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Concealed Carry of an Airsoft Gun vs. a "Real" Firearm

February 12, 2009 AZ CCW Laws, Crime Avoidance, Legal Issues, Use of Force Issues No Comments

Question:  I recently took my AZ CCW and sent my passed exam and state application for acceptance. My question is: If one has an AZ CCW permit, can he or she carry a soft air gun without the red or orange tip attached to the gun. Reason for this question, is that many people want to have something for self defense but only wanting to use something that may scare or flee off the bad guy in a threat rather then disable them. Thank you for your response.

Answer: Federal law requires that the orange tip be present on the Airsoft guns to make them legal for commercial sale.  However, once sold, local laws vary on whether the orange tip may be removed.  Honestly, that is the least of issues with respect to the questions you are asking.

The more troubling question for me is the idea of using an Airsoft gun for “self defense” or “defensive display”.  I believe that by doing what you suggest you are placing yourself at grave personal risk.  Technically, the answer to your question is yes, but understand that by carrying a ‘toy firearm’ without the appropriate markings, you are making people think you have a ‘real’ firearm when in fact you don’t.  Should you find yourself in a situation where you are confronted by a person that has a ‘real’ weapon or that presents a ‘real’ lethal threat,  you will be defenseless against them and they will probably kill or seriously injure you.

You must understand that the only justification for your threat of lethal force or use of lethal force is when you are being immediately and illegally threatened in a way that would make you believe that you or another person are in danger of being seriously injured, permanently disabled or killed by the potential threat.  If you have sufficient cause to draw a ‘fake gun’ to attempt to ‘scare them off’, you have sufficient justification to draw a real firearm.  What would you do if they press the attack?  What happens if they shoot someone else?  What if they see you have a ‘weapon’ and start shooting at you?   I hope you see how potentially dangerous your proposal is…

If you are not prepared to carry a ‘real firearm’ and use true lethal force against an assailant that is manifesting a lethal threat against you or another person, you have no business carrying a firearm.  I know this may sound a bit harsh, but you will be a danger to yourself and others.

You speak about using the airsoft to ‘scare’ vs. using a real firearm to ‘disable’.  Again, let me clarify something that your CCW instructor should have taught you.  You NEVER shoot to disable someone who is issuing a lethal threat against your or another person.  You shoot to stop the threat.  This means that you should direct fire at your assailant using the largest target available to you which is their center of mass.  If you shoot to wound, you could have serious issues proving that the threat was immediate and unavoidable.  Similarly, by shooting to wound, you may not stop the threat at all.  Again, this would most likely result in serious injury or death on your part…

Based on what you have told me, I would STRONGLY CAUTION YOU TO AVOID CARRYING AN AIRSOFT PISTOL IN LIEU OF A REAL FIREARM.  If you are not prepared to use lethal force in the face of a lethal threat you should not carry a concealed weapon.

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