The State Constitutional Provision that serves as basis of Massachusetts Gun Laws reads, “The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature, and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.”
Overall, Massachusetts Gun Laws are very strict in nature. Licensing of long arm owners is needed plus a federal identification card is required for purchases. For handguns, permit to purchase and licensing are needed. Then, a person must possess a permit to carry in order to be able to keep a handgun in public places. However, registration is not required for the possession of a short or long firearm.
States that Recognize Permits Issued Under Massachusetts Gun Laws
There are only a few states that honor carry permits issued under Massachusetts Gun Laws. These are:
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
On the other hand, Massachusetts Gun Laws do not recognize carry permits issued from other states.
Rules and Restrictions Provided by Massachusetts Gun Laws
Here are the requirements and restrictions mentioned in Massachusetts Gun Laws:
1. The sale, transfer or possession of any firearm or ammunition is not allowed without the necessary documents like the FID, license and permit.
2. Class A or B non-resident or alien temporary licenses for carrying firearms cannot be used for buying guns, ammunition and magazines.
3. A person 70 years old or above is exempted from license renewal fees.
4. A private individual is prohibited from selling guns that are not properly licensed. It is also forbidden for a person to sell more than four guns in a span of a year, except when the gun is sold directly to a licensed gun seller. The seller and buyer should furnish the office of the Executive Director of the Criminal History Systems Board the details of the transaction as well within seven days. The document detailing the sale must contain the caliber, serial number and manufacturer of the gun sold plus the FID, license and permit number of the buyer.
5. The possession, transfer or selling of an assault gun, ammunition or magazine not legally possessed on September 13, 1994 is not allowed.
6. A handgun with metal composition that has a melting point of less than 900 degrees Fahrenheit, a density of less than 7.5 grams per cubic centimeter or with a tensile strength of less than 55,000 pounds per square inch is prohibited from being sold or transferred. The same is restriction applies with a handgun that is classified as unsafe, that fails a performance test, or with a barrel length of less than three inches that has no written notice of its precision.
7. Every firearm seller is required to post a sign in his establishment and provide a written warning to a buyer or the acquirer of the gun that reads “It is unlawful to store or keep a firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun in any place unless that weapon is equipped with tamper-resistant safety device or is stored or kept in a securely locked container.”
8. A Class A carry license is needed by a person who wants to acquire, trade or carry a large capacity firearm while a Class B license is required for an individual who wishes to acquire, trade or carry a non-large capacity firearm. Both classes have the same set of restrictions. Restrictions are posed for persons who were convicted of acts of violence, adjudicated as delinquent, a fugitive from law, a subject to a restraining order, an illegal alien, or a minor less than 18 years of age without the permission of his legal guardian or parent.
9. To be eligible for a license, a person must be able to furnish the office of the Colonel of State Police the necessary documents, accomplish the needed forms, pay the required fees, must possess knowledge in the proper handling of a gun, and must not have any of the previously mentioned disqualifying factors.
10. Exempted from securing FID and licenses are those who are legally using guns in their line of duty, those who are storing unloaded and secured guns in museums, or people who are federally-approved to manufacture or trade guns.
11. New residents of the state, residents coming back after absences of less than 180 consecutive days, or residents just released from active duty in the armed forces, may possess guns for sixty days after release, return or entry. It should be noted though that this condition only applies to individuals who are in possession of firearms at the time of release, return or entry. Also, the stated persons may possess but not carry during this 60 day period.
12. Regardless of the class of the license of a person, if he is transporting a firearm, it must be unloaded, locked and stored in a secure container.
13. Leaving a gun in a vehicle that is unattended is illegal.
14. Carrying a gun while under the influence of an intoxicating or controlled substance is strictly prohibited.
15. A Non-resident may be issued by the Colonel of State Police a temporary license to carry a handgun in certain conditions.
16. A non-resident of Massachusetts may possess a rifle or a shotgun if he engages in lawful hunting, shooting in a state-recognized firing range, traveling through Massachusetts (provided that the gun is unloaded, locked and secured in a container), attending or facilitating a firearms show of a recognized organization, or if he carries a permit in his home state and that the requirements in his state are as restrictive as the requirements of Massachusetts Gun Laws.
17. The possession of a machine gun is illegal unless with a license and with the approval of the Colonel of State Police. But so far, the approval is only limited to authorized firearm instructors or legitimate gun collectors.
18. In Boston, the possession of a firearm without a license issued by the Boston Police Commissioner is illegal.
19. Again in Boston, weapons listed by the “assault weapons roster board” as assault weapons are not allowed unless registered with the Boston Police Commissioner within 90 days starting the effectivity of the prohibition which is in December 9, 1989.