Are BB guns allowed in Cayman?

| 25/07/2017

Is it legal to import BB guns or air rifles into the Cayman Islands?

Auntie’s answer: The Firearms Law (2008 Revision) defines a firearm as “artillery, machine gun, sub-machine gun, rifle, shot gun, pistol, air gun, air pistol or any lethal barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged or noxious fumes can be emitted except any air rifle, air gun or air pistol of a type prescribed by the Governor”.

A representative of the RCIPS Security and Firearms Unit explained how the law specifically applies to your question, saying, “BB guns are considered to be air rifles under the Firearms Law and require a firearm import permit from the Commissioner of Police before they can be imported and licensed (on Grand Cayman).”

For permits on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the District Commissioner is the licensing authority.

The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Auntie. I have a further related question: is an Airsoft gun legal in Cayman? I tried to research this myself, but came up with some rather confusing conclusions.

    As you state, the law defines a firearm as “artillery, machine gun, sub-machine gun, rifle, shot gun, pistol, air gun, air pistol or any lethal barrelled weapon from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged”. There are perhaps two ways of reading that definition.

    One way of reading it is that any of the described guns must be “lethal” in order to be considered to be a firearm. If that’s the case, then the weapon must be sufficiently powerful to cause death, and I would infer that Airsoft guns and indeed BB guns and many air guns would in fact be legal.

    The other way to read it is to consider the phrase “any lethal barreled weapon” to be the last item on the list of other items that are considered to be firearms, in which case amy non-lethal rifle, pistol, air gun or air pistol would be considered a firearm. This appears to be the way the RCIPS has interpreted the law, but there’s a problem with this interpretation. If any non-lethal rifle or pistol that can fire any missile is to be considered a firearm, does this not make a criminal out of anybody that imports or has possession of a toy Nerf gun? I hope that secure building for young people serving custodial sentences at Bonaventure is a large one!

    I also noted that there is an exception in the law under 44 (h) that states that “This Law does not apply to…. any spring gun or spring pistol, spear gun used for the purpose of fishing, bow and arrow, catapult or sling shot, pea-shooter or popgun.” Now, I assume that the legal draughtsman intended to make an exception for any gun powered by a spring, although that’s not entirely clear because the prevailing definition of a “spring gun” is “a gun that is rigged to fire when a string or other triggering device is tripped by contact of sufficient force to “spring” the trigger.” Definitely not the intent of the law!

    So assuming that 44 (h) means that the law does not apply to an gun or pistol that is powered by a spring, then “Spring Airsoft Guns” and “Spring BB guns” are in fact legal, as opposed to “Electric” or “Gas” varieties, possession of which would put you in Northward for a minimum of 10 years.

    In all seriousness, I am very concerned that the RCIPS representative’s response that “BB guns are considered to be air rifles under the Firearms Law” would imply an incomplete understanding of the law, and that there is a danger that some poor kid in possession of spring Airsoft or BB gun might be arrested and dragged through the courts and/or, heaven forbid, committed to Northward for 10 years because of sloppy legal draughting.

    I wonder if your friendly representative of the RCIPS Security and Firearms Unit could provide some further clarification, specifically with respect to the legality of spring-powered Airsoft and BB guns?

  2. Anonymous says:

    If they would just allow people to have BB guns, there would be no iguanas within 2 months. Government would rather have people stop in the middle of traffic, jump out of their vehicle and slowly butcher them with a machete, most times just taking off a leg or tail, like I saw on my way to work last week. Truly a sad, inhuman island.

    • Anonymous says:

      During last year’s experimental cull, our very own Department of the Environment condoned the use of airsoft guns to catch iguanas. A local TV news report stated that “The D.o.E. placed a five dollar bounty on the heads of each green iguanas. Cullers can use dogs, sneers and airsoft guns to catch the iguanas, but the D.o.E. warns iguanas must be killed humanely.”

      • Anonymous says:

        You must mean air gun or rifle as an air soft gun would just tickle an iguana.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Interesting that Cayman has changed the rest of the world’s definition of firearm, ie a discharge of a projectile caused by an ignition of gun powder as the fundemental cause of the rapid expansion of gas as a propellent. In an air rifle no ignition occurs.