orange tip of some sort to maybe ease thou locals ?
 
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Thanks for the info all. I was at Dicks sporting goods today and I asked a kid there who was looking at air rifles if he knew what the rules were. He said you can't shoot a air rifle within sight of a road! I guess I will have to kneel whenever I shoot so I can't see the road over my fence?...LOL.
 

atmay

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An air gun is not a firearm. Period. The 500ft discharge rule does not apply.
I would doubt the town bylaw would stand up under scrutiny re: air rifle portion
Actually, there are portions of MA law under which air guns ARE firearms....namely the section dealing with possession on school grounds, although I am unsure if any other sections of the law that include airguns under the definition of firearm.
 

Kevin_NH

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Do you know what type of airgun you plan to use? There's quite a variety of air guns available today, with a range of caliber and power from "might sting a bit" to "Takes deer".

I'd double-check town regulations and make sure you have a robust backstop -- even if you're completely within the law, chances are your neighbors are going to freak out and call the police once they realize you're not out there with a brad nailer building furniture. That, or make sure you have a brad nailer and some half-assembled bookcases on hand.
 

hillman

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I had no idea they made "big bore" airguns! I never knew about Lewis and Clark using them either! They didn't teach me that in school, dammit! If I'd known, my BB gun wars with my friends in my youth would have been VERY different, let me tell you!
 

KenK

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Not sure but You cannot shoot across a road??? or give the air gun to a minor.
Other than that??
I tried reading the statement over and over but no clue what the police would do if someone turned you in.
Better make sure it don't look like a real gun cause that is another whole can of worms!!!
My neighbor plays loud music every night, but I bet if I started shooting air gun they would be the first to complain!!
 
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Any recent updates here? Anybody able to successfully enjoy backyard plinking with their airguns?
I called the Sharon,MA police helpline on any town restrictions and was told, it was OK as long as 500 feet rule (MA legislature)was not breached. However , i looked up the section Section 12E and it seems it applies to firearms. Looking for the firearms definition on Chapter 140, Section 121 its unclear if the definition of RIFLE (''Rifle'', a weapon having a rifled bore with a barrel length equal to or greater than 16 inches and capable of discharging a shot or bullet for each pull of the trigger) applies to airguns or not. Now that has to be deferred to definition of SHOT and BULLET which is absent. Would love to hear more from airgun enthusiast in MA.
 
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There is no 500' rule for target practice, only hunting.

I have a small range in my back yard and plink off the back deck with a gammo air rifle - no issues.

You do need to 150' from a road
 
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There is no 500' rule for target practice, only hunting.

I have a small range in my back yard and plink off the back deck with a gammo air rifle - no issues.

You do need to 150' from a road
Many thanks Pastera, for the quick response. Will approach the authorities again.
 

mac1911

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Many thanks Pastera, for the quick response. Will approach the authorities again.
Theres really no need.
Check you town by laws for any BS that might apply?
If your taking out critters best be mindful of all hunting regulations. If your cool with all your neighbors get written permission to "hunt" with in 500 and on thier land. Opens up a lot of options.
 

mac1911

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Any recent updates here? Anybody able to successfully enjoy backyard plinking with their airguns?
I called the Sharon,MA police helpline on any town restrictions and was told, it was OK as long as 500 feet rule (MA legislature)was not breached. However , i looked up the section Section 12E and it seems it applies to firearms. Looking for the firearms definition on Chapter 140, Section 121 its unclear if the definition of RIFLE (''Rifle'', a weapon having a rifled bore with a barrel length equal to or greater than 16 inches and capable of discharging a shot or bullet for each pull of the trigger) applies to airguns or not. Now that has to be deferred to definition of SHOT and BULLET which is absent. Would love to hear more from airgun enthusiast in MA.
you can bet your ass if you get tied up over regs/laws/complaints your air rifle will become a firearm.
I might be missing it but I do not see a air rifle exemption?
Federal Law is pretty clear the shot must be discharged by explosion.
The direction we are going in it wont be long before air rifles are heavily regulated like in Canada and UK and many other places.
 

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I've always been told that the same set-back laws apply to all guns and bows/arrows. Also, I think that you will find that the town of Sharon bans all outdoor shooting except at the gun clubs unless you also get a special permit by the police chief. There are or were signs advising of such entering the town on a couple of roads as I recall.

Bottom line is that airgun usage will likely be looked upon the same as real guns. So I'd tread lightly. Police don't usually know the gun laws and the dispatchers answering the phones certainly don't! Whether that police department cares about you shooting airguns in your backyard or not is another story, not likely an issue unless someone calls them to notify them of what is happening.
 
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I've always been told that the same set-back laws apply to all guns and bows/arrows. Also, I think that you will find that the town of Sharon bans all outdoor shooting except at the gun clubs unless you also get a special permit by the police chief. There are or were signs advising of such entering the town on a couple of roads as I recall.

Bottom line is that airgun usage will likely be looked upon the same as real guns. So I'd tread lightly. Police don't usually know the gun laws and the dispatchers answering the phones certainly don't! Whether that police department cares about you shooting airguns in your backyard or not is another story, not likely an issue unless someone calls them to notify them of what is happening.
You are right on the ban on outdoor shooting and the signs "No shooting in Sharon without permission" still hangs out at the town border. However, it was confirmed to be applicable to public land and does not apply to private property. However, setbacks (500 feet which roughly translates to 6 acres of land)are still applicable on private property which essentially makes the usage/discharge practically impossible.
Totally agree on being sure than sorry. Will not be taking any chances. Also, the ranges in and around the town seem to be more targeted towards firearms usage, not sure if modest .22c pellet gun would be welcome. Some ranges need mandatory NRA / GOAL memberships.
 
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For the purpose of the regulations in question, a smooth bore BB or pellet gun is a shotgun
''Shotgun'', a weapon having a smooth bore with a barrel length equal to or greater than 18 inches with an overall length equal to or greater than 26 inches, and capable of discharging a shot or bullet for each pull of the trigger.
There is no definition of established or range. That leads to an issue for those that live in towns with restrictive police - can you afford to fight their interpretation of the the ambiguous words?

In Taunton, if you have the land and have a safe backstop you are okay but they will tell you to move 500' away if someone complains.
 

CCW

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I've always been told that the same set-back laws apply to all guns and bows/arrows. Also, I think that you will find that the town of Sharon bans all outdoor shooting except at the gun clubs unless you also get a special permit by the police chief. There are or were signs advising of such entering the town on a couple of roads as I recall.

Bottom line is that airgun usage will likely be looked upon the same as real guns. So I'd tread lightly. Police don't usually know the gun laws and the dispatchers answering the phones certainly don't! Whether that police department cares about you shooting airguns in your backyard or not is another story, not likely an issue unless someone calls them to notify them of what is happening.

You should never believe what you’ve always been told.


“No person shall discharge a BB shot, pellet or other object from an air rifle or so-called BB gun into, from or across any street, alley, public way or railroad or railway right of way, and no minor under the age of eighteen shall discharge a BB shot, pellet or other object from an air rifle or BB gun unless he is accompanied by an adult or is the holder of a sporting or hunting license.”

If you find anything in there referencing those “same set back laws” please let me know.



 
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Woodsy

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Does the 500 foot rule apply to airguns?
It does not and you are free to shoot them in your yard. Now that being said if you have not so nice neighbors they may call the local police with a complaint you are shooting a gun so you might want to prepare for that

My kids shoot theirs in the yard and I just have 5 hay bails behind the target and they are up against my shed. I just tell them if they are going to shoot to give me a heads up or call the local station to let them know just in case someone walking by sees them and freaks out.

I also have a tree stand in my yard I shoot my bow from, sure the neighbors freak out a bit but it’s all good. ;)
 
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Latest Update: Reached out to the PD again with the reference to the relevant MA legislatures and town codes regarding the setbacks and they confirmed this is an unregulated area. The concerns are primarily on safety and more-soever on neighbors reaction to such an activity.
So it seems as long as I keep the noise level down and do not set off safety concern alarms from neighbors it should be all good.
 
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LKE21

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I have that Benjamin in .22 for backyard critters. The “suppressor” is nothing more than a removable plastic sleeve that acts as a grip/hold point for cocking the piston. Powerful enough for small game up to about the size of a groundhog (headshots only). Fickle with pellets - mine prefers Gamo Red Fire. Takes about 250-300 shots to break in the barrel properly. Ditch the supplied scope and grab something built for air guns off Amazon. Shoots quarter sized groups out to 30 yards with good glass and proper break in. Quiet enough to shoot in a suburban yard without drawing the ire of your neighbors.
 
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I have that Benjamin in .22 for backyard critters. The “suppressor” is nothing more than a removable plastic sleeve that acts as a grip/hold point for cocking the piston. Powerful enough for small game up to about the size of a groundhog (headshots only). Fickle with pellets - mine prefers Gamo Red Fire. Takes about 250-300 shots to break in the barrel properly. Ditch the supplied scope and grab something built for air guns off Amazon. Shoots quarter sized groups out to 30 yards with good glass and proper break in. Quiet enough to shoot in a suburban yard without drawing the ire of your neighbors.
I’m plinking with Hatsan edge with open sights. Still deciding on the scope, might go with either UTG or Hammers. Will appreciate your inputs on the scope that will hold up to the spring action
 

MisterHappy

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Also, the ranges in and around the town seem to be more targeted towards firearms usage, not sure if modest .22c pellet gun would be welcome. Some ranges need mandatory NRA / GOAL memberships.
Very few Clubs are so "judgy" that they'd say "no" to someone that wanted to shoot airguns. Whether a Club required NRA/GOAL membership, you should still join.
 
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