In 2022, the state will introduce legislation banning shooting pellet guns in private property. The law is part of a larger effort to reduce gun violence and preserve public health and safety. What does this mean for you? How do you ensure compliance with new laws?

We’ve all seen “A Christmas Story,” in which Ralphie’s Christmas dream is for a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model air gun. And, yeah, we confess to dutifully watching it every year. Ralphie’s antics during this time of year may bring out your inner kid and make you wonder whether you can fire a pellet pistol in your backyard.

Let’s have a look at the law and see whether you can get away with it.


What is a Pellet Gun and how does it work?

The legality and safety of pellet guns is contingent on defining what a pellet gun is. After all, even if it’s a response rather than purposeful action, that’s generally the decisive element.

It isn’t a gun in the traditional sense, like a revolver or rifle. Instead of flammable elements like gunpowder, air is used for pressure and propulsion. This is a significant distinction since it impacts trajectory and distance, as well as accuracy and effective firing range.

To put everything in perspective, let’s look at some figures.

For hunting small poultry, a shotgun loaded with number 9 shot may shoot up to 350 yards. Our Red Ryder’s maximum range is 195 yards. Then there’s the issue of the effective shooting range, or how sure you are in your ability to strike your objective. The former is 40 yards long, whereas the latter is just around 10 yards long.

You’re dealing with a gun that can fire a long distance but not very accurately.

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Let’s talk about your ammunition now that we’ve mentioned the Red Ryder rifle. A pellet gun is a sort of airgun that fires a particular kind of ammunition. What you can use depends on the design and kind of barrel, whether it’s darts, pellets, slugs, or BBs – and they’re all different.

You’ll very certainly come across wasp-waisted diabolo pellets, which have an hourglass form as opposed to BBs, which are spherical balls. In comparison to the latter, the former is a more accurate and aerodynamic shot.

Some models can fire both, however it depends on the barrel type, which adds to the intricacy of the matter.

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Is it Safe to Shoot a Pellet Gun in Your Backyard?

To find out whether you can fire a pellet gun in your backyard, we’ll need to go back to our figures. We believe that is the most important component of the two inquiries, and it may fall within Mom’s authority. After all, Ralphie’s mother had cautioned him against shooting his eye out for a reason.

The distinction between accuracy and range is at the heart of this solution. You may not even strike that side of a barn if you’re aiming at something far away. It also puts anything else close, such as your companion, non-targeted animals, and your dog, at danger from an errant shot.

Consider this for a moment.

Is Shooting a Pellet Gun in Your Backyard Legal?

There are two components to this question. Then there’s the matter of shooting. Then there’s the matter of ammunition. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Is it Legal to Use a Pellet Gun in Your Backyard?

Using a pellet gun for any reason may be frowned upon by several towns. Even if you’re shooting squirrels that are gnawing on your siding, you may need a permission or license to do so. This is also true with game animals. Although it is a little weapon, it is capable of dispatching animals, bringing it into the control of your state’s DNR or department of conservation.

Whether you’re chasing upland game or nuisance species like a possum, we recommend checking with the relevant authorities. Don’t take the chance of being fined. It just takes a phone call. Besides, the cost of obtaining the permission or license is likely to be considerably less than the expense of discovering the truth otherwise.

Target practice, pest control, or hunting are the topics of the second portion of the inquiry. It all comes down to the sort of shot you take. Lead is often used in both BBs and pellets, which may extend your range. Steel, on the other hand, has a finer spread but is less compassionate since it is lighter and may hurt rather than kill your victim.

Then, if you’re shooting your pellet gun for hunting purposes, you must evaluate what you’re hunting. Because of the danger to predators like as eagles that feed on the remains, federal law forbids the use of lead shot in waterfowl hunting, regardless of the weapon. It may also poison streams, causing long-term environmental consequences.

When it comes to birds, we must also consider the legality of shooting non-waterfowl species. The bluejays that wake you up every morning are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so you can’t shoot them. If you’re detected, you might face five-figure penalties and perhaps prison time. There are much more effective—and legal—methods of dealing with these bird pests.


Toy guns are tipped orange to prevent law enforcement authorities from making deadly identification errors, as we all know. That’s where a pellet gun might get you in trouble. Because they are, in essence, though not always, considered as such legally, most models resemble genuine weapons.

That means you should never, under any circumstances, brandish any form of pellet gun, even in jest. On the one hand, these items seem to be lifelike. Many parents gift guns to their children as a way for them to transition into hunting as teenagers and adults. Before coming into the center stage, it’s not a bad idea to start with something less powerful to teach the fundamentals and ethics.

We understand.

However, a police officer who sees someone using a pellet gun in a harmful manner will have no idea what it is. Keep in mind that they’ve been taught to err on the side of caution.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Just a tidbit of knowledge as a side remark. In all those commercial advertisements, James Bond, alias Sean Connery, is holding a Walther LP53 air pistol, not a Walther PPK with a Brausch silencer. We’re guessing he could fire it from anywhere.

We also have to play Mom in this situation. Even if it can’t take down a deer, a pellet gun is still a weapon. It’s still hazardous, and sure, if you don’t treat it with care, it can blast your eye out. The gun discharges a projectile that has the potential to cause injury. It isn’t a toy at all. Another thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t very precise over long distances. At that point, it becomes the proverbial loose cannon.

Let’s not forget that when Mom reigns, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to fire a pellet gun.

When utilizing one, we highly advise you to exercise common sense. Even if you don’t believe it’s loaded, don’t aim it towards anybody, anything, or any animal. To prevent striking anything other than your target, keep it inside its effective shooting range.

Final Thoughts on Pellet Pistols

Pellet guns straddle the line between toys and regulated weapons. That does not, however, imply that they are safe to use, regardless of whether there is legal precedent to the contrary. Start by contacting your local government to see whether you may utilize one on your land.

The legality of your pellet gun depends on what you shoot at and how much ammunition you use, so this is an important factor to consider when deciding whether or not you may use one in your backyard. Your yard is also a keyword. Keep your armament aspirations to yourself and respect your neighbors.

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