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This page collects resources for defending laws that impose age restrictions on firearm possession or carry against Second Amendment challenges—including a selection of historical laws, cases, academic articles, social science, and briefs from prior cases. Additional resources will be added over time. Historical laws are also available at the Repository of Historical Gun Laws at Duke Law School. Please get in touch with any questions you might have about these resources, methodology in Second Amendment cases, or any other issues you confront in defending gun safety laws.

Historical Laws

Age Restrictions on Sale of Guns

  1. Alabama: 1856 Ala. Acts 17, No. 26, § 1 (prohibiting anyone to “sell or give or lend, to any male minor, … [an] air gun or pistol”) [Google Books]
  2. Tennessee: 1856 Tenn. Acts 92, ch. 81, § 2 (“[I]t shall be unlawful for any person to sell, loan, or give, to any minor a pistol … . Provided, that this act shall not be construed so as to prevent the sale, loan, or gift, to any minor of a gun for hunting.”) [HeinOnline]
  3. Kentucky: Edward Bullock and William Johnson, The General Statutes of the Commonwealth of Kentucky 359, § 1 (1873) (prohibiting anyone to “sell a deadly weapon to a minor other than an ordinary pocket knife”) [HeinOnline]
  4. Chicago, Illinois: Proceedings of the Common Council of the City of Chicago for the Municipal Year 1872-3, at 113-14 (1874) (“That no person within said city shall sell to or in any manner furnish a minor with any gun, pistol, revolver, or other fire-arms[.]”) [Hathi]
  5. Indiana: 1875 Ind. Laws 59, ch. XL, § 1, (“[I]t shall be unlawful for any person to sell, barter, or give to any other person under the age of twenty-one years any pistol … or other deadly weapon that can be worn, or carried, concealed upon or about the person, or to sell, barter, or give to any person, under the age of twenty-one years, any cartridges manufactured and designed for use in a pistol.”) [HeinOnline]
  6. Georgia: 1876 Ga. Laws 112, No. CXXVIIII (O. No. 63.), § 1 (“[I]t shall not be lawful for any person or persons knowingly to sell, give, lend or furnish any minor or minors any pistol, dirk, bowie knife or sword cane … . Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed as forbidding the furnishing of such weapons under circumstances justifying their use in defending life, limb or property.”) [HeinOnline]
  7. Mississippi: 1878 Miss. Laws 175, ch. 66, §§ 1-2 (“[I]t shall not be lawful for any person to sell to any minor … knowing him to be a minor … any weapon of the kind or description in the first section of this Act described, or any pistol cartridge[.]”) [HeinOnline]
  8. Missouri: Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri 224, § 1274 (1879) (No person shall “directly or indirectly, sell or deliver, loan or barter to any minor any such [deadly] weapon, without the consent of the parent or guardian of such minor”) [HeinOnline]
  9. Delaware: 1881 Del. Laws 987, ch. 548, § 1 (prohibiting anyone to “knowingly sell a deadly weapon to a minor other than an ordinary pocket knife”) [HeinOnline]
  10. Illinois: 1881 Ill. Laws 73, § 2 (“Whoever, not being the father, guardian or employer of the minor herein named, by himself or agent, shall sell, give, loan … to any minor within this state, any pistol, revolver, derringer, bowie knife, dirk or other deadly weapon … shall be guilty of a misdemeanor[.]”) [HeinOnline]
  11. Maryland: 1882 Md. Laws 656, ch. 424, § 2 (“[I]t shall be unlawful for any person, be he or she licensed dealer or not, to sell, barter or give away any firearm whatsoever or other deadly weapons, except shot guns, fowling pieces and rifles, to any person who is a minor under the age of twenty-one years.”) [HeinOnline]
  12. West Virginia: 1882 W. Va. Acts 421-22, ch. 135, § 1 (“[I]f any person shall sell or furnish any such weapon as is hereinbefore mentioned to a person whom he knows, or has reason, from his appearance or otherwise, to believe to be under the age of twenty-one years, he shall be punished as hereinbefore provided[.]”) [HeinOnline]
  13. Kansas: 1883 Kan. Sess. Laws 159, ch. CV, 1-2 (“Any person who shall sell, trade, give, loan or otherwise furnish any pistol, revolver or toy pistol, by which cartridges or caps may be exploded, … or other dangerous weapons to any minor … shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor[.]”) [HeinOnline]
  14. Wisconsin: 1883 Wis. Sess. Laws 290, ch. 329, §§ 1-2 (“It shall be unlawful for any dealer in pistols or revolvers, or any other person, to sell, loan, or give any pistol or revolver to any minor in this state.”) [HeinOnline]
  15. Iowa: 1884 Iowa Acts And Resolutions 86, ch. 78, § 1, (“That it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, present or give any pistol revolver or toy pistol to any minor.”) [HeinOnline]
  16. Louisiana: 1890 La. Acts 39, No. 46, § 1 (“[I]t shall be unlawful, for any person to sell, or lease or give through himself or any other person, any pistol, dirk, bowie-knife or any other dangerous weapon, which may be carried concealed to any person under the age of twenty-one years.”) [HeinOnline]
  17. Wyoming: 1890 Wyo. Sess. Laws 140, § 97 (prohibiting the sale “to any other person under the age of twenty-one years any pistol … or other deadly weapon that can be worn or carried concealed”) [HeinOnline]
  18. District of Columbia: The Miscellaneous Documents of the Senate of the United States for the First Session of the Fifty-Second Congress 1891-92, at 288, § 5 (1892) (“That any person or persons who shall, within the District of Columbia, sell, barter, hire, lend or give to any minor under the age of twenty-one years any [deadly or dangerous weapons, such as daggers, air-guns, pistols] shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor[.]”) [Hathi]
  19. North Carolina: 1893 N.C. Pub. L. & Res. 468, ch. 514, § 1 (“[I]t shall be unlawful for any person, corporation or firm knowingly to sell or offer for sale, give or in any way dispose of to a minor any pistol or pistol cartridge, brass knucks, bowie-knife, dirk, loaded cane, or sling-shot.”) [HeinOnline]
  20. Nebraska: 1895 Neb. Laws 237-38, Laws of Nebraska Relating to the City of Lincoln, Art. XXVI, §§ 2, 5 (“No person shall sell, loan, or furnish, to any minor, any gun, fowling-piece, or other fire-arm, within the limits of the city, under penalty of a fine of fifty dollars for each offense.”) [HeinOnline]
  21. Texas: 1897 Tex. Gen. Laws 221-22, ch. 155, § 1 (“[I]f any person in this State shall knowingly sell, give or barter, or cause to be sold, given or bartered to any minor, any pistol … without the written consent of the parent or guardian of such minor, or of some one standing in lieu thereof, he shall be punished by fine[.]”) [HeinOnline]
  22. East St. Louis, Illinois: Robert V. Gustin, The Revised Municipal Code of East St. Louis of 1908, § 888 (1908) (“No person shall sell, loan, or furnish to any minor any gun, pistol, or other firearm within the city … [p]rovided, that minors may be permitted, with the consent of their parents or guardians to use firearms on the premises of a duly licensed shooting gallery, gun club, or rifle club.”) [Hathi]
  23. New Jersey: 1912 N.J. Sess. Laws 365, § 2 (prohibiting the sale of any “gun, revolver, pistol, or other firearm” to “any person under the age of twenty-one years,” with an exception for any person between the age of sixteen and twenty-one who provides “consent in writing of the parent or guardian of said minor”) [​​HeinOnline]
  24. Oregon: 1917 Or. Sess. Laws 808, ch. 377, § 10 (prohibiting the sale of “any pistol, revolver or other firearm of a size which may be concealed upon the person, to any minor under the age of twenty-one years”) [HeinOnline]

Age Restrictions on Carrying or Possession of Guns

  1. Kansas: 1883 Kan. Sess. Laws 159, ch. CV, 1-2 (“Any minor who shall have in his possession any pistol, revolver or toy pistol, by which cartridges may be exploded, … or other dangerous weapon, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor[.]”) [HeinOnline]
  2. Wisconsin: 1883 Wis. Sess. Laws 290, ch. 329, §§ 1-2 (“It shall be unlawful for any minor, within this state, to go armed with any pistol or revolver, and it shall be the duty of all sheriffs, constables, or other public police officers, to take from any minor any pistol or revolver, found in his possession.”) [HeinOnline]
  3. Nevada: 1885 Nev. Stat. 51, ch. 51, § 1 (“Every person under the age of twenty-one (21) years who shall wear or carry any dirk, pistol, sword in case, slung shot, or other dangerous and deadly weapon concealed upon his person shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor”) [HeinOnline]
  4. Oregon: 1917 Or. Sess. Laws 808, ch. 377, § 9 (prohibiting “any person under the age of twenty-one years” from obtaining a license to carry a concealed pistol or revolver) [HeinOnline]
  5. West Virginia: 1925 W.Va. Acts 25-30, ch. 3, § 7(a) (prohibiting anyone under twenty-one from obtaining a license to carry firearms) [HeinOnline]

Definition of “Minor”

  1. Larry D. Barnett, The Roots of Law, 15 Am. U. J. Gender, Soc. Pol’y & L. 613, 681-86 (2007) (providing appendix with survey of state laws demonstrating that until 1969, the age of majority for unmarried men was 21 in every state) [American University]
  2. Black’s Law Dictionary 619 (1st ed. 1891) (defining “infant” as “[a] person within age, not of age, or not of full age; a person under the age of twenty-one years; a minor”) [HeinOnline]
  3. 1 Blackstone, Commentaries On the Laws of England 451 (1st ed. 1765) (“So that full age in male or female, is twenty one years, … who till that time is an infant, and so stiled in law.”) [Google Books]
  4. Vivian E. Hamilton, Adulthood in Law and Culture, 91 Tul. L. Rev. 55, 64 (2016) (“The immediate historical origins of the U.S. age of majority lie in the English common law tradition. The American colonies, then the United States, adopted age twenty-one as the near universal age of majority. The U.S. age of majority remained unchanged from the country’s founding well into the twentieth century.”) [William & Mary Law School]
  5. T. E. James, The Age of Majority, 4 Am. J. Legal Hist. 22, 30 (1960) (“In the eyes of the common law, all persons were esteemed infants until they attained [21 years of age]”; at the time of the Magna Carta, the age of majority was 21 years) [JSTOR]
  6. 2 James Kent, Commentaries on American Law 191 (1827), Lecture XXXI Of Infants (“T[he] necessity of guardians results from the inability of infants to take care of themselves; and this inability continues, in contemplation of law, until the infant has attained the age of twenty-one years.”) [Google Play Books]


Readers should consider the impact of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, 142 S. Ct. 2111 (2022), with respect to the following decisions. Post-Bruen challenges are working their way through the courts.

Prohibitions on Purchase or Possession

Federal Cases

  1. Jones v. Bonta, 34 F.4th 704 (9th Cir. 2022) (finding, at preliminary injunction stage, that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals under 21 to purchase firearms, that strict scrutiny applied to the law’s prohibition on the sale of semiautomatic centerfire rifles to those individuals, and that plaintiffs would likely prevail under that standard (and would also likely prevail under intermediate scrutiny); but that intermediate scrutiny applied to the prohibition on the sale of other kinds of rifles to those without a hunting license, and plaintiffs would likely not prevail on that part of their challenge), mot. for extension of time to seek reh’g en banc granted, No. 20-56174, Dkt. No. 90 (May 18, 2022)
    • Affirmed in part, reversed in part: Jones v. Becerra, 498 F. Supp. 3d 1317 (S.D. Cal. 2020) (denying preliminary injunction in challenge to California minimum-age law because such restrictions “are longstanding, do not burden the Second Amendment, and are therefore presumptively Constitutional”)
  2. Hirschfeld v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, 5 F.4th 407 (4th Cir. 2021) (announcing that the federal minimum-age requirement to purchase a handgun violated the Second Amendment), vacated and dismissed as moot, 14 F.4th 322 (4th Cir. 2021) (vacating panel decision while government’s petition for rehearing en banc was pending because plaintiff had turned 21, mooting case), cert. denied sub. nom. Marshall v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, 2022 WL 994369 (April 4, 2022)
  3. Horsley v. Trame, 808 F.3d 1126 (7th Cir. 2015) (upholding under intermediate scrutiny a state law restricting the ability of persons under the age of 21 from acquiring a firearm license without parental consent or a heightened showing of responsibility)
  4. Nat’l Rifle Ass’n of Am., Inc. v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, 700 F.3d 185 (5th Cir. 2012) (holding that federal law prohibiting FFLs from selling handguns to individuals under 21 does not violate the Second Amendment)
  5. United States v. Rene E., 583 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2009) (recognizing “a longstanding tradition of prohibiting juveniles from both receiving and possessing handguns” and rejecting challenge to federal prohibition on handgun possession for those under 18)
  6. Nat’l Rifle Ass’n of Am., Inc. v. Swearingen, 545 F. Supp. 3d 1247 (N.D. Fla. 2021) (holding, “as many other[] [courts] have, that age-based restrictions on the purchase of firearms are longstanding,” and accordingly constitutional), appeal docketed, No. 21-12314 (11th Cir. July 8, 2021)
  7. Mitchell v. Atkins, 483 F. Supp. 3d 985 (W.D. Wash. 2020) (holding that Washington law restricting purchases of semiautomatic rifles by those under 21 “does not burden Second Amendment rights”), appeal docketed, No. 20-35827 (9th Cir. Sept. 22, 2020)

State Cases 

  1. In re Jordan G., 33 N.E.3d 162 (Ill. 2015) (rejecting facial challenge to various provisions of Illinois law that restricted firearm possession by those under 21 because the “possession of handguns by minors is conduct that falls outside the scope of the second amendment’s protection,” and the term “minor,” as historically understood, “generally applied to individuals under the age of 21 and remained under 21 in most states until the 1970s”)
  2. In re J.M., 144 So. 3d 853 (La. 2014) (holding that prohibiting juvenile handgun possession is a “long-standing limitation on the right to keep and bear arms” because, as early as 1890, Louisiana banned the transfer of “any … dangerous weapon” to anyone under 21)
  3. People v. Aguilar, 2 N.E.3d 321 (Ill. 2013) (upholding Illinois prohibition on the possession of handguns by those under 18 because “the possession of handguns by minors is conduct that falls outside the scope of the second amendment’s protection”)

Prohibitions on Carry

Federal Cases

  1. Nat’l Rifle Ass’n of Am., Inc. v. McCraw, 719 F.3d 338 (5th Cir. 2013) (upholding a Texas requirement that applicants for concealed-carry permits be at least 21, noting that “the conduct burdened by the Texas scheme likely ‘falls outside the Second Amendment’s protection’”)
  2. Lara v. Evanchick, 534 F. Supp. 3d 478 (W.D. Pa. 2021) (granting the State’s motion to dismiss and denying the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the court held, “[i]n light of the consensus amongst federal courts that age-based restrictions—including restrictions more severe than imposed by the Pennsylvania statutes at issue—fall under the class of ‘longstanding’ and ‘presumptively lawful’ regulations recognized in Heller, the Court is compelled to find that the age-based restrictions at issue here fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment”), appeal docketed, No. 21-1832 (3d Cir. Apr. 23, 2021), and stayed (3d Cir. Jan. 4, 2022) (holding the appeal pending the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n v. Bruen
  3. Powell v. Tompkins, 926 F. Supp. 2d 367 (D. Mass. 2013) (holding that Massachusetts’s limiting public carry licenses to those 21 and older “comports with the Second Amendment and imposes no burden on the rights of eighteen- to twenty-year-olds to keep and bear arms”), aff’d on other grounds, 783 F.3d 332 (1st Cir. 2015) 

State Cases

  1. People v. Mosley, 33 N.E.3d 137 (Ill. 2015) (finding that “the restriction on [carrying for] persons under the age of 21” is “historically rooted” and “not a core conduct subject to second amendment protection”)

Selected Academic Articles

  1. Saul Cornell, Infants” and Arms Bearing in the Era of the Second Amendment: Making Sense of the Historical Record, 39 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 1 (2021)
  2. Elizabeth S. Scott, Richard J. Bonnie, & Laurence Steinberg, Young Adulthood as a Transitional Legal Category: Science, Social Change, and Justice Policy, 85 Fordham L. Rev. 641 (2016)

Social Science

Brain Development and Impulsivity in Adolescents

  1. The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth, Nat’l Acad. of Sci. 22 (2019)
    • Researchers found that the brain development of adolescence continues into the mid-20s, and that “18-25 year-olds experience a prolonged period of transition to independent adulthood.”
  2. Mariam Arain et al., Maturation of the Adolescent Brain, 9 Neuropsychiatric Disease & Treatment 449 (2013)
    • Evidence suggests that “the brain remains in its active state of maturation during adolescence,” which in turn “supports the hypothesis that the adolescent brain is structurally and functionally vulnerable to … risky behavior.”
  3. Leah H. Somerville et al., A Time of Change: Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Adolescent Sensitivity to Appetitive and Aversive Environmental Cues, 72 Brain & Cognition 124 (2010)
    • “In adolescence, there is a heightened propensity to engage in risky behaviors that can lead to negative outcomes, including … inflicting harm on others … . [S]tatistics suggest that [fatalities from the four leading causes of adolescent mortality] may be attributed, in part, to poor choice or risky actions … and/or heightened emotionality[.]”

Adolescents and Gun Violence

Adolescents as Victims of Gun Violence

  1. Everytown for Gun Safety, The Impact of Gun Violence on Children and Teens (last updated Dec. 28, 2021) (providing an overview of the deadly impact of guns on children and teens in the United States) 
  2. Everytown for Gun Safety, A More Complete Picture (last updated Nov. 2, 2021)
    • According to data from HCUP, the risk of sustaining a nonfatal gunshot wound dramatically increases at age 15 and peaks in young adulthood.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WONDER Online Database, Underlying Cause of Death, Injury Mechanism & All Other Leading Causes
    • Firearms were the leading cause of death for children and teens (ages 1 to 19) in 2020. From 2016-2020, on average about 3,500 children and teens (ages 1 to 19) were killed by firearm each year. 
  4. David Finkelhor et al., Prevalence of Childhood Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse: Results From the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, JAMA Pediatrics (2015)
    • In a national survey of 4000 children 0-17 years old, 4% were exposed to a shooting in the past year and 8.2% were exposed to a shooting in their lifetime. 
    • Extrapolating these findings by the total child population of the U.S. (about 73.5 million), approximately 3 million children are exposed to gun violence each year.

Adolescents as Perpetrators of Gun Violence

  1. Glenn Thursh & Matt Rictel, A Disturbing New Pattern in Mass Shootings: Young Assailants, N.Y. Times (June 2, 2022)
    • “Six of the nine deadliest mass shootings in the United States since 2018 were by people who were 21 or younger.”
    • “Overall, boys and young men account for half of all homicides involving guns, or any other weapon, nationwide, a percentage that has been steadily rising. Exactly 50 percent of all killings in 2020, the last year comprehensive data is available, were committed by assailants under 30, according to the F.B.I.’s uniform crime data tracking system.”
  2. Everytown for Gun Safety, Permitless Carry (last updated March 23, 2022)
    • Based on data from the FBI Supplementary Homicide Report and the U.S. Census American Community Survey 2016-2020, 18-to-20-year-olds commit gun homicides at triple the rate of adults 21 and over. 
  3. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Fed. Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports, 2019 Crime in the United States, Table 38
    • In 2019, 15.6% of those arrested for murder and non-negligent manslaughter and 11.6% of those arrested for weapons violations were 18-to-20-year-olds, despite the fact that 18-to-20-year-olds made up only about 4% of the U.S. population. See U.S. Census American Community Survey 2016-2020 (sorting population by age for 2019). Also, 66% of all homicides in 2019 were committed with a firearm. FBI Expanded Homicide Data Table 8
  4. Daniel Webster et al., Firearms on College Campuses: Research Evidence and Policy Implications, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Sch. of Pub. Health (2016)
    • “Risks for violence, suicide attempts, alcohol abuse, and risky behavior are greatly elevated among college-age youth and in the campus environment. The presence of firearms greatly increases the risk of lethal and near-lethal outcomes from these behaviors and in this context.”

Suicide Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Prevalence of Suicide and Mental Health Issues

  1. Everytown for Gun Safety, The Rise of Firearm Suicide Among Young Americans (June 2, 2022)
    • “The suicide rate among young people has increased almost every year since 2007 and is now at a near-record high.” In 2020, suicide was the third leading cause of death for Americans ages 10-24. “The [CDC’s] Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES) collected during the first half of 2021 found that one in five high school students seriously contemplated suicide and nearly one in 10 attempted suicide in the past year. Another recent CDC study uncovered a disturbing rise in the rate of emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts among young people ages 12 to 25 during periods of the first year of the pandemic.”
    • The rate of firearm suicide among young people (ages 10-24) has increased 53% over the past decade. More than 3,100 young people die by firearm suicide each year. “Given that firearm suicide makes up over one-third of all youth gun deaths and nearly half of suicides among young people, addressing firearm suicide is an essential element of any strategy to reduce suicide and gun violence in this country.”
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin., Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2021)
    • In 2020, 11.3% of people aged 18 to 25 had serious thoughts of suicide, compared to 4.9% of all people 18 and over. 
  3. Mary E. Duffy et al., Trends in Mood and Anxiety Symptoms and Suicide-Related Outcomes Among U.S. Undergraduates, 2007–2018: Evidence from Two National Surveys, 65 J. Adolescent Health 590 (2019)
    • From 2007 to 2018, rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts among U.S. college students markedly increased, with rates doubling over the period in many cases.
  4. Am. College Health Ass’n, Nat’l College Health Assessment, Executive Summary: Undergraduate Student Reference Group (2016)
    • 10.5% of college students reported that they had seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months; 37.5% felt so depressed that it was difficult to function; 59.1% felt overwhelming anxiety; and 40.6% felt overwhelming anger.  

Access to Firearms and Risk of Suicide

  1. Everytown for Gun Safety, Firearm Suicide in the United States (last updated Dec. 28, 2021) (explaining how access to firearms increases the risk of suicide)
  2. Anita Knopev et al., Household Gun Ownership and Youth Suicide Rates at the State Level, 2005-2015, 56 Am. J. of Preventive Med. 335 (2019)
    • Household gun ownership is positively associated with the overall youth (10-19) suicide rate. “For each 10% increase in household gun ownership, the youth suicide rate increased by 26.9%.”
  3. Andrew Conner et al., Suicide Case-Fatality Rates in the United States, 2007 to 2014: A Nationwide Population-Based Study, 171 Annals of Internal Med. 885 (2019)
    • Firearms make suicide attempts more deadly: while suicide attempts involving means other than a firearm only result in death 4% of the time, suicide attempts involving a firearm result in death approximately 90% of the time. 
  4. Kim Soffen, To reduce suicides, look at guns, Wash. Post (July 13, 2016)
    • The author estimated that the total suicide rate would decline by 20 to 38% if the percentage of suicides involving firearms were similar to that of four other Western countries (Australia, Canada, France, and Britain), in which 9% of suicides involve a firearm. 
  5. Andrew Anglemyer et al., The Accessibility of Firearms and Risk for Suicide and Homicide Victimization Among Household Members, Annals of Internal Med. (2014)
    • Having access to a firearm triples one’s risk of death by suicide.
  6. Paul Yip et al., Means Restriction for Suicide Prevention, 379 Lancet 2393 (2012)
    • Limitation of access to lethal methods used for suicide (known as “means restriction”) is effective in reducing suicide. “Although some individuals might seek other methods, many do not; when they do, the means chosen are less lethal and are associated with fewer deaths than when more dangerous ones are available.”

Impact of Minimum-Age Laws on Gun Violence

  1. Julia Raifman et al., State handgun purchase age minimums in the US and adolescent suicide rates: regression discontinuity and difference-in-differences analyses, BMJ (2020)
    • “State policies to limit the sale of handguns to individuals aged 21 or older were associated with a reduction in suicide rates among adolescents.”
  2. Mark Gius, The Impact of Minimum Age and Child Access Prevention Laws on Firearm-Related Youth Suicides and Unintentional Deaths, 52 Soc. Sci. J. 168 (2015)
    • “Federal minimum age [possession] requirements reduce both suicides and unintentional deaths.” The results of this study demonstrated that the most significant declines in youth suicide and unintentional death rates came after the federal minimum age law took effect (1994). The study, which considered minimum-age possession laws as opposed to purchase laws, did not find a statistically significant effect from state-level minimum age possession laws. 
  3. Katherine Vittes et al., Legal Status and Source of Offenders’ Firearms in States with the Least Stringent Criteria for Gun Ownership, 19 Inj. Prevention 26 (2013)
    • This study demonstrates that in states without a 21-year minimum-age requirement for gun purchase or possession, nearly a quarter of gun offenders from those states would have been prohibited from possessing the gun if the legal age was set at 21-years-old.

Selected Briefs

Everytown’s amicus briefs in age restriction cases are available here.

The following is a selection of recent government briefs in key age restriction cases, along with links to the dockets.

  1. NRA v. Swearingen
    • Government’s brief (Eleventh Circuit) (October 18, 2021)
    • Court of Appeals docket (Eleventh Circuit, No. 21-12314)
    • District Court docket (N.D. Fla., No. 4:18-cv-00137)
  2. Lara v. Evanchick
    • Government’s brief (Third Circuit) (September 22, 2021)
    • Court of Appeals docket (Third Circuit, No. 21-1832)
    • District Court docket (W.D. Pa., No. 2:20-cv-01582)
  3. Mitchell v. Atkins
    • Government’s brief (Ninth Circuit) (February 26, 2021)
    • Court of Appeals docket (Ninth Circuit, No. 20-35827)
    • District Court docket (W.D. Wash., No. 3:19-cv-05106)
  4. Jones v. Bonta
    • Government’s brief (Ninth Circuit) (January 20, 2021)
    • Court of Appeals docket (Ninth Circuit, No. 20-56174)
    • District Court docket (S.D. Cal., No. 3:19-cv-01226)
  5. Hirschfeld v. ATF
    • Government’s brief (Fourth Circuit) (February 12, 2020)
    • Court of Appeals docket (Fourth Circuit, No. 19-2250)
    • District Court docket (W.D. Va., No. 3:18-cv-00103)
  6. NRA v. ATF
    • Government’s brief (Fifth Circuit) (January 23, 2012)
    • Government’s Brief in Opposition (U.S. Supreme Court)
    • Court of Appeals docket (Fifth Circuit, No. 11-10959)
    • District Court docket (N.D. Tex., No. 5:10-cv-00140)