Not only could you “shoot your eye out, kid,” you might also go to jail for owning that BB gun in certain states.
New Jersey and other jurisdictions make little or no distinction between Daisy’s classic Red Ryder BB gun immortalized in the film “A Christmas Story,” and real guns. They must be registered and are subject to the same laws as any firearms.
“In all honesty, kids who are charged are looking at mandatory jail time,” said New Jersey attorney William Proetta, adding that under the state’s Graves Act, a conviction could lead to prison time. “The only defense is to request a waiver but if that’s not granted, young kids can get a felony charge and their lives are basically over.”
Virginia, which treats the rite-of-passage toys as firearms if they are used during criminal conduct, and other municipalities also heavily regulate BB guns. But New Jersey goes the farthest, according to Proetta.