I've asked this question many times, and always gotten the same answer, but would like to hear one more time that it is legal for me as a 19-year-old to be in possesion of a handgun.
This is in response to a sign I saw at the K2 Firearms Training Center range in Lakewood, Colorado. I was very dissapointed with the range in general, my thoughts about it are in the following thread:
Anyway, a sign was posted that said something like this: "It is against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to be in possesion of a handgun. This facility will work with law enforcement to enforce this"
In PA you can't buy a handgun until you're 21, but you can posses one at 18. Gifts from parents require no paperwork
I went to my local gunstore and had him order a HK USP .45F. It came in a couple weeks later (HK was behind on mag production). Of course I at 20 couldn't buy the handgun.
So my dad "bought" a USP .45. Then he gave it to me.
I was so moved by the gift that I decided to give my dad $650.
And thus I had a sidearm at 20
I have seen LEO rookies who were less than 21 who had to have a handgun purchased by a parent and "given" to them just so they could have a sidearm to carry in my state. Stupid, but true. I purchased my first handgun at 18 from a sympathetic dealer who is now deceased...God Bless him! I have "given" handguns to each of my five grandchildren who are from seven years down to three years...they all appreciate them, of course!
I went through this being 19 when I bought my first handgun.. Heres a rundown of federal law, and I'll include my states law at the bottom.
US Sec922(b) - Regarding dealer to invididual transfer, age requirements.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver -
(1) any firearm or ammunition to any individual who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than eighteen years of age, and, if the firearm, or ammunition is other than a shotgun or rifle, or ammunition for a shotgun or rifle, to any individual who the licensee knows or has reasonable cause to believe is less than twenty-one years of age;
Paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of this subsection shall not apply to transactions between licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, licensed dealers, and licensed collectors. Paragraph (4) of this subsection shall not apply to a sale or delivery to any research organization designated by the Attorney General.
*end Sec922 (b)
Comment: There are more regulations regarding dealer to private party transactions, that look similar to section 922(d)(1)(9), but were left out since they didn’t cover age issues.
US Sec 922 (d) – Private sale of firearm (Face to face)
(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person -
(1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(2) is a fugitive from justice;
(3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
(4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
(5) who, being an alien -
(A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
(B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26)));
(6) who  has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
(7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;
(8) is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that -
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to participate; and
(i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(9) has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
This subsection shall not apply with respect to the sale or disposition of a firearm or ammunition to a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector who pursuant to subsection (b) of section 925 of this chapter is not precluded from dealing in firearms or ammunition, or to a person who has been granted relief from disabilities pursuant to subsection (c) of section 925 of this chapter.
---Comment: This Portion pertains to the SALE only, NOT possession. It also doesn’t detail the legal differences between long gun (centerfire and shotguns) and handguns.
Sec 922 (x) – Pertaining to the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition to a ‘juvenile’. All parts pertinent to the definition of a juvenile and the legality of the sale will be in bold and some may be underlined.
(1) It shall be unlawful for a person to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer to a person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is a juvenile -
(A) a handgun; or
(B) ammunition that is suitable for use only in a handgun.
(2) It shall be unlawful for any person who is a juvenile to knowingly possess -
(A) a handgun; or
(B) ammunition that is suitable for use only in a handgun.
(3) This subsection does not apply to -
(A) a temporary transfer of a handgun or ammunition to a juvenile or to the possession or use of a handgun or ammunition by a juvenile if the handgun and ammunition are possessed and used by the juvenile –
(i) in the course of employment, in the course of ranching or farming related to activities at the residence of the juvenile (or on property used for ranching or farming at which the juvenile, with the permission of the property owner or lessee, is performing activities related to the operation of the farm or ranch), target practice, hunting, or a course of instruction in the safe and lawful use of a handgun;
(ii) with the prior written consent of the juvenile's parent or guardian who is not prohibited by Federal, State, or local law from possessing a firearm, except -
(I) during transportation by the juvenile of an unloaded handgun in a locked container directly from the place of transfer to a place at which an activity described in clause (i) is to take place and transportation by the juvenile of that handgun, unloaded and in a locked container, directly from the place at which such an activity took place to the transferor; or
(II) with respect to ranching or farming activities as described in clause (i), a juvenile may possess and use a handgun or ammunition with the prior written approval of the juvenile's parent or legal guardian and at the direction of an adult who is not prohibited by Federal, State or local law from possessing a firearm;
(iii) the juvenile has the prior written consent in the juvenile's possession at all times when a handgun is in the possession of the juvenile; and
(iv) in accordance with State and local law;
(B) a juvenile who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard who possesses or is armed with a handgun in the line of duty;
(C) a transfer by inheritance of title (but not possession) of a handgun or ammunition to a juvenile; or
(D) the possession of a handgun or ammunition by a juvenile taken in defense of the juvenile or other persons against an intruder into the residence of the juvenile or a residence in which the juvenile is an invited guest.
(4) A handgun or ammunition, the possession of which is transferred to a juvenile in circumstances in which the transferor is not in violation of this subsection shall not be subject to permanent confiscation by the Government if its possession by the juvenile subsequently becomes unlawful because of the conduct of the juvenile, but shall be returned to the lawful owner when such handgun or ammunition is no longer required by the Government for the purposes of investigation or prosecution.
(5) For purposes of this subsection, the term ''juvenile'' means a person who is less than 18 years of age.
(A) In a prosecution of a violation of this subsection, the court shall require the presence of a juvenile defendant's parent or legal guardian at all proceedings.
(B) The court may use the contempt power to enforce subparagraph (A).
(C) The court may excuse attendance of a parent or legal guardian of a juvenile defendant at a proceeding in a prosecution of a violation of this subsection for good cause shown.
*End Sec 922 (x)
Comment: (1) & (2) covers federal laws regarding the possession and private party sale (face to face) in relation to a juvenile. Since the lawfulness of sale of a handgun to a juvenile, and possession of a handgun by a juvenile, is so clearly defined the issue does not appear again in Title 18, Part I, Chapter 44, Sec 922.
Nevada State Law
NRS 202.310 Sale of firearms to minors; penalty.
Any person in this state who sells or barters to a child who is under the age of 18 years, with reckless disregard of whether the child is under the age of 18 years, or with knowledge or reason to know that the child is under the age of 18 years, a pistol, revolver or a firearm capable of being concealed upon the person is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.
[1:164:1955]—(NRS A 1995, 1154; 1997, 519, 1183)
*End Nevada Revised Statute 202.310
Comment: A very short and to the point law regarding sale of ‘concealable weapons’ to ‘children’. Nevada defines pistols as concealable weapons, along with even knives.
NRS 202.300 Use or possession of firearm by child under age of 18 years; unlawful to aid or permit child to commit violation; penalties; child 14 years of age or older authorized to possess firearm under certain circumstances.
1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a child under the age of 18 years shall not handle or have in his possession or under his control, except while accompanied by or under the immediate charge of his parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his parent or guardian to have control or custody of the child, any firearm of any kind for hunting or target practice or for other purposes. A child who violates this subsection commits a delinquent act and the court may order the detention of the child in the same manner as if the child had committed an act that would have been a felony if committed by an adult.
2. A person who aids or knowingly permits a child to violate subsection 1:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b), for the first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) For a first offense, if the person knows or has reason to know that there is a substantial risk that the child will use the firearm to commit a violent act, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
(c) For a second or any subsequent offense, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.
3. A person does not aid or knowingly permit a child to violate subsection 1 if:
(a) The firearm was stored in a securely locked container or at a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure;
(b) The child obtained the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person in or upon the premises where the firearm was stored;
(c) The injury or death resulted from an accident which was incident to target shooting, sport shooting or hunting; or
(d) The child gained possession of the firearm from a member of the military or a law enforcement officer, while the member or officer was performing his official duties.
4. The provisions of subsection 1 do not apply to a child who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.
5. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8, a child who is 14 years of age or older, who has in his possession a valid license to hunt, may handle or have in his possession or under his control, without being accompanied by his parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his parent or guardian to have control or custody of him:
(a) A rifle or shotgun that is not a fully automatic firearm, if the child is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the rifle or shotgun and the child has the permission of his parent or guardian to handle or have in his possession or under his control the rifle or shotgun; or
(b) A firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, if the child has the written permission of his parent or guardian to handle or have in his possession or under his control such a firearm and the child is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing such a firearm,
and the child is traveling to the area in which he will be hunting or returning from that area and the firearm is not loaded, or the child is hunting pursuant to that license.
6. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8, a child who is 14 years of age or older may handle or have in his possession or under his control a rifle or shotgun that is not a fully automatic firearm if the child is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the rifle or shotgun, without being accompanied by his parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his parent or guardian to have control or custody of him, if the child has the permission of his parent or guardian to handle or have in his possession or under his control the rifle or shotgun and the child is:
(a) Attending a course of instruction in the responsibilities of hunters or a course of instruction in the safe use of firearms;
(b) Practicing the use of a firearm at an established firing range or at any other area where the discharge of a firearm is permitted;
(c) Participating in a lawfully organized competition or performance involving the use of a firearm;
(d) Within an area in which the discharge of firearms has not been prohibited by local ordinance or regulation and he is engaging in a lawful hunting activity in accordance with chapter 502 of NRS for which a license is not required;
(e) Traveling to or from any activity described in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), and the firearm is not loaded;
(f) On real property that is under the control of an adult, and the child has the permission of that adult to possess the firearm on the real property; or
(g) At his residence.
7. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 8, a child who is 14 years of age or older may handle or have in his possession or under his control, for the purpose of engaging in any of the activities listed in paragraphs (a) to (g), inclusive, of subsection 6, a firearm capable of being concealed upon the person, without being accompanied by his parent or guardian or an adult person authorized by his parent or guardian to have control or custody of him, if the child:
(a) Has the written permission of his parent or guardian to handle or have in his possession or under his control such a firearm for the purpose of engaging in such an activity; and
(b) Is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing such a firearm.
8. A child shall not handle or have in his possession or under his control a loaded firearm if he is:
(a) An occupant of a motor vehicle;
(b) Within any residence, including his residence, or any building other than a facility licensed for target practice, unless possession of the firearm is necessary for the immediate defense of the child or another person; or
(c) Within an area designated by a county or municipal ordinance as a populated area for the purpose of prohibiting the discharge of weapons, unless he is within a facility licensed for target practice.
9. For the purposes of this section, a firearm is loaded if:
(a) There is a cartridge in the chamber of the firearm;
(b) There is a cartridge in the cylinder of the firearm, if the firearm is a revolver; or
(c) There is a cartridge in the magazine and the magazine is in the firearm or there is a cartridge in the chamber, if the firearm is a semiautomatic firearm.
[1911 C&P § 345; RL § 6610; NCL § 10293]—(NRS A 1963, 3; 1991, 1154; 1995, 1152; 1997, 516, 1181)
*End NRS 202.300
Comment: This is a very long and complex part of Nevada law, but it is clear on the age requirements for legal possession of both long guns and ‘firearms capable of being concealed on a persons’. This statute starts out by immediately declaring the maximum age in which it effects the lawfulness of possession of any gun, 18. It goes on to define how a 14 year old may be allowed to have in their possession both pistols and rifles, if they meet certain criteria. I included this in case you have children and wondered about the legal issues surrounding Nevada law. All useful information if you plan to take them hunting, since it would affect up to 17 year olds.
Not only is it legal for persons under 21/over 18, it is also legal for persons under 18 to posses a handgun for limited purposes.
yup, depends on the state, NC is fine, SC is a no go.
I think it's been changed since then, but in 2000 when I applied for my NY pistol permit(needed to simply own a handgun) it said 18 year olds could apply with a letter of permission from their parents
I looked into Arizona laws a while back, before I went there, and it is legal to posess, even carry openly at age 18. I shall, when I am down there next.
I had a deputy confiscate a Springfield SS 1911, Glock G21 and a Smith and Wesson Model 19 from , after finding them under the seat of my truck..... he later gave them back to me but he wasnt happy about itm that was when I was 20 he said it was against I dont remember wat regulation # for anyone under the age of 21 to be in posession of handguns that were not locked in a case and travelling from certain types of events to your place of residence
Anyone know about FL laws? Im 18 but have a handgun.
I think in FL you can buy second hand pistols at 18, or as gift. Carry them in car if its in a case. But cant purchase from a dealer until 21, or concealed carry, and no open carry in FL. I had one gun shop tell me you had to be 21 to buy "assault rifles and handguns" but its BS.
Shit, I've had a CCW permit since I was 18...it's normal here in Indiana.
Lucky me I live in CA... So pretty much no chance of me owning my own handgun for another year.
got my first at 19 through private sale in MI.
16, from my father in WA. Couldn't take it anywhere legally though, for the most part.