Posted on January 2, 2012
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.”1 While California law does not define the term “minor”, this term appears to mean persons under age 18 when read in context with other laws.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 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.