Minimum age for buying a handgun is constant at federal level, while possession age varies among states.

Whether it’s sports teams, climate, people or food, all 50 states lay claim to being the best. Never ending debates don’t produce a definitive winner. The answer, as with beauty, art, and just about anything else, lies in the eyes of the beholder. 

Not so with the minimum age to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer. New York might lay claim to the best bagels, California the prettiest beaches, and Maine the tastiest lobster, but they’re in total agreement on the handgun purchase age.

That age is 21, following the mandate of the federal government, which regulates all handgun purchases. Similar to the age restriction for purchase, the issue of a handgun to those under the age of 21 is strict in all 50 states and is more difficult than for long guns.

According to, there are 29 states allowing possession of a handgun to individuals 18 and older. They range from Oregon to Georgia, Maine to Utah. Alaska and Vermont allow handgun possession to individuals 16 and older. New Mexico’s minimum age for handgun possession is 19.

The states and the minimum age for purchasing a handgun from an unlicensed dealer are as follows:

Alabama 18
Alaska 16
Arizona 18
Arkansas 18
California 21
Colorado 21
Connecticut 21
Delaware 21
Florida 21
Georgia 18
Hawaii 21
Idaho 18
Illinois 21
Indiana 21
Iowa 21
Kansas 18
Kentucky 18
Louisiana 18
Maine 18
Maryland 21
Massachusetts 21
Michigan 18
Minnesota 18
Mississippi 18
Missouri 18
Montana 18
Nebraska 21
Nevada 18
New Hampshire 18
New Jersey 21
New Mexico 19
New York 21
North Carolina 18
North Dakota 18
Ohio 21
Oklahoma 18
Oregon 18
Pennsylvania 18
Rhode Island 21
South Carolina 18
South Dakota 18
Tennessee 18
Texas 18
Utah 18
Vermont 16
Virginia 18
Washington 21
West Virginia 18
Wisconsin 18
Wyoming 21

Note: The information provided in this article regarding is intended for general informational purposes only. We assume no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the information presented herein.

Regulations can vary greatly by location, and they are subject to change at any time due to legislative updates, legal interpretations, or other factors beyond our control. It is imperative that readers verify the current ammunition regulations in their specific jurisdiction through official government sources, law enforcement agencies, or legal professionals before making any decisions or taking any actions related to ammunition possession, purchase, or use.

We disclaim any liability for any loss, injury, or damage incurred as a result of the use or misuse of the information contained in this article.