McCann files legislation aimed at clearing up air-gun classifications

By Gary Scott on March 30, 2018 at 6:52am

A local State Senator is filing legislation to clear up certain regulations regarding the classification of air-guns.

Republican State Senator Sam McCann, of Plainview, is filing Senate Bill 2583, which aims at cleaning up some of the state’s regulations that treat certain air-guns as firearms. Many of those who use air-guns, or other similar instruments that operate through air or gas pressure, might not even be aware that there could potentially be confusion regarding how these air-guns are classified under current Illinois law.

According to a release from Senator McCann’s office, air-guns with projectiles measuring larger than .177 or that have a muzzle velocity of more than 700 feet per second are treated as firearms under current state law. As such, these air-guns are subject to the same standards and requirements as real firearms. For example, a FOID card is required for ownership and possession. And according to the release, there is not as clear of an understanding for how many of the firearms rules should or would apply to air-guns, like what constitutes a loaded firearm and how they must be transported and/or stored.

In a statement, McCann says, “Air-guns are not firearms, so we shouldn’t be regulating them as firearms. The last thing we need is for law abiding air-gun owners to be potentially caught up in poorly understood firearm regulations that shouldn’t even apply to them.”

Senate Bill 2583 aims to exempt all pneumatic guns, spring guns, paint ball guns, or BB guns which expel a single globular projectile from being defined as firearms.

McCann says, “I don’t think it’s reasonable to apply and enforce rules without clear agreement and understanding from the law enforcement and justice communities. We can’t expect people to go to a lab to test their air-guns just to determine whether they fire at a speed that makes the state view them as air-guns or firearms.”