New Jersey’s Graves Act originally became law in 1981, and since then, they’ve been adding more and more restrictions to it and types of weapons covered. The most recent additions were BB guns and airsoft guns. If you’re caught with one, and you haven’t registered it, you’ll go to jail. They’re treated as any other firearm, even though airsoft and BB guns aren’t technically firearms.
Fox News recounted one such incident that happened recently:
As recently as October, a man was arrested in New Jersey for shooting an airsoft gun at a rubber duck for target practice, in his own yard. Idyriss Thomas, 22, was arrested in Glassboro, N.J., after police responded to multiple 911 calls from neighbors who reported seeing a man with a gun. Once police determined the gun was unlicensed, Thomas was taken to jail and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. His family posted a $2,500 bond. “I didn’t realize that what I had in my hand would cause the events that happened today,” Thomas told Philadelphia’s WPVI. “I had the airsoft gun in my hand, playing with it, taking shots at a rubber ducky – not harming anybody.”
The New York Times ran a piece a couple days ago, trying to explain why such a law is important. They listed five incidents that have happened around the country where people have been injured, or in two cases killed, with airsoft or BB guns. Most, if not all, of the cases listed involved kids behaving irresponsibly.
Since they’re cracking down on “assault” BB guns now, next I’m sure they’ll crack down on small toy guns, water pistols and perhaps even gun-shaped hand gestures. They’ll have maybe 2 cases in the last decade that show these “firearms” to be just as dangerous as real firearms. Never underestimate the emotional and psychological trauma that can result from a child’s gun-shaped hand.