Many homeowners use guns to shoot larger pests like raccoons. The legality of using the firearm to shoot pests depends both on the type of gun that the homeowner uses and where the homeowner fires the firearm. Homeowners can choose between purchasing a firearm or purchasing an air gun. In most cases, using a genuine firearm is illegal, while using an air gun is. Air guns can also be ideal because they more precisely eliminate pests and are better for the environment than poisons.

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In many cases, using a firearm to kill pests is illegal.

International

Many countries have strict firearm laws, and penalties can be as high as prison time and large fines, according to BB-Pellet-Guns.com. Japan's gun laws are so strict that professional marksmen must use air rifles that mimic real firearms.

Purchasing

In the United States, almost anyone can purchase an air gun and use it to control pests. However, purchasing a firearm usually requires that you complete a criminal background check and register the firearm under your name, according to BB-Pellet-Guns.com.

Misidentification

Many air guns look similar to firearms. An orange plastic cap needs to be around the barrel of the air gun to identify it as an air gun, according to BB-Pellet-Guns.com. Those who use air guns should also mention to their neighbors that they are not using a firearm so the neighbors do not call the police.

Firearms

The rules for using firearms to deal with a pest vary from state to state. In Florida, firearms are not allowed to be discharged within the city limits of any municipality, and firearms cannot be discharged in a public place. Those who wish to use a firearm must become thoroughly knowledgeable about state gun laws and must abide by all of them.

Air-Gun Laws

Usually, air guns cannot be used to hunt animals except during certain seasons in designated areas. However, animals that are considered pests can be hunted on the property of the home owner, according to AirGunDepot. European starlings, mice, rats, raccoons, pigeons and woodpeckers are examples of animals considered pests that can be hunted with an air gun.

Ordinances

Some towns have local ordinances that restrict what air guns can be used for, so individuals shooting pests with an air gun should find out what these ordinances are.