1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email

What are the Gun Laws in Massachusetts?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms

By

Caution: This summary is meant for general purposes only. Firearm laws frequently change and the following answers may not reflect changes in the laws.

Quick Reference

Rifles and Shotguns
  • Permit to Purchase: FID Required
  • Registration of Firearm*: No
  • Licensing of Owner: Yes
  • Permit to Carry: FID Required

Handguns

  • Permit to Purchase: Yes
  • Registration of Firearm*: No
  • Licensing of Owner: Yes
  • Permit to Carry: Yes

*Police recordation made of transfers.

Purchase

A complex procedure is set out for the purchase of rifles, shotguns, handguns, their related feeding devices, ammunition, "large capacity firearms" and "large capacity feeding devices." Care must be taken to have the correct card or license for a particular purchase.

It is unlawful to sell or transfer any firearm, firearm feeding device, or ammunition to a person without the proper card, license, or permit. See possession for how to acquire a card, license, or permit.

An alien or non-resident class A or class B temporary license to carry a firearm shall not be valid for the purpose of purchasing handguns, ammunition or ammunition feeding devices.

Persons over 70 shall be exempt from all renewal license fees.

A private individual is permitted to sell not more than four firearms (rifles, shotguns, or handguns) per year unless sold directly to a licensed gun dealer. He must be properly licensed to possess these firearms and the purchaser must be properly licensed to buy them.

The seller must file a report of the sale with the Executive Director of the Criminal History Systems Board within seven days of the sale. This report must be on the proper forms provided by the Executive Director and give all required details regarding the seller, purchaser and the firearm being transferred, including the caliber, make and serial number, and the FID, license or permit number of the buyer.

It is unlawful to sell, transfer, or possess "any assault weapon or a large capacity ammunition feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994."

Dealers are forbidden to sell or transfer in any way a handgun that is composed of metal with a melting temperature of less than 900¢ª F, tensile strength of less than 55,000 lbs. per square inch, or having a density of less than 7.5 grams per cubic centimeter, unless the handgun passes a performance test, an unsafe handgun, or handgun with a barrel less than three inches without a written notice of its accuracy.

Gun dealers are required to post a sign advising that:

"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."

The written warning must be provided to a purchaser or transferee.

Possession

Firearms and feeding devices for firearms are divided into classes. Depending on the class, a firearm identification card (FID or "card"), class A license or class B license is required to possess, purchase, or carry a firearm, ammunition therefor, or firearm feeding device, or "large capacity feeding device."(*1 See Page 4) One's home or place of business is not exempt from the FID or class A or B license requirements.

A FID(*2 See Page 4) authorizes a person to possess, purchase, or carry only a non large capacity rifle or shotgun and feeding devices and ammunition therefor.

The card "shall be issued" by the police chief to a person residing or having a place of business within his jurisdiction, unless:

  • The applicant has a disqualifying conviction or juvenile adjudication.

  • Been confined for mental illness or confined or treated for drug addiction or drunkenness.

  • Is a fugitive.

  • Is subject to a domestic protective order.

  • Is an alien.

  • Is under 15 or is more than 15 and less than 18 and does not have parental or guardian permission.

The licensing authority may not prescribe any other condition for the issuance of the card. The colonel of state police is the issuing authority where a local issuing authority does not exist. The card shall be issued or denied within 30 days of application.

A card holder may possess any large capacity firearm (handgun, rifle, or shotgun) at a gun club to which a class A license has been issued or under the direct supervision of a class A license holder at an incorporated shooting club or licensed shooting range.

A card holder may also possess a non-large capacity handgun or a large capacity rifle or shotgun at a gun club to which a class A license has been issued or under the direct supervision of a class A or B license holder at an incorporated shooting club or licensed shooting range.

Class A Carry License

Class A carry license is required to possess, purchase, or carry any large capacity firearm (handgun, rifle, or shotgun), large capacity ammunition feeding devices therefor, and ammunition therefor.

The license "may" be issued by the same issuing authority as for a card to a person at least 21 who is eligible for a card and demonstrates he is a "suitable person" and "has good reason to fear injury to his person or property, or for any other reason, including...sport or target practice only." Restrictions may be placed on the license.

Class B Carry License

Class B carry license entitles the licensee to possess, purchase or carry any non-large capacity handgun, and any large or non-large capacity rifle or shotgun, and feeding devices and ammunition therefor.

A class B carry license also entitles the licensee to possess a large-capacity handgun under a class A club license or the direct supervision of a class A license holder at an incorporated shooting club or licensed shooting range.

The requirements for the license are the same as for a class A license. Restrictions may be placed on the license. As in a class A license, the class B license shall be issued or denied within 40 days of application.

Page 2
- Class A & B License Cont.
- Exemptions
- Carry
- Non-Residents
- Temporary Licenses

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Crime / Punishment
  4. Crime 101
  5. Issues / Controversies
  6. Weapons and Gun Control
  7. Gun Laws by State
  8. Massachusetts Gun Laws

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.