While minors cannot buy firearms in most cases, giving them as gifts is common, but is it legal? The answer is that it depends on the situation because the law does offer exceptions.
In general, though, the Texas Law Library explains it is illegal to give a firearm to anyone under the age of 18.
The law does allow for gifting a firearm to a minor if the child’s parent gives permission. It must be writing for the child buying the gun, but for a gift, oral confirmation of the parent’s approval is all you need.
Those rules apply under state law. Federal law is different. It also makes it illegal for you to give a minor a gun, but it only applies to handguns. Federal law does not apply to other types of guns, so you can gift a shotgun under federal law.
Of course, there are exceptions to the handgun restrictions. Minors may use handguns if they abide by all other gun laws, have written parental permission on their person when the gun is in their possession and is using the gun for hunting, employment, ranching, farming, target practice or when taking an education course.
Giving a gun as a gift can be risky legally speaking. It is best to assess the situation properly prior to making the decision to give the firearm to a minor. There is always a chance of breaking the law or ending up liable if the minor does not handle the gun properly. It may be a better idea in some cases to wait to gift the item until the child turns 18.