How can I carry in Mass?

In Massachusetts, in order to lawfully purchase or possess a large capacity handgun, shotgun, or rifle, a person must have a License to Carry Firearms (“LTC”).

What stops you from being able to bear arms?

 

  •     Has ever been adjudicated a youthful offender, or convicted as an adult of: a felony, a misdemeanor for which you could have received a sentence of imprisonment for more than two years (which includes OUI after July 1994), a “violent crime,” a violation of a gun law for which jail time could have been imposed, or a violation of a drug law;
  •     Has been confined to a hospital or institution for mental illness, or a person who has been under treatment for or confinement for drug addiction or habitual drunkenness, unless submitted with an affidavit from a physician;
  •     Is the subject of a restraining order;
  •     Is under 21 years of age;
  •     Is the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant in any state or federal jurisdiction.

Different license types?

  • Class A: Allows possession of all firearms and pistols with some exceptions.
  • Class B: Allows possession of high cap rifles and shotguns but not pistols. Does not allow concealed carry or to carry a loaded firearm on a public way.
  • Large capacity for our purposes is a rifle or pistol that holds more than 10 rounds or a shotgun that holds more than 5 rounds. In reality these are standard capacity firearms.

How long will it take? Denied?

  • Serious delays right now, Meant to have it within 40 days.
  • Firearm Records Bureau Appeals Board:
    The court will expect you to prove that the chief’s decision to deny you was “capricious” or “arbitrary.” Chapter 150 of the Acts of 2004 created a Firearms Review board to review the cases of persons disqualified by misdemeanor convictions, and to vote on whether to restore the firearms rights of persons otherwise disqualified.
  • Comm2a court cases .etc

Change of Address?

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 140, section 129B states:
A cardholder shall notify, in writing, the licensing authority that issued such card, the chief of police into whose jurisdiction such cardholder moves and the executive director of the criminal history systems board of any change of address. Such notification shall be made by certified mail within 30 days of its occurrence. Failure to so notify shall be cause for revocation or suspension of such card.

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 140, section 131(l) states:
Any licensee shall notify, in writing, the licensing authority who issued such license, the chief of police into whose jurisdiction the licensee moves and the executive director of the criminal history systems board of any change of address. Such notification shall be made by certified mail within 30 days of its occurrence. Failure to so notify shall be cause for revocation or suspension of said license.

Firearm Storage (Severe Consequences)

The law requires guns to be stored in a specific manner. All guns, when not in use, with the exception of primitive firearms, must be stored or kept “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device,” to prevent unauthorized use. Penalties are assessed even if no underage person obtains access. (Chapter 140, section 131L)

Transporting in a vehicle

The law specifies how certain types of guns are to be transported.

  • Handguns under a Class A License: “No person carrying a loaded firearm (i.e. handgun) under a Class A license to carry firearms… shall carry the same in a vehicle unless such firearm while carried therein is under the direct control of such person.” (Chapter 140, section 131C)
  •     Handguns on a Class B License: “No person carrying a firearm under a Class B license to carry firearms shall possess the same unless such weapon is unloaded and contained within the locked trunk of such vehicle or in a locked case or other secure container.” (Chapter 140, section 131C)
  •     Large Capacity rifles and shotguns: “No person possessing a large capacity rifle or shotgun under a Class A or Class B License… shall possess the same in a vehicle unless such weapon is unloaded, and contained within the locked trunk of such vehicle or in a locked case or other secure container.” (Chapter 140, section 131C)
  •     Rifles and Shotguns: “No person .. shall have in his possession or under his control in or on any vehicle or aircraft a loaded shotgun or rifle.. (Chapter 131, section 63)

What is an “Assault Weapon”

Semi Auto Rifle  that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of–

  • A folding or telescoping stock;
  • A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon ;
  • A bayonet mount;
  • A  flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and
  • A grenade launcher;

Semi Auto Pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of–

  • An ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;
  • A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip,  or silencer;
  • A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned;
  • A manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and
  • A semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and

A Semi Auto Shotgun that has at least 2 of–”

  • A folding or telescoping stock;
  • A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
  • A fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and
  • An ability to accept a detachable magazine.

High Capacity Magazines

A “large capacity feeding device” is defined the same as in federal law, or:
a fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip or similar device capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition or more than five shotgun shells; … The term “large capacity feeding device” shall not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with,.22 caliber ammunition.”

A “large capacity weapon” is basically any firearm, rifle or shotgun that is semi-automatic with a fixed large capacity feeding device or that is capable of accepting any detachable large capacity feeding device; or an “assault weapon.”

References: Mass General Law C.140 §§121, 131C, 131M and 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(30)

Ban on New Mags & More Transport

Ban on recently-manufactured “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines.” State law clearly limits possession to pre-1994 items and exempts out only law enforcement and retired law enforcement:

“No person shall sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. Whoever not being licensed under the provisions of section 122 violates the provisions of this section shall be punished, for a first offense, by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for a second offense, by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $15,000 or by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 15 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The provisions of this section shall not apply to: (i) the possession by a law enforcement officer for purposes of law enforcement; or (ii) the possession by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving such a weapon or feeding device from such agency upon retirement.”

Transportation of “Large Capacity Weapons:
” No person possessing a large capacity rifle or shotgun under a Class A or Class B license issued under section 131 or 131F shall possess the same in a vehicle unless such weapon is unloaded and contained within the locked trunk of such vehicle or in a locked case or other secure container. Whoever violates the provisions of this subsection shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000.”

References: Mass General Law C.140 §§121, 131C, 131M and 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(30)

Why can’t I buy X in Mass?

Massachusetts licensed dealers are limited as to what guns which they can sell to you. The dealer can only sell you handguns that comply with two standards – the law (see Chapter 140, section 123 of the Massachusetts General Law), and the regulations of the Attorney General (940 CMR 16.00).
Chapter 140, section 123, of the Massachusetts General Laws states that a dealer may only sell guns that can pass a drop test, are not prone to repeat firing, and which meet a certain materials standard.
In order to make this requirement understandable, the state approved “independent testing laboratories” and a testing procedure. Manufacturers of handguns may now choose to pay these labs to perform the tests mentioned in the law.

The labs sent their certified results to the Gun Control Advisory Board, which reviews the results to ensure the tests were performed properly and that the guns passed the tests. They then vote on whether to recommend that the gun be on the Approved Firearms Roster. The Executive Office of Public Safety then acts on these recommendations and publishes a new roster. These regulations are found in 501 CMR 7.00.

Some smaller manufacturers can not afford to pay for the testing. Still other manufacturers object to the whole concept of the testing, and have no wish to comply. And manufacturers of top of the line competition models costing $1500 and up have no desire to pay someone to drop three of their firearms onto a concrete surface. Therefore, before the testing laboratories were even approved by the state, it was clear several product lines would not be available through Massachusetts licensed dealers.

The second standard a gun must pass is one put forth by the Attorney General.
The Attorney General has gone on record (see Enforcement notice #3, issued February 2002) as stating that guns that are on the Approved Weapons Roster comply with portions of the regulations.

However, in addition, the Attorney General requires that:

  •  Guns sold by dealers must have mechanisms that preclude an average five year old from operating the handgun, such as requiring multiple motions or a ten pound trigger pull;
  •  Guns must have either a load indicator or magazine safety disconnect.

Generally speaking, manufacturers provide notice to the Attorney General that they believe their guns meet his standards. If the AG does not object, the manufacturer will release the firearms for sale in Massachusetts.
These regulations have caused a fair amount of confusion. First, because the Attorney General has refused to compile a list of firearms which meet the standards. Secondly, because that office’s standard response to questions is “you’ll have to ask your lawyer.”
Between the two standards, the number of guns available to Massachusetts’s citizens has been greatly diminished.
Sadly it is not uncommon to see a gun on the allowed list but not allowed by the Attorney General and therefore not allowed, Glock’s are a great example of this.
These Standards do not apply to private sales.

Other Requirements to get your LTC?

  • Some chiefs require a letter.
  • References.
  • Contacts.
  • Discuss Comm2a court cases.

The Letter

State why you need a license. Talking points:

  • Large sums of cash.
  • Work late?
  • Area you work?
  • Female?
  • Inheriting?
  • Shooting Sports?
  • All legal purposes.
  • etc

Where can’t I carry in MA?

  • Schools:There is an exception if you get permission in writing from admin types as described in the law, but this is basically unheard of. Pepper Spray/OC is also prohibited. This is a Felony if violated.  MGL 269 10 (J)
  • Discuss “No Guns” signs.

Where can’t I carry because of Federal Law?

  • Federal Courthouses.
  • Post Offices.
  • Federal Buildings.
  • Military Bases.
  • Federal Prisons and corrections facilities.
  • VA Hospitals

Note that in many cases, these federal prohibitions also extend to the grounds of the site you are on. Storing your gun in the car in the parking lot of a Federal Building is likely not legal.

Alcohol while carrying

MGL 269-10H:
Whoever, having in effect a license to carry firearms issued under section 131 or 131F of chapter 140, carries on his person, or has under his control in a vehicle, a loaded firearm, as defined in section 121 of said chapter 140, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, all as defined in section 1 of chapter 94C, or the vapors of glue shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

There is no percentage defined, Due to this I recommend you do not drink while carrying a firearm at all.

Medical Marijuana

The ATF said in an open letter to all FFL’s:
“Therefore, any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition … you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to them”