Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Buy a Gun? You Can't if You're Disqualified

By Deanne Katz, Esq. | Last updated on

The Second Amendment protects the rights of most citizens to buy a gun, but some people are disqualified.

Chalk it up to yet another limit on the right to bear arms. But there isn't much you can do about it, so at least you can know what kinds of behavior would disqualify you.

The rules for buying guns are dictated by both state and federal law. To figure out the state limitations on who can buy a gun, you might have to ask a local attorney. But when it comes to federal restrictions, look no further.

Age Requirements

Guns aren’t available for purchase by just anyone. You have to be old enough to handle the responsibility, which in most cases means 18 years old. That’s the age when you’re allowed to buy a rifle or shotgun.

For a handgun, the age minimum is 21. No federally-licensed dealer can sell handguns to anyone younger.

Someone under that age can still have a gun that’s given as a gift; depending on recipient’s age, the legal owner may be a parent.

Criminal Past

The Gun Control Act of 1968 laid out certain categories of people that are ineligible to own a gun. A number of those disqualifications are based on criminal history.

That means people who are fugitives from justice, have been convicted or a felony, or have been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence cannot possess guns.

It’s not just that those people can’t own guns. They can’t have them at all, which means they can’t buy them in a private sale or receive them as gifts.

Other Health Concerns

It’s not just convicted criminals that are banned from having guns. There are certain people whose past health makes owning a gun impossible.

People who have a history of drug addiction or have been committed to a mental institution are disqualified from buying a gun or otherwise possessing one.

Is there a way around the Gun Control Act? Technically yes, but it’s not easy.

If you’re disqualified, but think you should be able to own a gun, you can ask the U.S. Attorney General for an exception. Having a lawyer’s help is definitely encouraged.

Related Resources:

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard