Massachusetts Gun Laws

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

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In Massachusetts, you must obtain a firearm identification (FID) card to purchase or carry a non-large capacityweapon. (140 Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 129B.) To carry a large capacity weapon in public you must have one of two types of licenses. A Class A license allows you to carry a gun openly or concealed, while a Class B license only allows you to openly carry your gun. (140 Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 131.)

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 15-18 with parental consent)
  • be a United States citizen, and
  • complete a state-approved firearms safety course or a basic hunter education course (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
  • 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.)

How to Obtain a Class A or B Handgun 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.

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.)

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.)

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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