Are air pistols/CO2 pistols considered to be handguns under firearms laws?

Full Question:

Are air pistols/CO2 pistols considered to be handguns under firearms laws?
05/23/2009   |   Category: Weapons   |   State: Iowa   |   #16764

Answer:

Various statutes govern firearms at the state, local, and federal levels. Some local Iowa jurisdictions may have an ordinance covering air guns or CO2 weapons. I suggest calling the city hall to inquire about any applicable local regulations. For further discussion, please see:

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/mar/04/news/chi-ap-ia-bbgunban

The following is an Iowa state statute:

724.1 Offensive weapons.

An offensive weapon is any device or instrumentality of the following
types:

1. A machine gun. A machine gun is a firearm which shoots or is designed
to shoot more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function
of the trigger.

2. A short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun. A short-barreled
rifle or short-barreled shotgun is a rifle with a barrel or barrels less
than sixteen inches in length or a shotgun with a barrel or barrels less
than eighteen inches in length, as measured from the face of the closed
bolt or standing breech to the muzzle, or any rifle or shotgun with an
overall length less than twenty-six inches.

3. Any weapon other than a shotgun or muzzle loading rifle, cannon,
pistol, revolver or musket, which fires or can be made to fire a projectile
by the explosion of a propellant charge, which has a barrel or tube with
the bore of more than six-tenths of an inch in diameter, or the ammunition
or projectile therefor, but not including antique weapons kept for display
or lawful shooting.

4. A bomb, grenade, or mine, whether explosive, incendiary, or poison
gas; any rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces; any
missile having an explosive charge of more than one-quarter ounce; or any
device similar to any of these.

5. A ballistic knife. A ballistic knife is a knife with a detachable
blade which is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism, elastic material,
or compressed gas.

6. Any part or combination of parts either designed or intended to be
used to convert any device into an offensive weapon as described in
subsections 1 to 5 of this section, or to assemble into such an offensive
weapon, except magazines or other parts, ammunition, or ammunition
components used in common with lawful sporting firearms or parts including
but not limited to barrels suitable for refitting to sporting firearms.

7. Any bullet or projectile containing any explosive mixture or chemical
compound capable of exploding or detonating prior to or upon impact, or any
shotshell or cartridge containing exothermic pyrophoric misch metal as a
projectile which is designed to throw or project a flame or fireball to
simulate a flamethrower.

Notwithstanding section 724.2, no person is authorized to possess in this
state a shotshell or cartridge intended to project a flame or fireball of
the type described in this section.

8. Any mechanical device specifically constructed and designed so that
when attached to a firearm silences, muffles, or suppresses the sound when
fired. However, this subsection does not apply to a mechanical device
possessed and used by a person solely for the purpose of shooting a deer
pursuant to an approved city special deer population control plan if the
person has a valid federal permit to possess and use the mechanical device.

9. An offensive weapon or part or combination of parts therefor shall not
include the following:

a. An antique firearm. An antique firearm is any firearm (including any
firearm with a matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of
ignition system) manufactured in or before 1898 or any firearm which is a
replica of such a firearm if such replica is not designed or redesigned for
using conventional rimfire or centerfire ammunition or which uses only
rimfire or centerfire fixed ammunition which is no longer manufactured in
the United States and which is not readily available in the ordinary
channels of commercial trade.

b. A collector's item. A collector's item is any firearm other than a
machine gun that by reason of its date of manufacture, value, design, and
other characteristics is not likely to be used as a weapon. The
commissioner of public safety shall designate by rule firearms which the
commissioner determines to be collector's items and shall revise or
update the list of firearms at least annually.

c. Any device which is not designed or redesigned for use as a weapon;
any device which is designed solely for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic,
line-throwing, safety, or similar device; or any firearm which is
unserviceable by reason of being unable to discharge a shot by means of an
explosive and is incapable of being readily restored to a firing condition.

83 Acts, ch 7, § 1; 88 Acts, ch 1164, § 2, 3; 92 Acts, ch 1004, § 1, 2;
2000 Acts, ch 1116, § 7

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