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Is a Salt Pellet Gun Considered a Firearm?

Last Updated: 05.02.23


In case you have an interest in alternative ways to get rid of bugs without using toxic chemicals, we recommend that you read some reviews of salt guns to get a better idea on these types of weapons.

In case you do not have a lot of information on this topic, a salt gun is a device specifically designed to help you get rid of bugs and flies by effectively using salt. It looks and works similarly to a gun but you need to load it with salt. Since the word gun is used to describe this tool, and it also works similarly to a normal gun, it is only natural to ask yourself whether this type of weapon could be considered a firearm.


Air Gun Laws

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the term firearm is defined by the Gun Control Act of 1968 as any weapon that is designed or can be converted to discharge a projectile by the action of an explosive. Also, because air guns use compressed air to expel a projectile and not an explosive, they do not constitute firearms under Federal Law.

This applies for guns that are not manufactured with the receivers or frames of an actual firearm. Therefore, the domestic sale and ownership of air guns are normally unregulated under the Federal firearms laws implemented by ATF.

You should know that even though the federal government does not regulate air guns, there are some state and local governments that do. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has made a list of states that regulate air guns.

For example, New Jersey and Rhode Island define all non-powder guns as firearms. Connecticut, Delaware, and North Dakota define non-powdered guns as dangerous weapons but not firearms.

Along with state laws, there are local county laws and ordinances that may be relevant to air gun users. Usually, state laws do not mention air gun laws, but local counties may do so.



How Does a Salt Gun Work?

A salt gun is a very creative way of using salt to get rid of annoying insects fast without using chemical elements. These guns usually come with a cap through which you can load the salt, as well as a salt-viewing window that shows how much ammo you have left. All you have to do is lift the loader cap and pour the salt in.

Once the weapon is loaded you can aim and shot. The gun releases the salt that usually splatters the insect into tiny pieces. It can get a bit messy, and you will have to clean up the remainings as well as the salt. Still, you will not be using chemicals, which is a great advantage.


Do Salt Guns Hurt?

These weapons might look like toys but they are not! There is a good reason for which manufacturers warn against allowing anyone under the age of 18 to handle salt guns. These guns are not lethal, but their construction ensures a sufficient amount of power to kill insects. This means that the salt that is sprayed from the gun can hurt if pointed at another person.

This is why you should only handle a salt gun by placing your own safety first, and that of the people around you. You should never aim at anything other than insects. When you practice, also make sure you do so with care, in a place where you cannot get hurt or hurt other people.


Salt Guns – Non-lethal Home Defense

Salt guns were designed with the idea of getting rid of bugs and insects in a fun and effective way. However, this idea was soon taken further and introduced in another, more serious matter, namely home defense. This issue claims the attention of the media constantly because many homeowners from the United States feel the need to protect their families and properties from dangerous intruders. Therefore, many of them purchase firearms.

Unfortunately, there are too many cases in which these weapons became lethal. As a consequence, non-lethal alternatives are being developed. Inspired by local shootings close to their homes, the same owners of the company that manufactures salt guns have designed a non-lethal weapon. It is actually a pneumatic pistol which is meant to incapacitate potential intruders using proprietary powder.

This device is actually a CO2-powered air-gun that shoots hollow plastic spherical elements that are very similar to paintballs. The proprietary powder used contains elements such as oleoresin capsicum. It is made to be extremely irritating and it also causes an intense burning sensation. This powder was particularly developed to act upon the respiratory system and the eyes.

The effects can last up to 50 minutes, but they usually wear off after 15 to 30 minutes. Moreover, the ammo can be used not only by shooting directly at the assailant but it can also be spread around creating a protective barrier similar to a cloud of up to 4 or 5 feet in diameter.


Salt Guns vs. Firearms

It is time to take a look at the differences between firearms and salt guns. While they might seem similar, they are actually very different, and also work differently. Firearms use an explosive in order to expel a projectile whereas salt guns use compressed air.

In case of a human target, a firearm has enough power to make a bullet pass through skin, muscles and even bones, while the salt gun spreads the salt and only has enough power to maybe irritate the skin. If a bullet hits important internal organs or causes a lot of internal or external bleeding, the effect is clearly lethal. A salt gun is a non-lethal weapon. The only downside to using this type of gun is that is can cause a bit of a mess.

The materials from which the two types of guns are made of are also very different. Also, a firearm weighs much more than a salt gun.

Another difference between the two is that you need a permit in order to purchase and own a firearm. In most states, there is no license required in order to obtain a salt gun. While the latter is a relatively cheap option to purchase, firearms are much more expensive. The ammo is also costly compared to salt.



Is a Salt Pellet Gun Considered a Firearm?

As previously mentioned, although they might seem alike and even seem to work similarly, salt guns and firearms are actually very different. Starting from the materials they are made of, their ammunition, as well as general purpose, these are two distinct types of weapons.

Also, salt guns do not use toxic elements to work and should not normally require any license to use. While in most states salt guns are not considered firearms under the federal law, the state and local laws might disagree. Therefore, before buying a salt gun, you should check with your local authorities, just to be on the safe side.



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