Ok, Jon...here's what I've found so far. I have the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes regarding fireams here in my office. I spent some time tonight going through it. There's nothing I could find in there specifically prohibiting those between 18 and 21 from posessing
a handgun. However, the Federal laws specifically prohibit legal FFL transfer
of a handgun to anyone under 21, but you already knew that. So, if I read all the legalese right (my eyes were tearing and crossed between the small print and all of the legal jargon and references to other statutes within the same code by the time I was done.
), the contentions of those answering you so far are correct. The only specific references to age were for prohibition all together for under 18. Now, how could anyone between 18 and 21 legally
obtain a handgun in the Commonwealth?
Now, just as point of law and not advising you to do this
(disclaimer, CYA protocol), under law here, a father/mother can physically and legally transfer ownership of a gun of any type, except NFA, to a son/daughter without the intervention of a FFL or doing any transfer paperwork. So, basically your contentions about having your father buy it and do the paperwork then give it to you later is correct.
You still cannot buy ammo for the handgun yourself
until you turn 21.
FYI, a gun willed to anyone as part of an estate doesn't need to be transferred unless the executor insists or it is specifically stated in the will. I researched this a while back for someone that had two estate pistols and wanted to transfer them to him. He was already in posession of them for some time. I saved him the bother and cost.
One issue that may come up if you both walked into a gun shop together and it slipped that he was buying it for you or the dealer got suspicious that you were the real end buyer but dad was doing the buying at the counter is that the inferred intent of a straw purchase might be thought of by the salesman and he may refuse to go through with the sale. You'll have to be careful of this. If you don't know what this means, a straw purchase is when someone can legally buy guns and does so with the intention of handing them over to someone that cannot. The money part is inconsequential. It's the act that is. The penalty is 10 years in a Federal prison and up to $250,000 fine. I'm not saying that your dad would end up in Leavenworth, but a suspicious dealer could make things potentially unpleasant for him if you both aren't careful. I know, it's extreme and not real likely to happen, but stranger things do happen.
Another issue is that way too many, including park rangers, many cops, and dealers etc. don't know all of the nuts & bolts of the firearm laws. While I did research this topic with the proper books, many don't. I'm referring to posession. I, myself, was under the impression for a long time that you couldn't posess a handgun if you were between 18 and 21. Apparently, I was wrong.
So, I hope you got some clarification here. If I can help you in any other way, don't hesitate to get hold of me. I'm just 45 minutes north of the Burgh.