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Thread: age to own handgun?

  1. #1
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    What age do you have to be to own a handgun in PA? i'm not asking about CCW. just to own one, read on this site that you only have to be 18 to open carry. i'm 23 but i was just curious. the link below says "it is unlawful for a person under 18 to possess a handgun" so i dont know if thats the same as owning one.
    http://www.nraila.org/GunLaws/

  2. #2
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    hey thats a really good question, I was wondering that myself when i saw that as well.

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    18. It's the same. Pistols require the full background check, unlike long guns. You can fire someone else's pistol at a range all day long, but ownership cannot be transferred to anyone without going through a dealer, and cannot be transferred to a minor at all.

    I'm not sure of the law on long guns and minorsofficially, but rifles don't require the same registration as pistols in PA, and can be transferred between private owners without going through a dealer.

    At 23, you're in the clear to own a pistol, assuming of courseyou can pass the check.

  4. #4
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    Folks - like most states, it's 18 to own and open carry a handgun in PA! but's lower or higher in some states - i.e., 14 in Montana!

    We are slowly slowly updating the OCDO website with this information provided by our trusty members with linsk to authority - and we will make a map from this data as well - please be patient.

    Once the map is done, we can encourgae folks to form groups at colleges and civil leagues around the coutnry to encourage handgun ownership, training, and carry by the 18-20 year old crowd ususaly cut out of concealed carry privileges in most states.

  5. #5
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    To own, possess and openly carry a pistol in PA - you must be 18.

    Now you ask how can an 18 to <21 person acquire a pistol in PA, here's how legally.

    1. Have it given or sold to you by a parent or grandparent - no paper "transfer" is required.
    2. Have it given or sold to you by any other person, but transfered at a County Sheriff.


    Private transfers at a FFL require the recipient to be 21 because the FFL must add the pistol to his bound book. An ATF ruling stated that FFL can only use the InstantCheck system for transfers from their bound books. ....Once the pistol is added to the bound book, the FFL must abide by federal law and it dictacts that the dealer can only transfer to someone 21 or older.


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    knight0334 wrote:
    To own, possess and openly carry a pistol in PA - you must be 18.

    Now you ask how can an 18 to <21 person acquire a pistol in PA, here's how legally.

    1. Have it given or sold to you by a parent or grandparent - no paper "transfer" is required.
    2. Have it given or sold to you by any other person, but transfered at a County Sheriff.


    Private transfers at a FFL require the recipient to be 21 because the FFL must add the pistol to his bound book. An ATF ruling stated that FFL can only use the InstantCheck system for transfers from their bound books. ....Once the pistol is added to the bound book, the FFL must abide by federal law and it dictacts that the dealer can only transfer to someone 21 or older.

    Also, you could be, say, a college student from a state outside PA, own a handgun, and bring it with you when you move to PA to go to college.




  7. #7
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    LOL yeah that works legally too.

  8. #8
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    knight0334 wrote:
    To own, possess and openly carry a pistol in PA - you must be 18.

    Now you ask how can an 18 to <21 person acquire a pistol in PA, here's how legally.

    1. Have it given or sold to you by a parent or grandparent - no paper "transfer" is required.
    2. Have it given or sold to you by any other person, but transfered at a County Sheriff.


    Private transfers at a FFL require the recipient to be 21 because the FFL must add the pistol to his bound book. An ATF ruling stated that FFL can only use the InstantCheck system for transfers from their bound books. ....Once the pistol is added to the bound book, the FFL must abide by federal law and it dictacts that the dealer can only transfer to someone 21 or older.

    knight0334,thanks for the clarification. I wasn't thinking about the 21 limit, I got into guns late and this was never a problem for me.

    I didn't know about #2, and it's interesting, because then it's a tad stupid to not just let 18-21 year-olds buy pistols, since this is inevitably going to result in legal "straw-man sales" to people who know the law.

    Do you know what the PAlaw on long guns is? I don't have kids, but I may some day.

  9. #9
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    Malengine wrote:
    knight0334 wrote:
    To own, possess and openly carry a pistol in PA - you must be 18.

    Now you ask how can an 18 to <21 person acquire a pistol in PA, here's how legally.

    1. Have it given or sold to you by a parent or grandparent - no paper "transfer" is required.
    2. Have it given or sold to you by any other person, but transfered at a County Sheriff.


    Private transfers at a FFL require the recipient to be 21 because the FFL must add the pistol to his bound book. An ATF ruling stated that FFL can only use the InstantCheck system for transfers from their bound books. ....Once the pistol is added to the bound book, the FFL must abide by federal law and it dictacts that the dealer can only transfer to someone 21 or older.

    knight0334,thanks for the clarification. I wasn't thinking about the 21 limit, I got into guns late and this was never a problem for me.

    I didn't know about #2, and it's interesting, because then it's a tad stupid to not just let 18-21 year-olds buy pistols, since this is inevitably going to result in legal "straw-man sales" to people who know the law.

    Do you know what the PAlaw on long guns is? I don't have kids, but I may some day.
    Long guns:

    18 to buy at a FFL

    No restrictions on ownership below that age. There is a Game Law provision though that those under 16 may not hunt unsupervised.


    The law concerning purchasing from a FFL is entirely Federal. 21 to buy handguns and 18 to buy rifles from a dealer. Federal government does not restrict or govern private sales or bequeathals.

    In PA's Unified Firearms Act, a firearm is only a: pistol, revolver, short barreled shotgun or rifle(NFA), or a shotgun or rifle that is less than 26" in length(NFA). However National Firearms Act laws prevail in regards to the NFA items(must be 21). Long guns are not "firearms" in the UFA, and are not regulated as handguns are.

    As to #2, yes buying for someone else would be a Straw Purchase. However, there are means to skirt that provision. Like actually retaining said pistol for a period of time, shooting it, carrying it-then deciding that he/she didn't like said handgun. Another thing that helps keep you looking clean is to NOT do that very often. A quick transfer to someone else would definitely look like a straw purchase. A suggestion would be to only sell something out of your personal collection, never ever go buy something with the intent to sell it to someone less than 21 later.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the info!

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