Guns Banned? Try Air Rifles!
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court seems to be unwilling to uphold the 2nd and 14th amendments to the Constitution, where they concern the right to own guns and the states' responsibilities to uphold the Bill of Rights. Luckily, many of the regulations being passed to prohibit various firearms do not apply to air rifles. It would be wise to check the laws in your area to be sure of which types of guns are addressed in the statutes, but it is likely that you will find ownership of air rifles is not (as) hindered.
150-200 years ago, a lot of guns were, in fact, air rifles. They were definitely not the 'toys' we think of today, since they were capable of firing very high-caliber projectiles up to and beyond 1000 fps! Some of these relics are still being bought and sold by collectors today, although a nice one will not be cheap.
When people think of 18th-century guns, muzzle loaders usually come to mind. Believe it or not, air rifles were once preferable to the black powder loader options available at the time. They were also considered to be somewhat unfair in battle, due to their relatively quiet operation and multiple-shot capabilities.
While powder guns eventually won in terms of performance, it's still possible to find very powerful and accurate air rifles for target practice or hunting small game. A .22 air rifle is just about perfect for keeping your yard free of pesky rodents, and it is quiet enough to keep the neighbors from complaining.
Less common, but possibly more intriguing, are the guns ranging up to .45 or .50 caliber. These are extremely powerful -- and extremely dangerous for something on the wrong end of one. They are, however, still usually legally classified the same as smaller air rifles.