Federal law prohibits firearms dealers from selling or delivering a shotgun or rifle, or ammunition for a shotgun or rifle, to any person the dealer knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under the age of 18.1 Federal law provides no age limitations with respect to the sale of a long gun or long gun ammunition by an unlicensed person.

Dealers are prohibited from selling or delivering firearms other than shotguns or rifles (e.g., handguns) or ammunition for those firearms to any person the dealer knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under the age of 21.2 Unlicensed persons may not sell, deliver or otherwise transfer a handgun or handgun ammunition to any person the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is under the age of 18.3 Exceptions are provided for temporary transfers made for specified activities, including employment, ranching, farming, target practice and hunting.4

Federal law prohibits, with certain exceptions, the possession of a handgun or handgun ammunition by any person under the age of 18.5

Federal law provides no minimum age for the possession of long guns or long gun ammunition.

Click here to view additional information about the minimum age to purchase or possess firearms, including background information and state and local laws on the topic.

Notes
  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(1), (c)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. 18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(1), (5). ⤴︎
  4. 18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(3). ⤴︎
  5. 18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(2), (5). ⤴︎