View Full Version : Can an 18 year old have a handgun?

Daren Thompson
January 3, 1999, 06:15 PM
I know that the laws change from state to state, but on the federal level is there any law banning an 18-20 year old from leagally having a handgun?


Art Eatman
January 4, 1999, 12:32 AM
Per the Feds, you must be 21 to buy from a dealer.

Possession varies with the states, but I don't believe Federal law speaks to possession by age.

Rob Pincus
January 4, 1999, 08:03 PM
My understanding of the law is the same as Art's. BUT, what confuses me is that you cannot purchase a handgun for transfer to someone who cannot legally purchase a handgun themselves (straw purchase....) ...
So, how do you you legally (technically) give your child a handgun ??


January 4, 1999, 08:56 PM

By retaining title/ownership. I was 17 when I went off to college, Dad gave me his 1911, along with a letter of permission to have it in my possession. His rationale for the letter was that there was talk of a law saying that minors had to have some kind of hard evidence to have the handgun in their possession, so he did what he felt would cover it..as he said "I want you in one piece and we'll deal with the BS afterwards"

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes"

January 4, 1999, 09:39 PM
It varies from state to state. Here in Tennessee an 18 year old can legally own a handgun but, you have to be 21 to legally buy one. Weird huh?

Rob Pincus
January 4, 1999, 09:46 PM
Okay, but therein lies the problem. How can an 18 year old receive a handgun legally so that he owns it ??

I guess he could be given a gun that was bought privately. But it would seem to me that one cannot give a firearm that they buy on a 4473 legally to anyone (technically) but vertainly not to anyone who couldn't purchase the same gun themselves.

What am I missing?

Art Eatman
January 5, 1999, 12:14 AM
So far as I know, federal law only speaks to sales from licensed dealers. (We all know what El Prez is trying to do about this.)

Once federal law has been satisfied as to the original purchase to, say, a parent or such, again so far as I know state law takes over.

Who sez laws make sense?

January 5, 1999, 11:06 AM
What of inheritances? That would be a way to legally acquire a handgun without buying.

January 5, 1999, 01:47 PM
I bought my first handgun from my uncle at almost 20. This was in Michigan. The way the law was written here, at least at that time, was that, "a person over the age of 18 may apply for a permit to purchase a handgun, and may purchase a handgun." That's all that was said in the law back then. When compared to the federal law that one must be 21 or over to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, it left the loophole that an 18 year old can apply for the permit and buy a handgun, from a non-federally-licensed dealer, such as a private individual. I applied for the permit through Detroit, where I lived at the time, later picked up the permit, purchased the gun, went and registered it, and nobody said anything about it.
Compare the actual wording of state law with the federal law, and you might find a similar ciscumstance, but by now, most state laws were changed to cover this gap.

Rich Loden
January 5, 1999, 02:44 PM
I have a friend who is a police officer and was sworn a couple of months before he was 21. Since he had to provide his own weapon, his mother had to purchase it for him and give him written permission to use it until he was 21 and the pistol was legally transferred to him. The department had an agreement with the local BATF field office to allow the purchase. However, the waiting period applied since the guy's mother was not a peace officer.

January 5, 1999, 11:39 PM
I'm sure glad we have over 20,000 laws to cover this subject nationwide. (Ugh!)

4V50 Gary
January 6, 1999, 01:28 AM
The corruption of a state may be measured by the number of laws it has on its books.

Daren Thompson
January 6, 1999, 10:02 PM
Thanks for the info everybody. I go to college and have friends under 21 and this subject comes up a lot. I had no idea that the answer was not clear cut. When I bought my first handgun I was in the military ot FT. Knox 20 years old. I bought it throug hprivate transaction and had to regisater it on post. The provist marshall at that time said I could have the gun, just not buy it or buy ammo for it. I was wondering if there was a law change or somthing to that affect because my brother (who is under 21) wanted to take my dad's 5906 to college to practice. Dad said no it was against the law, and I didn't know for sure. I guess he just didn't want bro to take his old service weapon.

January 15, 1999, 12:49 AM
ok here's a more to add to the pot.

Lets say I give (or give a letter aproving possetion) a gun to my wife (20 years old)

Whats are the chances she can get a CCW in TN?


Mouse Assassins inc.

Daren Thompson
January 15, 1999, 11:24 PM
One of the stipulations to a CCDW in KY is that U be at least 21 years of age. CCDW does not apply to only hanguns, it applies to all deadly weapons. I do not remember the law exactly, but I remeber thinking that a pencil just about fit the description. Hope this helps