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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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31030 views   |   54   |   Last updated on Oct 26, 2023    Criminal Law Guns

In general, minors may not receive or possess a firearm, but there are some exceptions to the federal law.

Texas law

Texas law says that a person cannot give or sell a firearm to a child younger than 18 years of age. The state law about illegal transfers or sales of weapons is in Section 46.06 of the Texas Penal Code.

However, Subsection (c) of Section 46.06 states that a parent’s permission for the transfer can be an affirmative defense to prosecution. If the minor is buying the weapon, this permission must be in writing.

Federal law

Federal law is similar only when it comes to handguns. Chapter 44, Section 922(x) in Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it illegal to transfer a handgun or handgun ammunition to a minor. This law also makes it illegal for a minor to possess a handgun unless all the following are true:

  • The minor is using the handgun for their employment.
  • The minor has written permission from a parent or guardian who is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm
  • The minor has the written permission in their possession at any time that they are also in possession of the handgun
  • The minor follows other state and federal laws when possessing the handgun

According to the Giffords Center, there is no federal law that sets a minimum age on possessing or receiving rifles or shotguns.

More info

For more information about selling and gifting guns, please see the Buying & Transferring page of our Gun Laws guide.

The law can be complex, so if you have questions about a potential transfer you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.

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