State Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Guns

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in South Carolina

Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

South Carolina prohibits any person under age 18 from possessing or acquiring a handgun.1 It is  also unlawful  for any person to knowingly sell, offer for sale, deliver, lease, rent, barter, or exchange any handgun to any person under age 18, but this does not apply to the temporary loan of handguns for instructions under the immediate supervision of a parent or adult instructor.2

There is no minimum age to purchase or possess rifles in South Carolina.

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-30. []
  2. Id. []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Tennessee

Posted on Monday, June 8th, 2015

Tennessee prohibits any juvenile (person under age 18)1 from knowingly possessing a handgun.2

No person may intentionally, knowingly or recklessly sell, loan or make a gift of a firearm to a minor (person under 18 years of age).3) The transferor may claim as a defense to prosecution that the firearm was loaned or given to a minor for the purposes of hunting, trapping, fishing, camping, sport shooting or any other lawful sporting activity, and the transferor is not required to obtain a license under Tennessee gun dealer laws.4

Tennessee also prohibits any person from intentionally, knowingly or recklessly providing a handgun, with or without remuneration, to any person the seller or transferor knows or has reason to believe is a juvenile.5 Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

There is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns in Tennessee.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(a)(2). []
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(b). For a list of affirmative defenses a juvenile may raise when being prosecuted for knowingly possessing a handgun, see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(d)(1). []
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1303(a)(1). (Minor is defined under Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(23). []
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1303(b). []
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1320(a). []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in North Carolina

Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

North Carolina law prohibits any person under the age of 18 from willfully and intentionally possessing or carrying a handgun, unless the minor:

  • Possesses the handgun for educational or recreational purposes while supervised by an adult who is present;
  • Is emancipated and possesses the handgun inside his or her residence; or
  • Possesses the handgun while hunting outside the limits of an incorporated municipality and has written permission from a parent or guardian.1

There is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns in North Carolina.

It is a misdemeanor in North Carolina for any person to knowingly permit a child under age 12 to have access to, or possession, custody, or use in any manner of any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, unless the person has the permission of the child’s parent or guardian, and the child is under the supervision of an adult.2

Additionally, North Carolina prohibits any person from causing, encouraging, or aiding a minor who is less than age 18 to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any firearm on educational property.3 Moreover, subject to very limited exceptions, North Carolina imposes a felony on any person who sells, offers for sale, gives or transfers a handgun to a person under the age of 18.4

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.7. []
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-316(a). []
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-269.2(c). []
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-315. []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Virginia

Posted on Friday, May 15th, 2015

Virginia prohibits any person under age 18 from knowingly and intentionally possessing or transporting a handgun or assault firearm, or a shotgun “which will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered,” anywhere in Virginia.1 This section does not apply to any person:

  • While in his or her home or on his or her property or in the home or on the property of his or her parent, grandparent, or legal guardian;
  • On another person’s property if he or she has the landowner’s written permission on his or her person while on such property, and his or her parent or legal guardian has granted permission;
  • Who, while accompanied by an adult, is at, or going to and from, a lawful shooting range or firearms educational class, provided that the weapons are unloaded while being transported; or
  • Actually engaged in lawful hunting or going to and from a hunting area or preserve, provided that the weapons are unloaded while being transported.

Virginia law also prohibits anyone from furnishing a handgun to a person under age 18, having good cause to believe that he or she is a minor. This rule does not apply to a transfer made between family members or for the purpose of engaging in a sporting event or activity.2

There is no minimum age to purchase or possess rifles in Virginia.

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.7. In addition to other criminal penalties, a court that has found a child at least 13 years of age guilty of the unlawful use or possession of a handgun or a “Striker 12, commonly called a ‘streetsweeper'” must order that the child be denied a driver’s license. Va. Code Ann. § 16.1-278.9. The denial of driving privileges shall be for at least 30 days, except when the offense involves possession of a concealed handgun or a striker 12 or any semi-automatic folding stock shotgun with a spring tension drum magazine capable of holding 12 shotgun shells, in which case the denial of driving privileges shall be for two years unless the offense is committed by a child under the age of 16 years and three months, in which event the child’s ability to apply for a driver’s license shall be delayed for a period of two years following the date he reaches the age of 16 and three months. Id. []
  2. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-309. See also Va. Code Ann. § 1-207 (defining “minor”). []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Ohio

Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2015

Ohio law prohibits the purchase of a firearm by any person under age 18, and the purchase of a handgun by any person under age 21.1 Ohio law also generally prohibits selling or furnishing a firearm to a person under age 18, or a handgun to a person under age 21.2

Ohio provides no minimum age for the possession of firearms, although federal age restrictions still apply.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.211(A), (B). []
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.21(A)(1)-(3). []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Arizona

Posted on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Arizona prohibits any person from selling or giving a firearm or ammunition or a toy pistol from which dangerous and explosive substances may be discharged to a person under age 18 without written consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian.1

Arizona law prohibits an unemancipated person under age 18 from knowingly carrying or possessing a firearm on his person, within his immediate control, or in or on a means of transportation, in any place that is open to the public or on any street or highway or on any private property (except private property owned or leased by the minor or the minor’s parent, grandparent or guardian). This prohibition does not apply if the minor is accompanied by a parent, grandparent, or guardian, or a certified hunter safety instructor or certified firearms safety instructor acting with the consent of the unemancipated person’s parent or guardian.2

This prohibition also does not apply to a person who is 14 to 17 years of age and who is:

  • Engaged in lawful hunting or shooting events or marksmanship practice at an established range or other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited;
  • Engaged in lawful transportation of an unloaded firearm for the purpose of lawful hunting;
  • Engaged in lawful transportation of an unloaded firearm between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. for the purpose of shooting events or marksmanship at an established range or other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited; or
  • Engaged in an activity requiring the use of a firearm that is related to the production of crops, livestock, poultry, livestock products, poultry products, or ratites or in the production or storage of agricultural commodities.3

Arizona places no additional restrictions on the purchase or possession of handguns, although federal age restrictions still apply.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3109(A). Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 1-215(22) defines “minor” as a person under 18. The prohibition under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3109(A) does not apply to the temporary transfer of firearms and ammunition by firearms safety instructors, hunter safety instructors, or competition coaches or their assistants, if the minor’s parent or guardian has given consent for the minor to participate in activities such as firearms or hunting safety courses, firearms competition, or training. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3109(C). With the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian, the temporary transfer of firearms and ammunition by an adult accompanying minors engaged in hunting or formal or informal target shooting activities is allowed for those purposes. []
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3111(A). []
  3. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3111(B). []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Nebraska

Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Nebraska prohibits any person under age 18 from possessing a handgun.1 The provisions of this section do not apply to the temporary loan of handguns for instruction under the immediate supervision of a parent or guardian or adult instructor.2

Nebraska prohibits any person from knowingly and intentionally transferring, or attempting to transfer, a firearm to a juvenile (any person under age 18).3 However, the state does not prohibit the transfer of a long gun to a juvenile:

  • Who is related to the transferor within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity if the transfer of physical possession does not occur until the juvenile’s parent or guardian grants express permission;
  • Who is under direct adult supervision in an appropriate educational program; or
  • For a legitimate and lawful sporting purpose.4

A person must be at least age 21 to receive a handgun purchase certificate or concealed handgun permit.5 Generally, a handgun purchase certificate or concealed handgun permit is necessary to purchase, lease, rent, or receive transfer of a handgun from an unlicensed person.6 See the section entitled Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers in Nebraska.

Federal age restrictions also apply.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1204(1). []
  2. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1204(2). []
  3. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1204.01(1). []
  4. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-1204.01(2). []
  5. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2404. []
  6. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2403. []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Wyoming

Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Wyoming’s Firearms Freedom Act states that to purchase a firearm covered by the Act a person must be at least 21 years of age if the firearm is a handgun, or 18 years of age if the firearm is a shotgun or rifle.1 See the section entitled Wyoming Prohibited Purchasers Generally for more information about this Act.

Federal age restrictions also apply.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Wyo. Stat. § 6-8-404(d). []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Oklahoma

Posted on Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Oklahoma prohibits a child (person under age 18) from possessing any firearm except for participation in hunting animals, hunter safety classes, education and training in the safe use and handling of firearms, target shooting, or skeet, trap or other sporting events or competitions (provided the child is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms).1

In addition, whenever a person under age 18 is detained or arrested by a law enforcement officer and is carrying any firearm prohibited by state law, the firearm may be confiscated and forfeited to the state.2

Oklahoma also bars any person from selling or giving to a child under age 18 any firearm, provided that this “shall not prohibit a parent of a child or legal guardian of a child, or a person acting with the permission of the parent of the child or legal guardian of the child, from giving the child a firearm for participation in hunting animals or fowl, hunter safety classes, education and training in the safe use and handling of firearms, target shooting, skeet, trap or other sporting events or competitions…”3

Any person who violates these provisions is liable for civil damages for injury or death to any person and for any property damage resulting from any discharge of a firearm by the child.4 Federal law imposes additional age restrictions.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, §§ 1273 (C), (E), 1283(D). []
  2. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1271.1(A). []
  3. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1273(A), (E). []
  4. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1273(D). []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Vermont

Posted on Friday, February 20th, 2015

Vermont law allows any person age 16 or older to possess a handgun without the consent of a parent or guardian.1 There is no minimum age to possess a rifle or shotgun in Vermont.

Vermont law allows firearm sales to anyone age 16 or older.2

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4008. []
  2. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4007. This prohibition does not apply to “an instructor or teacher who furnishes firearms to pupils for instruction and drill.” Id. []