Subject to limited exceptions, federal law prohibits the possession (unlawful for a person to sell, deliver or otherwise transfer to a person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is a juvenile) of a handgun or handgun ammunition by any person under the age of 18 [18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(2)].
Exceptions [18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(3)]:
Licensed Firearms Dealers
Dealers may not sell or deliver a handgun or ammunition for a handgun to any person the dealer has reasonable cause to believe is under age 21 [18 U.S.C. §§ 922(b)(1) and (c)(1)].
Note – A federal appeals court has ruled on July 13, 2021, that the existing minimum age requirement (21 years old) for purchases from federally licensed gun dealers restricts the rights of law-abiding citizens and draws an arbitrary, unjustified line.The decision, which probably will be appealed to the full court, finds that 18-year-olds possess a Second Amendment right to gun ownership.The ruling does not mean that 18-to-20-year-olds can immediately buy handguns from federal dealers. The court’s order sends the case back to District Court in Charlottesville and gives the government an opportunity to ask the full 4th Circuit to rehear the case.
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 age 18. However, subject to state law, someone between the age of 18 and 21 and is not a prohibited possessor of firearms may be allowed to acquire a handgun from someone who is not a licensed dealer. Exceptions include those noted above per 18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(3). [18 U.S.C. § 922(x)(1)].
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