Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Alabama

Alabama law generally prohibits selling, giving or lending a handgun to any person under age 18.1 Alabama also generally prohibits a person from delivering a handgun if he or she has reasonable cause to believe the transferee is under the age of 18.2

However, these prohibitions do not apply if the minor has permission to possess a pistol from a parent or legal guardian who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law, when any of the following are also satisfied:3

  • The minor is attending a hunter education course or a firearms safety course under the supervision of an adult who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law;
  • The minor is engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range under the supervision of an adult who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law;
  • The minor is engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) which uses firearms as part of the performance;
  • The minor is hunting or fishing pursuant to a valid license, if required, and the person has the license in his or her possession; has written permission of the owner or legal possessor of the land on which the activities are being conducted; and the pistol, when loaded, is carried only in a manner discernible by ordinary observation;
  • The minor is on real property under the control of the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or grandparent;
  • The minor is a member of the armed services or National Guard and the minor is acting in the line of duty; or
  • The minor is traveling by motor vehicle to any of the locations or activities listed above, has written permission to possess the pistol by his or her parent or legal guardian, and the pistol is unloaded, locked in a compartment or container that is in or affixed securely to the motor vehicle and is out of reach of the driver and any passenger in the motor vehicle.

A minor is also not prohibited from using a pistol while acting in self-defense of himself or herself or other persons against an intruder into the residence of the minor or a residence in which the minor is an invited guest.4

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

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

 

Notes
  1. Ala. Code § 13A-11-57. This section does not apply to a transfer by inheritance of title to, but not possession of, a handgun to a minor. See also Ala. Code § 13A-11-76 (defining minor as a person under age 18).
  2. Ala. Code § 13A-11-76. However, Ala. Code § 13A-11-76 does not apply to the sale of handguns as curiosities or ornaments. Ala. Code § 13A-11-83.
  3. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(f).
  4. Ala. Code § 13A-11-72(g).

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Alaska

Alaska prohibits any unemancipated minor under age 16 from possessing a firearm without the consent of his or her parent or guardian.1

Alaska also prohibits any person from knowingly selling a firearm to anyone under age 18.2

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

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

 

Notes
  1. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.220(a)(3).
  2. Alaska Stat. § 11.61.210(a)(6).

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Arizona

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.

Notes
  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 Arkansas

With some exceptions, Arkansas prohibits any person under age 18 from possessing a handgun.1

In Arkansas, any person furnishing a firearm to a minor under 18 years of age without the consent of a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for general supervision of the minor’s welfare, is criminally liable for a Class A misdemeanor.2 The crime becomes a Class B felony if the firearm is a handgun or other specified firearm.3

There is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns in Arkansas. Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

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

Notes
  1. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-73-119(a)(1), (e).
  2. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-73-101(9), 5-73-109(a).
  3. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-109(b).

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in California

Minimum age for sales and transfers: California prohibits any person, corporation or firm from selling a handgun to anyone under age 21, and from selling, loaning, or transferring any firearm to a “minor.” This prohibition does not apply in certain scenarios, including the sale of a handgun that is an “antique firearm” to a person at least 18 years of age, and the transfer or loan of a long gun to a minor by the minor’s parent or legal guardian.1 The California Family Code defines the term “minor” to mean an individual who is under 18 years of age. 2

Minimum age for possession: California law prohibits minors from possessing a handgun.3 Exceptions to this prohibition include situations where a parent or legal guardian is present or has consented to the possession.4 In addition, minors may, with the consent of a parent or guardian, possess handguns when engaged in certain recreational sports, including, but not limited to, competitive shooting; agricultural, ranching, or hunting activities; and any motion picture, television, or video production, or entertainment or theatrical events, the nature of which involves the use of a firearm.5

There is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns in California, although federal age restrictions still apply.

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

For age restrictions governing ammunition, see the Ammunition Regulation in California section.

For other provisions related to children and firearms, see the Child Access Prevention in California section.

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 27505. All other exceptions are laid out in this section.
  2. See Cal. Fam. Code § 6500 See also, Cal. Penal Code § 30300(a)(1), which states that ammunition may not be sold to any purchaser under age 18, and Cal. Penal Code § 31625(b), which states that a person must be at least age 18 to obtain a Firearm Safety Certificate.
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 29610.
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 29615.
  5. Id.

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Colorado

In Colorado, any person under age 18 may not knowingly possess a handgun, except:

  • When in attendance at a hunter’s or firearms safety course;
  • During lawful firearm or target shooting;
  • During certain organized competitions or performances;
  • When hunting or trapping with a valid state license;
  • When traveling to or from such activities as previously noted;
  • When on property under the control of the person’s parent, legal guardian or grandparent with the permission of such person’s parent, legal guardian or grandparent; or
  • When at the person’s residence, with the permission of the person’s parent or legal guardian, for the purpose of lawful self-defense.1

Colorado does not provide a minimum age to possess rifles or shotguns. Colorado also provides no minimum age for the purchase of a handgun or a long gun, although federal age restrictions still apply.

For additional age-related restrictions, see the Colorado Child Access Prevention section.

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

Notes
  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108.5(1), (2).

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Connecticut

A person must be at least age 21 to obtain an eligibility certificate for a handgun.1 Connecticut prohibits any person from selling, bartering, lending, giving, delivering or otherwise transferring any handgun to a person under age 21.2 A handgun may be transferred temporarily to a person under age 21 for target shooting or use on a shooting range if under the immediate supervision of a person eligible to possess a handgun.3

Generally, no person or corporation may sell, deliver or otherwise transfer, at retail, any long gun to any person under 18 years of age.4 In addition, no person or corporation may sell, deliver or otherwise transfer, at retail, any semi-automatic centerfire rifle that has or accepts a magazine with a capacity exceeding five rounds to any person under age 21.5

There is no minimum age to possess a long gun.

Effective April 1, 2014, no person may purchase or receive any long gun unless such person holds a valid long gun eligibility certificate, a valid permit to sell a pistol or revolver, or a valid eligibility certificate for a pistol or revolver.6 A “junior firearms hunting license” may be issued to a child between 12 and 16 years of age.7

Connecticut law generally prohibits the sale of firearm ammunition or an ammunition magazine to anyone under age 18.8

Connecticut also prohibits any person from transferring, selling or giving a machine gun to a person under age 16, including the temporary transfer of a machine gun for use in target shooting or on a shooting range or for “any other purpose.”9

Federal law imposes additional age limits.

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

Notes
  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-36f(a).
  2. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-34(b).
  3. Id.
  4. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(b)(1).
  5. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(b)(2).
  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-37a(c).
  7. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 26-27a(1).
  8. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-38k(b).
  9. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-202(c).

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Delaware

Delaware prohibits the purchase, ownership or possession of a handgun by a “juvenile” except for the purposes of engaging in lawful hunting, instruction, sporting or recreational activity while under the direct or indirect supervision of an adult.1 There is no minimum age to possess long guns under Delaware or federal law.

Delaware law prohibits the sale of a handgun or other deadly weapon “made especially for the defense of one’s person” to a person under age 21.2 Delaware also prohibits the sale or transfer of any firearm or ammunition to a person under age 18 unless the transferor is the minor’s parent or guardian or a person who first receives permission from the minor’s parent or guardian.3

Delaware also prohibits online marketing or advertising of firearms to children.4

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

 

Notes
  1. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1448(a)(5). The term “juvenile” is not defined under Delaware law, although state law notes that any person who attains age 18 is deemed to be of full legal age for “all purposes whatsoever.” Del. Code Ann. tit. 1, § 701.
  2. Del. Code Ann. tit. 24, §§ 901, 903.
  3. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1445(4).
  4. Del. Code Ann. tit. 6, §§ 1204C(e), (f)(4).

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Florida

Florida generally prohibits a person under age 18 from possessing a firearm.1  However, this prohibition does not apply to unloaded firearms in the minor’s home.2 It also does not apply if the minor is:

  • Engaged in a lawful hunting activity and is at least age 16 or, if under age 16, is supervised by an adult;
  • Engaged in a lawful marksmanship competition or practice or other lawful recreational shooting activity, and is at least age 16 or, if under age 16, is supervised by an adult who is acting with the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian; or
  • Transporting an unloaded firearm directly to or from one of the aforementioned events.3

Florida law penalizes any parent or guardian, or other adult responsible for the welfare of a minor, who knowingly and willfully permits the minor to possess a firearm in violation these provisions.4

Florida also prohibits any dealer from selling or transferring any firearm to a minor under age 18.5 In addition, Florida law penalizes any person who knowingly or willfully sells or transfers a firearm to a minor without the permission of the minor’s parent or guardian.6 Note that federal age restrictions also apply, and generally prohibit licensed firearms dealers from selling handguns to persons under age 21. For other child safety measures, see the Florida Child Access Prevention section.

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

Notes
  1. Fla. Stat. § 790.22(3), (5).
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. Fla. Stat. § 790.22(4).
  5. Fla. Stat. § 790.18.
  6. Fla. Stat. § 790.17.

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Georgia

Georgia prohibits the possession or control of a handgun by any person under age 18.1 This prohibition does not apply if the underage person is:

  • Attending a hunter education course or a firearms safety course;
  • Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction where such range is located;
  • Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized non-profit group that uses firearms as a part of such performance;
  • Hunting or fishing pursuant to a valid license if such person has in his or her possession a valid hunting or fishing license if required; is engaged in legal hunting or fishing; has permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; and the handgun, whenever loaded, is carried only in an open and fully exposed manner; or
  • Traveling to or from any of the aforementioned activities, if the handgun is not loaded.2

In addition, this prohibition does not apply if the person under age 18 is:

  • On real property under the control of his or her parent, legal guardian, or grandparent and who has the permission of the parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun; or
  • At his or her residence and possesses a handgun while exercising rights authorized by Georgia provisions regarding the justified use of force against another with the permission of his or her parent or legal guardian.3

No person may intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly sell or furnish a handgun to a minor (person under the age of 18 years).4 However, a parent or legal guardian may permit possession of a handgun by a minor for the purposes specified above.5

There is no minimum age requirement to possess rifles and shotguns in Georgia. Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

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

Notes
  1. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-132(b).
  2. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-132(c)(1).
  3. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-132(c)(2), (3).
  4. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-101.1(b); see § 16-11-101.1(a)(1) (defining “minor”).
  5. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-101.1(b).