Pellet guns are terrific fun, but it is essential to always remember that they are weapons, and much more importantly their use is still governed by the Firearms Control Act.
It is not really the sort of thing you would want to read about, but it is important enough for us to make the point again, pellet guns are not toys and it is best that you are aware of it and that you are aware of the law that governs their use.
In South Africa pellet guns under .22cal do not require a firearm licence. This means that by far and away the bulk of the airguns that are on the market, these are typically .177cal (4,5mm), are easy to acquire. What most people don’t know though, is that even though there is no need for a licence, the use of pellet guns remains subject to the Firearms Control Act.
What this means is that should you violate the act – like firing the rifle in a built up area – you can be prosecuted under the act.
There is already precedent for this in South Africa, here is a legal opinion from the NSPCA, in which it claims that there have been prosecutions.
The reality is that the pellet guns that are being manufactured today are very powerful. Many of them are now semi-automatic and there are even some fully automatic ones. In addition the pellets that are being produced are far superior from the ones that we shot with twenty years ago. In short if they are not handled properly and treated with the respect that they need to be afforded, you could end up getting yourself in all sorts of trouble, or worse injure someone.
For the benefit of all the enthusiasts out there, let’s be responsible and remember that even though it does not require a licence a pellet gun is still a weapon.