State Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Guns

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Maine

Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Maine prohibits any person from knowingly transferring a handgun to a person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under age 18.1 Maine also prohibits anyone other than a parent, foster parent or guardian (or another adult approved by the parent, foster parent or guardian) from knowingly selling or transferring a long gun to a person under age 16.2 Finally, Maine prohibits anyone other than a parent, foster parent or guardian or another adult approved by the parent, foster parent or guardian from knowingly selling (but not transferring) a long gun to a person under age 18.3

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

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

  1. Me. Stat., 17-A § 554-B(2). The term “minor” is defined as a person under 18 years of age, per Me. Stat., 17-A § 554-B(1)(B). However, section 554-B does not apply to:

    – The temporary transfer of a handgun to a minor: 1) with the prior written consent of the minor’s parent or guardian and that parent or guardian is not prohibited by federal, state or local law from possessing a firearm; or 2) in the course of employment, target practice, hunting or instruction in the safe and lawful use of a handgun;

    – A minor who is a member of the United States Armed Forces or National Guard who possesses or is armed with a handgun in the line of duty;

    – A transfer by inheritance of title to, but not possession of, a handgun to a minor; or

    – The transfer of a handgun to a minor when the minor takes the handgun in self-defense or in defense of another person against an intruder into the residence of the minor or a residence in which the minor is an invited guest.

    Section 554-B(3). []

  2. Me. Stat., 17-A § 554-A. []
  3. Id. []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Alabama

Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2015

Alabama law prohibits any person from selling, giving or lending a handgun to any person under age 18.1 Alabama law also prohibits the delivery of a handgun to any person under the age of 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.

  1. Ala. Code § 13A-11-57. 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. []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Florida

Posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

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.

  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 Kentucky

Posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Kentucky provides no minimum age for the possession of rifles or shotguns, although federal age restrictions still apply.

Kentucky prohibits any person under age 18 from possessing, manufacturing or transporting a handgun, unless he or she is:

  • In attendance at a hunter’s safety course or a firearms safety course;
  • Practicing in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established firing range, or any other place where the discharge of firearms is not prohibited;
  • Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm, or participating in or practicing for a performance by a non-profit group that uses firearms as a part of the performance;
  • Hunting or trapping pursuant to a valid license issued pursuant to Kentucky statutes or administrative regulations;
  • Traveling to or from any activity described above with an unloaded handgun;
  • On real property which is under the control of an adult and has the permission of that adult and his or her parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun; or
  • At his or her residence and in the possession of a handgun with the permission of his or her parent or legal guardian and justified in using physical force or deadly physical force.1

Kentucky also prohibits any person from intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly providing a handgun to any person he or she knows or has reason to believe is under age 18, and for whom possession of the handgun would be a violation of:

  • Kentucky Revised Statutes Ann. § 527.100 (generally criminalizing possession of a handgun by a minor; see above);
  • Kentucky Revised Statutes Ann. § 527.040 (criminalizing possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or “youthful offender” convicted of a felony); or
  • Kentucky Revised Statutes Ann. § 600.020 (defining abused or neglected children).2

See the Kentucky Child Access Prevention section for further information about this prohibition. Note that federal age restrictions generally prohibit licensed firearms dealers from transferring a handgun to any person under age 21.

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

  1. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 527.100. []
  2. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 527.110(1)(a). []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

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.

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

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). []