Massachusetts Gun Laws
Subject/LawLong GunsHandgunsRelevant StatutesNotes
State permit required to purchase?YesYesMA Ch. 140 Sec. 129CFirearm Identification (FID) or license to carry required. Permits/FID cards are issued by local police departments. Some issuing authorities (notably Boston) have required an applicant to justify the need for a firearm, and have denied purchase permits/FID cards based on insufficient justification of need. The discretionary issue of purchase permits/FID cards is currently being challenged in the state courts.
Firearm registration?NoNoAlthough registration is not specifically required by law, transfers of firearm ownership are required to be recorded with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS): by the seller if in state, or by the buyer if out of state. The Massachusetts EOPSS also provides the option to register a firearm, although, other than obtaining a firearm from out of state (a transfer of ownership), this is not required by law.
Owner license required?YesYesMA Ch. 140 Sec. 129CFirearm Identification (FID) or license to carry required.
License required for concealed carry?YesYesMA Ch. 140 Sec. 131Massachusetts is a “may issue” state for carry; the issuing authority must provide written explanation for the denial of any application, which is subject to appeal. The issuing authority is the local police chief for most jurisdictions, who has discretion in issuing carry licenses based on an applicant’s suitability and stated need. In most jurisdictions, applicants who pass a background check and complete required training are issued licenses, but the issuing authority may impose varying degrees of restriction on the license (e.g., hunting, carry to/from a range, firearms dealer, or gunsmith, only while on-duty (for security professionals), etc.). Towns closer to large cities (like Boston) are de facto restricted, whereas more rural (and some suburban) towns are more inclined to issue unrestricted licenses. Permits are valid statewide, provided the license-holder complies with restrictions (if any) imposed by the issuing authority.
License required for open carry?YesYesAn individual with a Class A unrestricted license to carry firearms (LTC-A) does not have to conceal a handgun or long gun in public. Moreover, in 2013, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the holder of a LTC-A license is not responsible for alarm caused by licensed carry of a handgun, and that a permit cannot be revoked for suitability purposes under these circumstances.[76] If police demand to see the permit, it must be produced, per G.L. c. 140, § 129 (c). Failure to produce a LTC upon demand by law enforcement is probable cause for arrest.
State preemption of local restrictions?NoNoThere is limited preemption for some laws.
Assault weapon law?YesYesA two point “banned features” system is what defines an assault weapon. These assault weapons are prohibited unless lawfully owned on or prior to September 13, 1994. Firearms that do not have two or more “banned features” are legal to purchase with an LTC or in some cases a standard FID so long as magazine restrictions are followed to what your license allows.
Magazine Capacity Restriction?YesYesMA Ch. 140 Sec. 121Illegal to possess magazines of over 10 rounds capacity. Pre-ban magazines manufactured before September 13, 1994 are exempt from this restriction.
NFA weapons restricted?YesYesMA Ch. 140 Sec. 131Suppressors are restricted only for law enforcement or licensed manufacturers. Some destructive devices are banned at the state level, while others are banned at a local level. DD’s can be completely illegal or legal depending on what town you live in. SBR’s, SBS’s, and AOW’s are allowed with proper approval from the ATF. A machine gun license is required to possess a machine gun.
Background checks required for private sales?YesYesMA Ch. 140 Sec. 128AThe seller must verify the buyer’s Firearm Identification Card with the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.
Red flag law?YesYesA judge may issue an order to temporarily confiscate the firearms of a person who appears to be at risk of harming themselves or another person.

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