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Sample Legislation: Paintball Guns

Paintball Guns

Establishments for paintball are growing in popularity. What is not popular is the discharge of paintball guns in public, as opposed to in an authorized recreational establishment. There have been numerous injuries from drive-by shootings using paintball guns. Municipalities have started adopting legislation to regulate the discharge of paintball guns and rifles, and similar weapons that propel projectiles, in public. We offer sample legislation that prohibits the discharge of paintball guns in public, but grants exceptions for businesses engaged in the operation of paintball games operated at an approved location. Operation of paintball guns and similar firearms for target practice on private property is also exempt. The governing body may grant permission to use firearms or devices that discharge paintballs for sport or recreation for a limited duration of time. Other sample legislation prohibits the sale of paintball guns and similar air guns, with certain exceptions. The local police are given the authority to seize and destroy unlawful firearms.

Sample Ordinances:

Pleasant Hills, B. PA: Ch. 251
Parsippany-Troy Hills, Twp. NJ: Ch. 279
Lancaster, C. PA: Ch. 129, Art. V
Cedar Grove, Twp. NJ: Ch. 262

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Pleasant Hills, B. PA:

 

Chapter 251
PAINTBALL GUNS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Pleasant Hills 2-17-2003 by Ord. No. 814. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 251-1. Paintball devices recognized as nuisance devices.

Any paintball gun/device which is designed or intended to expel a projectile containing paint, ink, or similar material which can cause injury to people or property shall be recognized as a nuisance device and be subject to this chapter.

§ 251-2. Violations; disorderly conduct.

Any person discharging a paintball gun or similar device within the Borough of Pleasant Hills shall, upon hearing, be subject to a finding of violation of this chapter and/or disorderly conduct.

§ 251-3. Discharge prohibited on public property.

No person shall, within the limits of the Borough, on any public property, including but not limited to public parks, public streets, playgrounds, open space, recreation facilities or any other public facility, discharge or cause to set off a paintball gun.

§ 251-4. Business exclusion.

This chapter specifically excludes any business engaged in the operation of paintball games operating within the appropriate zoning district in which the discharge of paintball guns is carried out in an approved controlled environment.

§ 251-5. Exclusion on private property.

This chapter specifically excludes the operation of a paintball gun on private property contingent upon the use of such paintball device being limited to a target which is protected by an appropriate barrier from other private property and prevents damage to same. Under no circumstance shall paintball guns be permitted to be aimed at other human beings and/or animals; this exclusion applies only to an appropriate target on private property.

§ 251-6. Violations and penalties.

Violations of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of up to $300 for the first offense and not more than $1,000 for any subsequent offense. The cost of prosecution before the District Justice, and restitution in an amount determined by the court for damages to person or property suffered by victims as a result of violation of this chapter, shall be the responsibility of the individual who violates this chapter.

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Parsippany-Troy Hills, Twp. NJ:

 

Chapter 279
PAINTBALL GUNS AND POTATO CANNONS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills by Ord. No. 99:3. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 279-1. Discharge prohibited.

The discharge, firing or use of any gun, pistol, rifle or other device of any description that propels an object commonly referred to as a "paintball," or any other object such as a potato cannon, at any place whatsoever within the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills is hereby specifically prohibited.

§ 279-2. Permission from Township Council.

The Township Council may, upon proper application being made to it, give permission to a person 16 years of age or older to use a gun or device that discharges a paintball or other object such as a potato cannon for sport or recreation for a specified period of time in certain specified places within the Township, provided that such device shall not be discharged within 150 feet of any structure or area where others are present. The granting or denial of permission under this section shall be at the complete and sole discretion of the Township Council.

§ 279-3. Application required.

A. Any person 16 years of age or older desiring to make application under § 279-2 for permission from the Council shall file an application with the Police Department of the Township. The proper application form shall be available at Police Headquarters.

B. The application shall be investigated by the Police Department, which shall make recommendations to the Township Council at the next regular meeting of the Council, at which time the Council shall take action on the application.

§ 279-4. Contents of application.

No permission will be given unless the application specifically states where the discharge, firing or use of the gun or device is to take place and for what period of time. If the discharge, firing or use of the gun or device is to take place on land owned by someone other than the applicant (including the parent(s) of an applicant), the application must include specific written permission from the owner(s) of the property authorizing the applicant to use the property for this purpose. The application must also include a copy of the Tax Map showing the size and location of the property upon which the discharge, firing or use of the gun or device is to take place as well as a photograph of the applicant.

§ 279-5. Duration of permit.

The permit will be valid for a specified period of time not to exceed three days. A copy of the permit must be carried at all times when the gun or device is carried or used within the Township.

§ 279-6. Violations and penalties.

Any person or persons discharging, firing or using a paintball gun or other device of any description whatsoever contrary to the terms of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine as stated in Chapter 1, § 1-17. The court may also, in its discretion, suspend or revoke the permit of any person convicted hereunder.

 

 


Lancaster, C. PA:

Chapter 129
FIREARMS


Article V
Discharge of Firearms

§ 129-12. Definitions.

As used in this Article V, the following words shall have the meanings indicated:

DISCHARGE — The expulsion of a projectile from a firearm.

FIREARM — Any device which is designed and intended to expel a projectile by action of gunpowder, any other explosive, compressed air, compressed gas or mechanical device. By way of example and not limitation, items that are to be considered firearms under this article include guns, pistols, rifles, shotguns, BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles and paint ball guns and paint ball rifles. The definition of "firearm" shall not be deemed to include items that are traditionally considered to be children's toys when used in the manner for which they were designed.

§ 129-13. Acts prohibited.

A. A person is guilty of disorderly conduct (discharging a firearm) if he or she causes the discharge of a firearm anywhere within the City of Lancaster, subject to the exceptions set forth in Subsection B of this § 129-13.

B. The following acts shall not constitute a violation of Subsection A of this § 129-13:

(1) The discharge of a firearm by a law enforcement officer or military personnel acting within the line of duty, including but not limited to active operations, training exercises and ceremonies.

(2) The discharge of a firearm for purposes of hunting or other activities regulated by and conducted in accordance with the Game and Wild Life Code of Pennsylvania.

(3) The discharge of a firearm within a properly constructed and legally permitted firing range duly established within the City of Lancaster.

(4) The discharge of a firearm in defense of human life or the residence or place of business of the person discharging the firearm.

(5) The discharge of a firearm at an event, for which the party organizing or promoting such event has obtained a special permit issued by the Chief of Police of the City of Lancaster.

§ 129-14. Permits for limited discharge of firearms.

The Chief of Police of the City of Lancaster may issue a permit to allow the limited discharge of firearms for events or activities within the City of Lancaster, upon application of the party responsible for the organization or promotion of such event or activity. The Chief of Police shall only issue a permit once he/she has determined in his/her judgment that adequate safety measures have been or will be taken such that the discharge of firearms during the event or activity will not pose a significant risk to the health and safety of the residents of the city, or the participants and spectators during the event or activity. The issuance of a permit under this section shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed. By way of example and not limitation, the events or activities for which permits may be issued include target shooting competitions or demonstrations, fireworks demonstrations and block shoots.

§ 129-15. Violations and penalties.

Whoever violates any provision of this Article V shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding before a District Justice, be fined $500 for the first offense and not more than $1,000 for any subsequent offense and the costs of prosecution and shall pay restitution, in an amount determined by the court, for damages to person or property suffered by the victim as a result of the violation of this Article V and, in default of payment thereof, shall be imprisoned for not more than 30 days. The fines collected by the District Justice for violations of the provisions of this article shall be paid over to the City of Lancaster.

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Cedar Grove, Twp. NJ:

Chapter 262

WEAPONS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Cedar Grove 5-6-2002 by Ord. No. 02-578. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 262-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

ARROW — Any shaft having a pointed end designed to be propelled any distance by a bow.

BOW — Any bow, including, but not limited to, a crossbow, longbow, recurved bow, or compound bow, or any variations thereof, that is or may be used to propel a arrow or other projectile.

FIREARM

A. Any handgun, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, automatic or semiautomatic rifle, or any gun; or

B. Any paintball gun, pellet gun, or "BB" gun; or

C. Any device or instrument in the nature of a weapon from which may be fired or ejected any solid projectable ball, slug, pellet (including a paintball pellet), missile or bullet, or any gas, vapor, paint or other noxious thing, by means of a cartridge or shell or by the action of an explosive or the igniting of flammable or explosive substances; or

D. Without limitation any device which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun, wrist rocket, sling shot, or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet, pellet or missile or sufficient diameter and sufficient force to injure a person or damage property, both personal and real.

E. The definitions listed in Subsections A through D above shall be liberally construed to permit any law enforcement officer to protect the people and property of the Township.

TARGET PRACTICE — Use of any firearm, bow and arrow, or other weapon or device to shoot at an object, such as a padded disk with a marked surface, or other objects such as cans, wood, debris or the like, for the purpose of testing a person's skill or accuracy in the use of a firearm, bow and arrow, or other weapon or device.

TRAP SHOOTING — Use of any firearm, bow and arrow, or other weapon or device to shoot at clay objects propelled into the air by spring mechanisms or other means.

§ 262-2. Use of weapons prohibited.

No person shall at any time use a bow ad arrow, firearm, or other weapon or device of any kind within the boundaries of the Township of Cedar Grove except for the protection of life, limb or property.

§ 262-3. Exceptions.

Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to apply to:

A. Any premises authorized by the Township Police Department for target practice or trap shooting.

B. The use and discharge of any firearm or weapon by any person, officer or official authorized pursuant to the laws of this state or of the United States or pursuant to the ordinances of the Township.

§ 262-4. Violations and penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or both.

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