Massachusetts Gun Charges

Massachusetts Gun Charges: Understanding Firearm Laws

Massachusetts is known for having some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. The state has a strong focus on preventing gun crimes and protecting public safety, which is why firearms laws are outlined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140. This chapter covers everything from Gun Charges, licensing requirements to prohibited weapons.

If you’re facing any type of gun charge or weapons violation, it’s important to understand the state’s gun laws and seek legal advice immediately. Gun charges and weapons charges in Massachusetts can result in serious consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and the loss of the right to own firearms.

Weapons offenses in Massachusetts can include possession of illegal firearms, carrying a firearm without a license, and using a machine gun or shotgun in the commission of a crime. These offenses are taken very seriously by law enforcement officials and prosecutors alike.

It’s worth noting that while Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, these laws have been challenged by Second Amendment advocates who argue that they infringe upon their right to bear arms. However, courts have generally upheld these laws as constitutional.

Overview of Massachusetts Gun Licensing Laws and Regulations

In Massachusetts, owning a firearm is a privilege that comes with significant responsibilities. The state has some of the strictest gun licensing laws in the country, designed to ensure that firearms are only in the hands of responsible individuals who have undergone proper training and background checks. In this section, we will provide an overview of Massachusetts gun licensing laws and regulations.

Types of Firearms Licenses

Before owning a firearm in Massachusetts, one must obtain a valid firearms license issued by the state. There are two types of firearms licenses available: License to Carry (LTC) and Firearms Identification Card (FID).

A License to Carry allows an individual to carry concealed handguns or other firearms on their person or in their vehicle. This type of license is more difficult to obtain than an FID card as it requires additional training and background checks.

On the other hand, a Firearms Identification Card allows individuals to purchase rifles, shotguns, ammunition, and certain other non-large capacity weapons. An FID card does not permit carrying concealed weapons.

Requirements for Obtaining a Firearm License

To obtain either type of firearm license in Massachusetts, applicants must meet certain requirements outlined in state law. These requirements include:

  1. Background Check – Applicants must undergo a thorough background check conducted by local police departments or state authorities.
  2. Safety Course – All applicants must complete a safety course approved by the State Police before applying for any type of firearm license.
  3. Age Requirement – To apply for an FID card, applicants must be at least 15 years old; for an LTC license, they must be at least 21 years old.
  4. Residency Requirement – Applicants must be residents of Massachusetts or have a place of business within the state.
  5. Mental Health Evaluation – Applicants may be required to undergo mental health evaluations if deemed necessary by authorities.

Storage Requirements

Massachusetts law also requires gun owners to store their firearms in a secure location, such as a locked safe or cabinet, to prevent unauthorized access. This requirement applies to all firearms, including those owned by individuals with a valid license.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms

In addition to storage requirements, Massachusetts law also requires gun owners to report any lost or stolen firearms to the police within 48 hours of discovering the loss. Failure to do so may result in fines and other penalties.

Consequences for Violating Gun Licensing Laws

Violating Massachusetts gun licensing laws can have serious consequences. Individuals who carry a firearm without a valid license may face fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to two years. In addition, their license may be revoked permanently.

Understanding the Law on Possession of a Shotgun or Rifle on a Public Way in Massachusetts

Possession of a Large Capacity Shotgun on a Public Way in Massachusetts: Understanding the Law

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to possess a large capacity shotgun on a public way. This law applies to any public area, including streets, sidewalks, and parks. It is important to understand what constitutes a large capacity shotgun and the consequences of violating this law.

What is a Large Capacity Shotgun?

According to Massachusetts law, a large capacity shotgun is defined as having either:

  • A fixed or detachable magazine that can hold more than 5 rounds
  • A revolving cylinder with more than 5 chambers

It’s worth noting that this definition only applies to shotguns – rifles are subject to different regulations.

Consequences of Violating the Law

If you are caught possessing a large capacity shotgun on a public way in Massachusetts, you could face serious consequences. The maximum penalty for violating this law is two years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Exceptions to the Law

There are some exceptions to this law. For example, if you are transporting your shotgun in a locked container from one location where it is legal to possess it (such as your home) to another location where it is legal (such as a shooting range), you may be exempt from prosecution.

Additionally, if you have a valid hunting license and are actively hunting with your shotgun during hunting season, you may also be exempt from prosecution. However, it’s important to note that these exceptions only apply under specific circumstances and should not be relied upon without consulting a Boston Criminal Attorney

familiar with firearms laws in Massachusetts.

Understanding Firearms Laws in Massachusetts

Possessing firearms in Massachusetts can be complicated due to the state’s strict gun control laws. In addition to restrictions on large capacity shotguns on public ways, there are also regulations regarding licensing requirements for owning firearms and restrictions on certain types of weapons.

For example, assault weapons are banned outright in Massachusetts. This includes any firearm that is a “semiautomatic rifle or pistol that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least two of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; (iii) a bayonet mount; (iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and (v) a grenade launcher.”

It’s important to understand these laws and regulations in order to avoid any legal issues. If you are unsure about whether your shotgun or rifle is legal, it’s best to consult an attorney who specializes in firearms law.

Carrying Dangerous Weapons in Massachusetts: What You Need to Know

Massachusetts law defines dangerous weapons as any object or device that is specifically designed to cause serious bodily injury or death, or any object or device that could reasonably be considered capable of causing serious bodily injury or death. Carrying a dangerous weapon in Massachusetts without a proper license is illegal and can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Firearms are considered dangerous weapons under Massachusetts law, and carrying them without a valid license is strictly prohibited. To legally carry a firearm or other dangerous weapon in Massachusetts, individuals must meet certain requirements, including completing a firearms safety course and obtaining a license from the state. It is important to understand these requirements to avoid illegal carrying charges.

Carrying Dangerous Weapons Without License

It is illegal to carry firearms or other dangerous weapons in Massachusetts without proper licensing. The state has strict laws regarding the possession and use of firearms, which are enforced by the authorities.

Individuals who are caught carrying firearms without a valid license can face severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. In addition to this, they may also lose their right to possess firearms permanently.

In order to obtain a license for carrying firearms in Massachusetts, individuals must meet certain requirements set by the state. These include completing a firearms safety course and passing background checks conducted by the authorities.

Requirements for Carrying Firearms

To legally carry firearms in Massachusetts, individuals must meet several requirements set by the state. These include:

  1. Completing A Firearms Safety Course: Individuals who wish to carry firearms must complete an approved safety course offered by licensed instructors. This course covers topics such as safe handling of guns, proper storage techniques for guns at home, etc.
  2. Passing Background Checks: Individuals who apply for licenses must pass background checks conducted by the authorities. This includes criminal history checks as well as mental health evaluations.
  3. Meeting Age Requirements: Applicants must be at least 21 years old to apply for licenses for carrying handguns in public places.
  4. Meeting Other Requirements: Applicants must meet other requirements set by the state, such as residency requirements, etc.

Penalties for Illegal Carrying of Firearms

Carrying firearms without a valid license in Massachusetts is illegal and can result in severe penalties. Individuals who are caught carrying firearms illegally can face fines of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to 2 years.

In addition to this, they may also lose their right to possess firearms permanently. Repeat offenders may face even more severe penalties.

Penalties for Unlicensed Carrying of a Firearm in Massachusetts

Unlicensed carrying of a firearm in Massachusetts is a serious offense that can result in severe penalties. The state has strict gun laws, and anyone caught carrying a firearm without the proper license will face legal consequences. In this section, we will discuss the penalties for unlicensed carrying of a firearm in Massachusetts.


One of the most severe penalties for unlicensed carrying of a firearm in Massachusetts is imprisonment. If you are caught with an unlicensed firearm, you could face up to 2 years in jail. However, if you are found guilty of possessing an unlicensed machine gun or sawed-off shotgun, you could face up to 10 years in prison.


In addition to imprisonment, fines are also imposed on individuals who carry firearms without proper licensing. For instance, if you are caught with an unlicensed firearm, you could be fined up to $5,000. However, if it is your second offense or more, the fine could increase significantly.

Loss of Right to Possess Firearms

Another consequence of being caught with an unlicensed firearm is losing your right to possess firearms altogether. This means that even after serving your sentence and paying any applicable fines; you may not be able to own or carry firearms again legally.

Factors Affecting Penalties

The severity of the penalty for unlicensed carrying of a firearm depends on several factors such as:

  • Type of Firearm: As mentioned earlier, possessing certain types of firearms such as machine guns or sawed-off shotguns can lead to more severe penalties.
  • Location: The location where the crime was committed also affects the penalty imposed on offenders. For example, if you were arrested near schools or other public places like parks or government buildings while carrying an unlicensed weapon would lead to harsher punishment.
  • Prior Convictions: If you have prior convictions related to firearms, your penalty will be more severe than those without any prior convictions.

Examples of Penalties for Unlicensed Carrying of a Firearm in Massachusetts

In 2019, a man was arrested and charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm in Boston. The individual had a loaded gun in his possession when he was stopped by the police. He was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

In another case, a man was caught with an unlicensed machine gun during a traffic stop. He had previous convictions related to firearms, which resulted in him being sentenced to ten years in prison.

Social Proofs on Gun Control Laws

Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. According to the Giffords Law Center, Massachusetts is one of only six states that require individuals who want to purchase firearms to obtain a license first. Additionally, the state also requires background checks for all firearm sales and transfers.

Statistics on Gun Control Laws

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Massachusetts has one of the lowest rates of gun-related deaths per capita compared to other states. In 2019, there were 230 firearm-related deaths in Massachusetts, which translates to approximately 3.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

Possession of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony in Massachusetts: Penalties and Consequences

Possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony is considered a serious offense in Massachusetts. The state has strict gun laws, and those who violate them are subject to severe penalties. Unlawful possession of a firearm in Massachusetts can result in fines, imprisonment, or both, depending on the severity of the violation.

Mandatory Sentencing Guidelines

If convicted of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, mandatory sentencing guidelines require a minimum of 18 months imprisonment in state prison. This means that even if there are mitigating circumstances surrounding the crime, such as no one was injured or killed, the defendant will still face jail time.

Fines for Firearms Violations

In addition to mandatory jail time, individuals convicted of firearms violations may also face fines up to $10,000. These fines are intended to be punitive and serve as an additional deterrent to those who might consider committing similar crimes.

Illegal Possession Penalties

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the violation, individuals may be sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment in a state correctional institution for illegal possession of a firearm. This is especially true for repeat offenders or those who have committed violent crimes with firearms.

The Impact on Felons’ Lives

The consequences of possessing firearms during felonies go beyond just legal penalties. A conviction can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life. It can make it difficult for them to find employment or housing and limit their ability to travel outside the country.

According to data from The Trace (a nonprofit news organization dedicated to increasing public awareness about gun violence), there were 266 homicides committed with firearms in Massachusetts between January 1st and December 31st, 2020 alone. Additionally, according to Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks incidents involving guns across America since 2013, there were 2,578 gun-related incidents in Massachusetts in 2020. These statistics highlight the importance of strict gun laws and the need to enforce them.

Exemptions for Nonresident Possession of Rifles, Shotguns, and Ammunition in MA

Nonresidents who wish to possess rifles and shotguns in Massachusetts must comply with all state and federal laws regarding firearms. They are required to undergo background checks and licensing requirements before they can legally own a firearm. However, there are exemptions for nonresident possession of rifles, shotguns, and ammunition in Massachusetts.

Lawful Purposes

Nonresidents can possess rifles and shotguns in Massachusetts for lawful purposes such as hunting or sporting events. They must have a valid hunting or sporting license issued by the state of their residence or any other state that has reciprocity agreements with Massachusetts. This license must be carried on their person at all times while possessing firearms in the state.

Prohibited Firearms

Nonresidents are prohibited from possessing certain types of firearms, such as assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. These weapons are defined by law as those that have specific features that make them more dangerous than other firearms. For example, an assault weapon is defined as a semi-automatic rifle or shotgun that has certain military-style features such as a pistol grip or detachable magazine.

Transportation Requirements

Nonresidents must transport their firearms in compliance with Massachusetts law. This includes keeping them unloaded and secured in a locked container during transportation. The container must be separate from the ammunition, which should also be stored securely.

Exceptions to Transportation Requirements

There are exceptions to these transportation requirements for nonresidents who are transporting their firearms through Massachusetts but not stopping within the state’s borders. In this case, the firearm may be transported without being unloaded or secured in a locked container.

Reciprocity Agreements

Massachusetts has reciprocity agreements with several states regarding nonresident possession of rifles, shotguns, and ammunition. These agreements allow nonresidents who possess valid licenses from their home states to hunt or participate in shooting sports within Massachusetts without having to obtain a separate license from the state.

Background Checks

Nonresidents who wish to purchase firearms in Massachusetts must undergo background checks. These checks are conducted by licensed firearms dealers and include a criminal history check, mental health evaluation, and review of any other factors that may disqualify the individual from owning a firearm.

Licensing Requirements

Nonresidents who wish to possess firearms in Massachusetts must obtain a nonresident firearms license. This license is issued by the Massachusetts State Police and requires completion of an approved safety course. The applicant must also provide proof of residency, undergo fingerprinting, and submit to a criminal background check.

Penalties for Noncompliance

Nonresidents who fail to comply with Massachusetts firearms laws can face serious penalties. These penalties can include fines, imprisonment, and revocation of their right to possess firearms in the state.

Federal Criminal Charges for Firearms Cases: What You Should Know

Federal firearms charges are serious offenses that can result in significant penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. These charges are typically brought against individuals who violate federal laws related to firearms, such as possessing a firearm as a convicted felon or trafficking firearms across state lines. If you are facing federal firearms charges, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the complex legal system and work to minimize your potential sentence.

Firearms Charges

Firearms crimes are taken very seriously by law enforcement officers and prosecutors alike. Federal law prohibits certain individuals from owning or possessing firearms altogether. This includes convicted felons, those with domestic violence convictions, those with mental health issues, and illegal aliens.

Additionally, there are specific federal laws that prohibit certain types of firearms offenses. For example, it is illegal under federal law to sell or transfer a firearm to someone who is not authorized to possess one. It is also illegal to use a firearm during the commission of another crime.


If you are charged with a federal firearms offense, you will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. The prosecution will have access to extensive resources and will be represented by skilled attorneys who have experience in handling these types of cases.

The prosecutor will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense in question. This may involve presenting evidence such as eyewitness testimony, physical evidence like fingerprints or DNA samples taken from the scene of the crime.

Minimum Sentence

Federal law provides for mandatory minimum sentences for certain types of firearms offenses. For example, if you are convicted of using a firearm during the commission of another crime (such as robbery), you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison.

It is important to note that these mandatory minimum sentences apply even if this is your first offense and even if no one was injured during the commission of the crime. This is why it is so important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who can work to minimize your potential sentence.


If you are facing federal firearms charges, you will be considered the defendant in the case. As the defendant, you have certain rights that must be protected throughout the legal process.

For example, you have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You also have the right to a fair trial by a jury of your peers. Additionally, you have the right to be represented by an attorney at all stages of the legal process.

Trial Court Law Libraries: Is Your Court Date Scheduled?

For anyone facing weapons charges in Massachusetts, Trial Court Law Libraries are a valuable resource. These libraries provide access to legal materials and resources that can help defendants better understand the laws and regulations surrounding their case. By consulting with a Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer or conducting research on their own, defendants can make more informed decisions about their case and potentially improve the outcome of their trial.

Legal Research

One of the primary benefits of Trial Court Law Libraries is the ability to conduct legal research. Defendants can use these resources to look up relevant laws, cases, and regulations related to their charges. This information can be invaluable when building a defense strategy or negotiating with prosecutors.

In addition to traditional legal materials like books and journals, many Trial Court Law Libraries also offer online databases and other digital resources. These tools allow defendants to quickly find information on specific topics or cases without having to sift through stacks of paper.

Court Dates

Another important function of Trial Court Law Libraries is providing information on court dates. Defendants can use these resources to find out when they need to appear in court, which judge will be presiding over their case, and other important details related to their trial.

By staying informed about upcoming court dates, defendants can ensure that they don’t miss any important deadlines or hearings. This can be critical for avoiding default judgments or other negative outcomes that could result from failing to show up in court.


Trial Court Law Libraries can also provide information on judges who may be hearing a defendant’s case. This includes details about the judge’s background, experience, and previous rulings related to similar cases.

By researching judges ahead of time, defendants can gain insight into how they might approach certain issues or arguments during the trial. This knowledge can help them tailor their defense strategy accordingly and potentially improve their chances of success in court.

Other Resources

In addition to legal research tools and information on court dates and judges, Trial Court Law Libraries may also offer other resources that can be useful for defendants. For example, some libraries provide access to legal aid organizations or pro bono lawyers who can assist with a defendant’s case.

Other resources may include information on alternative sentencing options, such as diversion programs or community service. By exploring these options, defendants may be able to avoid jail time or reduce their sentence if they are convicted.

How an Experienced Massachusetts Firearm Charge Defense Attorney Can Help You

Navigating the complex and ever-changing landscape of firearms laws in Massachusetts can be a daunting task. Whether you are facing charges related to possession, carrying, or use of a firearm, it is crucial to have an experienced Boston Criminal Defense Attorney on your side.

A skilled defense attorney will have years of experience defending clients against weapons charges in Massachusetts. They will know the ins and outs of the state’s gun control laws and regulations, as well as any recent changes or updates that could impact your case.

One of the most important ways an experienced defense attorney can help you is by crafting a strong defense strategy tailored specifically to your unique situation. This may involve exploring potential defenses such as self-defense, lack of knowledge or intent, or constitutional challenges to the law itself.

Additionally, a seasoned defense attorney will be able to advise you on whether accepting a plea bargain is in your best interest. They will be able to negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf and work towards securing the most favorable outcome possible for your case.

Of course, one major concern when seeking legal representation is cost. However, it’s important to remember that hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can actually save you money in the long run. A skilled Boston criminal lawyer may be able to get charges reduced or dropped altogether, potentially saving you from hefty fines and even jail time.

Ultimately, when facing weapons charges in Massachusetts, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is essential. With their expertise and guidance, you can rest assured that your rights are being protected and that you are doing everything possible to secure a positive outcome for your case.

So if you’re facing weapons charges in Massachusetts – don’t wait. Contact an experienced defense attorney today and start building your strongest possible defense strategy.