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Old 01-10-2012, 05:38 AM   #11
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Here in CA my (then) 15 year old son won a Savage Model 110 rifle for high score on the Hunter Safety Test (he got 97%). I had to handle the transfer even though the rifle is 30 years old.

Apparently here in CA you would not be able to own a handgun until you are 21.

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Old 01-10-2012, 05:42 AM   #12
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You cannot do a LOT of things gun related in the Socialist State of California. I wish CALGUNS had more clout for all of your sakes.

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Old 01-10-2012, 05:50 AM   #13
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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.
There is a huge distinction between "possession" and "ownership". A convicted felon cannot possess a firearm. This means he cannot hold a gun in his hands. That is possession. By extension a convicted felon cannot own a firearm.

On the other hand if my minor son has my gun in possession that is legal. He can transport it and shoot it all he wants.
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Vikingdad

There is a huge distinction between "possession" and "ownership". A convicted felon cannot possess a firearm. This means he cannot hold a gun in his hands. That is possession. By extension a convicted felon cannot own a firearm.

On the other hand if my minor son has my gun in possession that is legal. He can transport it and shoot it all he wants.
I always thought when laws talk about possessing a firearm,or really anything,they mean ownership. I say this because IIRC I've never read a law that used the word choice "ownership" over the word possession or specified a difference between the two. They've always used the word possession,and I've heard of cons with violent backgrounds getting away with having guns in their house because their spouse had a clean background and would use the excuse that she was in possession of said firearms and not the con. I think they use the word possession because guns aren't registered to people,at least any state I've been too... so there would be no definitive way of establishing ownership besides a bill of sale which only specifies that you bought and took possession of said gun on a certain date from a certain individual,so possession could very well imply ownership in my opinion. If you follow what I'm trying to say,even just explaining my point you can see the two words can start to be very interchangeable

Just because to the normal person there's a huge difference in ownership and possession doesn't mean there is to lawyers using legal speak.

Either way there is no law that says its illegal for a legal adult under 21 to own or be in possession of a handgun,which would make it legal.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:27 AM   #15
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The federal law on the 21 age limit is that a FFL is restricted from selling a handgun or ammunition to persons under 21,it does not restrict legal adults under 21 from owning handguns or buying them through private sales. Check your state and local laws,in many states its legal for anyone over 18 to own a handgun. In Tennessee where I am its completely legal,you just can't buy from a FFL dealer which is the case for ALL states because all gun shops are licensed by the batfe (a federal bureau) so they are subject to federal gun laws.
Pretty much the same here in Indiana. You can't purchase from an FFL dealer but can from a private individual, you can even get a License To Carry Handgun.
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:15 PM   #16
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You're correct, Vikingdad. In all things legal, there is a distinction between posession and ownership. You can have your neighbor's lawn mower in your garage, but that doesn't mean you own it. This isn't the crux of the main question here. The issue is whether a 19 or 20 y/o can even have a handgun in their posession in the Comonwealth of Pennsylvania. On that, there is nothing in the statutes that states banning ownership as well.

Here, there is a paper trail to ownership of handguns if they are transfered through an FFL. State law requires both the ATF 4473 be done along with a Pennsylvania State Police 4-113 form. This PSP form is a 3 part form, one copy is retained by the dealer, one goes to the buyer/transferrer, and the last is mailed in to Harrisburg by the transferring dealer. The only way around this is when it's a "gifted" transfer or an estate gift where the executor doesn't require transfer. The 4-113 is not required for long guns or things classified as "firearms" such as AR lowers. Now, one can refuse to do the 4473 for a long gun purchase or transfer and this is legal here. You cannot refuse to do the paperwork for a handgun. No legal transfer is allowed without the paperwork if you go to an FFL.

The PSP has a firearms division as we are a "point of contact" state. We don't use NICS. Rather, the PSP has PICS, Pennsylvania Insta Check System. They don't want to give up control of the system and turn it completely over to the FBI, even though the division costs the taxpayers money every year. We also have to charge a fee for the check, nominal as it is, though it is there and gets passed on to the consumer. Some dealers use this as a way to make a few extra bucks on a sale, though I refuse to do that. I only charge a service fee on private party transfers (which is commonplace) or when I receive a gun bought through an internet sale site like Gun Broker, etc., but this is a whole other issue completely.

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Old 01-10-2012, 04:33 PM   #17
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Jon- I do not know where you got the impression that a private sale of a firearm is illegal. In most states, you may buy a firearm from another resident of your home state. When gun is being transferred across a state line, THEN you need to involve a dealer.

Where did that law (age 21) come from? 1968 Gun Control Act. Thank you, Lyndon Johnson. Before that, you could look through the ads, send the sellers your money, and the mailman would bring you your gun. That law created the whole FFL/ Dealer thing.

Gun Control Act of 1968 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At some point I plan to visit LBJ's grave- and for SEVERAL reasons (the 1968 GCA being only ONE of them) I plan to have SEVERAL draft beers before going there.

Prime the pump, so o speak. And yes, have my bail money saved up.


BTW, I DO feel your pain. At the age of 20, I had 3 years military service behind me, was an Infantry Company Commander, had enough firepower to flatten a small town- but I could not buy a box of .45 ACP ammo.
We have an LBJ museum in my home town if you really want to drive your point home.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:29 PM   #18
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Thank you so much everyone for the help you have all been such a huge help! Just to be clear from what you have found and know i can legally own a handgun and drive it in the car with just myself to a shooting range and shoot it? I dont want to wind up in jail with my dad for him giving me a pistol and me taking it to the range lol. Also Im wondering if i could get away with getting a ccw permit? Your all really opening my mind up to this. And dont worry im not going to take the info you are giving me and dtart walking around like clint eastwood.

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Old 01-11-2012, 12:37 AM   #19
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Just to be clear, I think what everyone has said is that there doesn't appear to be any federal statute that prohibits you from purchasing or possessing a gun from a private seller, BUT you should check with your state and local laws to be sure. If you aren't comfortable doing this yourself, talk to your local police department or maybe a local lawyer familiar with the subject.

No one on these forums is going to vouch for you in court if they missed something and you get arrested. With guns, you are always the one who is responsible for yourself in the end.

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Old 01-11-2012, 01:06 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by pfev1980
Just to be clear, I think what everyone has said is that there doesn't appear to be any federal statute that prohibits you from purchasing or possessing a gun from a private seller, BUT you should check with your state and local laws to be sure. If you aren't comfortable doing this yourself, talk to your local police department or maybe a local lawyer familiar with the subject.

No one on these forums is going to vouch for you in court if they missed something and you get arrested. With guns, you are always the one who is responsible for yourself in the end.
Earlier in the post a local lawyer from my city does say the laws that confirm I can do this and with respect to LEOs the last place i would go for information exspecialy wanting to get a handgun for myself is the west view/ ross twp. Police dept.
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