Felony Airsoft Gun Charges in Michigan: Definition and Penalties

Gavel on desk depicting airsoft gun charges

Airsoft guns aren’t real weapons, right? You can’t kill someone with one and even Governor Snyder signed a series of bills back in 2015 which clarified that guns like airsoft guns, BB guns, and paintball guns aren’t firearms. These laws repealed criminal penalties for minors in possession of airsoft guns.

So, how could 65-year-old Archie Massey from Bay County be going to prison for up to five years in prison for having an airsoft gun?

The Case of Archie Massey

According to police reports, on December 6th, 2018, a 44-year-old woman called 911 to report a man pounding on her windows and door. She had apparently met Massey two months prior and had repeatedly told him she didn’t want a relationship.

On December 4th, Massey banged on her door for 45 minutes. He had left a note taped to her door on December 5th saying he would see her soon and that he doesn’t play games.

When police showed up, they saw Massey standing in the common area of the apartment building, holding what appeared to be a semiautomatic handgun.

Next, the police yelled for him to come to the building’s door, he wouldn’t. Police radioed for backup, additional officers arrived, they secured a perimeter around the building and had a patrol rifle and ballistic shield ready.

Officers then used a loudspeaker to call Massey outside. At this point, another resident of the building, a man, leaned out of his apartment window and informed police Massey was in his unit, drinking coffee.

The police instructed the man to tell Massey to exit the building.

Massey finally came out. He informed the police that the gun had been a BB gun and it was in the other man’s apartment.

Police did find an airsoft gun under a pile of clothes when the man let them search.

The Clue

The clue is in what Massey did with the gun: he brandished it. Not only that, he was threatening and stalking a woman while he did it. He caused police to have to call for backup and prepare for a potential gun fight.

This all happened because the gun looked real. It is against federal law to remove the orange tip, or orange marking on the tip, that gives away its identity as an air, or pneumatic, gun.

Felony Airsoft Gun Charges

Look at Massey’s original charges:

  • Two counts of felony firearm
  • A charge of aggravated stalking.

Those charges are two and five-year felonies, respectively. He pled down to single counts of carrying a weapon with unlawful intent and stalking. The former is punishable by up to five years in prison, while the latter is a one-year misdemeanor.


While airsoft and BB guns are not classified as firearms in Michigan anymore, the manner in which you use one could greatly affect the outcome.

Local government has the right to regulate airsoft guns. In addition, the new laws and public acts don’t mean you have the right to do whatever you want with a BB gun.

If you are facing charges related to carrying or brandishing an airsoft gun, it is critical that you call an experienced defense attorney right away. Call my office today.

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