Although not as dangerous as other imitation firearms, an airsoft gun is still a cause for concern for physical, as well as social damage. Depending on upgrades and customization, the electric airsoft gun pellet flies between 160 feet per second to 550 feet per second.
Sounds fast, but when shot the pellets rarely break a humans skin. The mark left by an airsoft gun is typically a small welt or abrasion. Because the pellets are often plastic or rubber the pain inflicted for an airsoft gun is minor.
The most serious injury associated with air soft gun use are shots to the eyes. Although provisions have made goggle use mandatory, accidents still occur which can result in very serious eye damage.
If an individual is shot directly in the eye, temporary or permanent blindness could ensue. Along with eye injuries, customized pellets have been known to get caught in skin requiring surgery to remove. Airsoft guns do not inflict that much damage, but if used improperly or recklessly, serious injuries can be a reality.
Another danger associated with air soft guns comes from the use of graphite pellets. Players began coating their pellets with graphite to increase speed and firing rates. The problem that surfaced was that graphite pellets often times broke skin, and invariably left scars on players.
Physical danger aside, the greatest damage that airguns have inflicted is through fear and concern over public safety. Electric air soft guns are almost an exact replica of a real firearm; they have the same weight, often times the same length, carry the same amount of bullets, and can be colored the same. Part of their popularity comes from how real they look. It would be nearly impossible for an ordinary citizen to differentiate between an electric air soft gun and its real counterpart.
American cities have adopted varying laws revolving around carrying and possessing airsoft guns in public because of the panic they can inflict. Electric airsoft guns require orange tips on the barrel, or trademarks documenting its spuriousness to be considered legal. Brandishing or imitating violent acts with an airsoft gun can be considered illegal depending on location.
There have been numerous incidents where police have come to a scene thinking there is a crazed gunmen only to find a youth joking around with an airsoft gun. This may seem harmless but mounting opportunity costs in the form of unnecessary police involvement can greatly impose costs on a society.