Massachusetts Gun Laws

Learn about gun control laws, gun permit requirements, and penalties in Massachusetts.

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Gavel and Scales

Massachusetts has established two categories of firearms licenses—one for purchasing a small capacity weapon, one for carrying a large capacity weapon. In order to purchase or possess a small capacity firearm (a weapon incapable of accepting over a certain amount of ammunition), you must obtain a firearms identification card (FID). (140 Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 129B.) However, in order to carry a large capacity weapon in public you must have a license to carry (LTC).

Historically, Massachusetts distinguished between a Class A license, which allows you to carry a gun openly or concealed, and a Class B license, which allows you only to openly carry your gun. (140 Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 131.) Recent legislation (House Bill 4376 signed into law in August 2014) eliminated the Class B license. Any previously issued Class B license will continue to be valid until its expiration, but no new Class B licenses will be issued.

For more information, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in Massachusetts.

How to Obtain a Firearm Identification (FID) Card in Massachusetts

To obtain a FID card, you must apply at the police or sheriff’s office in the county where you reside. To qualify, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old (or between 14-18 with parental consent—a 14-year-old may apply but will not be issued a license until age 15 )
  • be a United States citizen, and
  • complete a state-approved firearms safety course or a basic hunter education course if you are a first time applicant (you may obtain a restricted FID card without completing an education requirement if you will only be carrying pepper spray or mace).

Additionally, you must NOT:

  • have been convicted of certain juvenile crimes
  • be a convicted felon or be convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence
  • have been convicted of certain other crimes involving drugs or weapons
  • have been confined to a hospital for mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction (unless your doctor certifies that you have been cured of the condition), or
  • be subject to certain court orders or outstanding warrants.

(140 Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 129B.)

A FID card costs $100 for those over age 18 and $25 for applicants under 18. The card is valid for 6 years and can be renewed.

How to Obtain a LTC Class A Permit in Massachusetts

To obtain a concealed handgun permit, you must apply at the police or sheriff’s office in the county where you reside. To qualify, you must:

  • be at least 21 years old, and
  • complete a state-approved firearms safety training course or a basic hunter education course if you are a first time applicant.

Additionally, you must NOT:

  • have been convicted of certain juvenile crimes
  • be a convicted felon
  • have been convicted of certain other crimes involving drugs or weapons
  • have been confined to a hospital for mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction (unless your doctor certifies that you have been cured of the condition), or
  • be subject to certain court orders or outstanding warrants.

(140 Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 131.)

An LTC license costs $10, is valid for 6 years, and can be renewed.

Does Massachusetts Recognize Concealed Handgun Permits From Other States?

Yes, but only for certain purposes.

If you are a non-Massachusetts resident who is a United States citizen, and you have a valid gun permit from another state (discussed below), you may carry a non-large capacity weapon:

  • to participate in an official competition or exhibition (like a gun show), or
  • to hunt in Massachusetts (as long as you have a valid hunting permit).

For your out of state gun permit to be valid in Massachusetts, your state must not grant permits to convicted felons or people who have been convicted of certain drug crimes.

(140 Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 131.)

Additionally, it is possible to obtain a temporary LTC license as a non-resident from the Firearms Record Bureau.

Getting Legal Help

If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in Massachusetts, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.

 

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