There is no grandfather clause in proposed bills banning owning or selling realistic replica firearms.
The popularity of airsoft and airsoft guns has skyrocketed in recent years. And some of the most popular airsoft guns are ones that are realistic replicas of the real thing.
But in Maryland, two new bills are being proposed that would make it illegal to possess realistic looking airsoft and toy guns. House Bill 879 will also prohibit the sales, use and transfer of these air guns, while Senate Bill 742 will prohibit their manufacture.
The bill comes in response to deadly shooting incidents because of the replicas being mistaken for real firearms. Legal air guns would have to be brightly colored.
Other restrictions would include markings to distinguish air guns as not being real. A closed barrel is another option.
Obviously, the proposed bills are ruffling some feathers most among airsoft enthusiasts. Some of whom are quite serious about their hobby. An online petition has been started by airsoft enthusiasts in an effort to combat it. But they are also arguing more than just the right to own the realistic looking replicas.
“Any and all businesses associated with Airsoft or Paintball would cease to exist,” the petition’s page states.
Further complicating things is the fact that the new bill does not have a clause to grandfather in existing owners of airsoft or realistic replica guns. This means if the bill were to go to law, a huge number of Maryland residents would likely be in violation.
The National Rifle Association has also jumped on board to support airsoft owners. They criticized both bills saying that it not only takes away what some people use for outdoor recreation, but that the ban takes away BB and pellet guns that are used to teach children firearm handling safety and skills.
This isn’t the first time a debate about realistic-looking toy guns or airsoft guns has come up. Back in August 2015, several retailers in New York paid heavy fines and stopped selling realistic-looking toy guns after it was determined they violated laws about the sale of such replicas in New York.