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Massachusetts Gun Laws

Massachusetts gun laws operate on a “May Issue” policy leaving it to the discretion of the issuing officer as to wether or not a license to carry (LTC) will be issued. The LTC license is required to purchase any handgun, rifle, shotgun and ammunition.

The gun laws in Massachusetts are fairly restrictive with some issuing authorities requiring applicants to justify the need for a firearm. Non-residents of the state can also apply for a LTC license, however, they are required to obtain a temporary license before traveling to the state and their application must be submitted to the state police whereas residents apply at the local police station.

Quick Facts

TOTAL ACTIVE CCW
0
LICENSES IN MA
Gun Laws
STATE RATING
Poor
STATES THAT HONOR
0
MA LICENSE
CCW LICENSES
0
MA HONORS
STATES NOT
0
HONORING MA LICENSE

Massachusetts Reciprocity Map

Created with Raphaël 2.0.1ALAK AZ ARCACOCTDEDCFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPARISCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWY
Permit Honored
Permit not honored
Residential permits only
Issuing state

Massachusetts reciprocity guide for LTC licenses

Under Massachusetts state law any firearms license from another state will not be honored.

24
STATES

Resident Licences
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

Non-Resident Licences
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin

0
STATES

Massachusetts does not honor any other states firearms license.

13
STATES

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.

District
Washington D.C.

Overview of the New York pistol license

  • Issue policy – May Issue

  • Issued to – Residents & Non-Residents

  • License Fee – $100

  • License Valid – 6 years

The Massachusetts License to Carry (LTC) is required for the purchase, possession and carrying of any large capacity handgun, shotgun, rifle and large capacity feeding devices. For most jurisdictions the issuing authority is the local police chief who has the discretion to issue a licence on the applicants suitability or stated need. If a license is denied then a written explanation must be given, the applicant can then file an appeal within 90 days. If applicants pass a background check and complete a firearms training course they are mostly issued a license. However, the issuing authority can place restrictions on the license. Restrictions are more common closer to the bigger cities such as Boston whereas the more rural towns are more inclined to issue an unrestricted license. There are seperate forms for resident and non-resident applications which both differ slightly in the filing process.

Non-resident licenses are issued in Massachusetts however there are a few differences to a resident license.

  • All initial applications and must be made in person.
  • Non-resident licenses are only valid for 1 year.
  • You cannot make an application at local police stations. Instead all non-resident applications must be made at the Firearms Records Bureau in Chelsea.
  • You will need to book an appointment in advance of appearing for your license application.
  • An in person appearance at the firearms Records Bureau will only be required every 6 years for renewals. But you will still need to renew your license every year.

Restrictions
Non-resident licenses can have restrictions placed on them. This will depend on the information you supply in the application form.

  • NONE – the LTC is issued for all lawful purposes with no restrictions.
  • EMPLOYMENT – restricts possession to business owner engaged in business activities or to an employee while engaged in work related activities, and maintaining proficiency, where the employer requires carry of a firearm (i.e. armored car, security guard, etc.). Includes travel to and from activity location.
  • TARGET & HUNTING – restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; and for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns). Includes travel to and from activity location
  • SPORTING – restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns); and for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping, cross country skiing, or similar activities. Includes travel to and from activity location.
  • OTHER – Restrictions are based upon the information provided in the license application. Please ensure that you provide a detailed reason for requesting the issuance of a license in Massachusetts. Include information regarding how and where you intend to possess or use a firearm and your knowledge and training in Massachusetts firearms laws.

Any violation of these restrictions can result in the suspension or revocation of the license plus a $1,000 – $10,000 fine.

Non-resident LTC licenses are only issued to a non-resident, non-citizen for firearms competitions.

All applicants for a Massachusetts firearms license must have completed a certified firearms safety course or a basic hunter education course. A list of approved courses can be found at the highlighted link.

Once the course has been completed the instructor will issue a certificate which will need to be produced when you make the application for a firearms license.

Requirements to qualify for a Massachusetts LTC license

  • Must be a US citizen or legal alien
  • Minimum age of 21 or older
  • Must have completed a firearms training course.
  • Cannot be a convicted or adjucated delinquent child or Youthful offender.
  • Are not judged by a court to lack the mental capacity to manage your own affairs.
  • No outstanding warrants.
  • You must not have any outstanding warrants
  • You must not be subject to a current restraining order
  • Must not have a dishonourable discharge from the US armed forces.
  • Are not a fugitive from justice.
  • If you have been hospitalised for mental illness, drug or substance abuse you must submit an affidavit from a registered physician endorsing your ability to possess a firearm provided the hosilisation was more than 5 years ago.
  • Federal Law – Prohibits the following persons 

6 Years

$100

Non-resident licenses are issued in Massachusetts however there are a few differences to a resident license.

  • All initial applications and must be made in person.
  • Non-resident licenses are only valid for 1 year.
  • You cannot make an application at local police stations. Instead all non-resident applications must be made at the Firearms Records Bureau in Chelsea.
  • You will need to book an appointment in advance of appearing for your license application.
  • An in person appearance at the firearms Records Bureau will only be required every 6 years for renewals. But you will still need to renew your license every year.

Restrictions
Non-resident licenses can have restrictions placed on them. This will depend on the information you supply in the application form.

  • NONE – the LTC is issued for all lawful purposes with no restrictions.
  • EMPLOYMENT – restricts possession to business owner engaged in business activities or to an employee while engaged in work related activities, and maintaining proficiency, where the employer requires carry of a firearm (i.e. armored car, security guard, etc.). Includes travel to and from activity location.
  • TARGET & HUNTING – restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; and for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns). Includes travel to and from activity location
  • SPORTING – restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns); and for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping, cross country skiing, or similar activities. Includes travel to and from activity location.
  • OTHER – Restrictions are based upon the information provided in the license application. Please ensure that you provide a detailed reason for requesting the issuance of a license in Massachusetts. Include information regarding how and where you intend to possess or use a firearm and your knowledge and training in Massachusetts firearms laws.

Any violation of these restrictions can result in the suspension or revocation of the license plus a $1,000 – $10,000 fine.

Non-resident LTC licenses are only issued to a non-resident, non-citizen for firearms competitions.

Class A license – entitles the holder to purchase, rent, lease, borrow, possess and carry:

  • Firearms, including large capacity firearms, and feeding devices and ammunition, for all lawful purposes, subject to such restrictions the licensing authority deems proper; and
  • Rifles and shotguns, including large capacity weapons, and feeding devices and ammunition, for all lawful purposes; provided, however, that the licensing authority may impose restrictions as it deems proper.

Class B license – entitles a holder thereof to purchase, rent, lease, borrow, possess and carry:

  • Non-large capacity firearms and feeding devices and ammunition, for all lawful purposes, subject to such restrictions the licensing authority deems proper; provided, (a Class B license shall not entitle the holder to carry or possess a loaded firearm in a concealed manner in any public way or place or to possess a large capacity firearm, except under a Class A club license or under the direct supervision of a holder of a valid Class A license at an incorporated shooting club or licensed shooting range); and
  • Rifles and shotguns, including large capacity rifles and shotguns, and feeding devices and ammunition, for all lawful purposes; provided, however, that the licensing authority may impose such restrictions as it deems proper.

Under Massachusetts law you must report any change of address within 30 days. You can download the Change of Address Form and then mail a copy to the following;

  • Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.
  • The Chief of Police in the town that you moved to.
  • The licensing authority that issued the firearms license.

If you need further information there is an Address Change hotline at (617) 660-4722.

You will need to contact the authority that issued your firearms license.

How to apply for a Massachusetts LTC license

Follow these steps to obtain a permit;

Residents

  1. You will need to complete a firearms training course.
  2. Download the Residents Application in the forms section of this page.
  3. You will need to submit:
    • A complete resident firearms license application
    • The required application fee
    • A Massachusetts Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate
    • A form of identification
  4. You may need to submit:
    • Proof of residence
  5. You will then need to submit the application to the local police station in your town of residence.
  6. You will be notified within 40 days by mail if your application has been approved or denied.

Non-Residents

  1. You will need to complete a firearms training course.
  2. Download the Non-Residents Application in the forms section of this page.
  3. You will need:
    • A complete non-resident firearms license resident alien permit application.
    • The required application fee
    • A Massachusetts Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate
  4. You may need:
    • An in-person appearance
    • A visa or copy of immigration card
  5. Non-Residents will need to submit their application to the firearms Record bureau.

How to renew your Massachusetts LTC license

The renewal process in Massachusetts differs for residents and non-residents.

Resident Licence

  • Licence renewals for residents are processed through the local police station in the town you reside in.
  • The renewal process can take up to 60 days.
  • The licensing authority will conduct a federal and state background check, a finger print check and a check with the Department of Mental Health.
  • If you wish to qualify for a grace period you will need to submit a renewal application before the expiration date of your license.

Non-Resident License / Resident alien permit

  • To renew a non-resident license or resident alien permit you will need to submit your application to the Firearms Records Bureau.
  • The licensing authority will conduct a federal and state background check, a finger print check and a check with the Department of Mental Health.
  • There are no grace periods for Non-resident firearms licenses or resident alien permits.
  • All non-resident firearms licenses will expire 12 months from the date they are issued.

Renewal applications can be made in person or by mail for resident licenses, however, non-resident licenses can only be renewed via mail.

Mailing Address

Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
Firearms Records Bureau
200 Arlington St, Suite 2200
Chelsea, MA 02150

Status Check
If you wish to check on the current status of your renewal application you can call the number below. You will need tp have ready your full name, date of birth and drivers license number.

STATUS CHECK (617) 660-4722

Schedule of fee's for a Massachusetts LTC license

 

Application ConditionsOriginalRenewal
License to carry firearms$100$100
Resident alien permit$100$100
License to carry firearms (retired law enforcement officers)$25$25
Firearms Identification card$100$100
Firearms Identification card (if under 18 years old)$25$25
Non-Resident firearms license$100$100

Essential forms for a Massachusetts LTC license

All the forms you need for a Massachusetts handgun license can be found here.

Off-limit places in Massachusetts for carrying a firearm

Off-limits

  • Courthouses
  • Elementary or secondary school, college or university
  • Airports
  • Logan Airport security zone
  • When using off highway vehicle such as snowmobile
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law. 

Places Allowed

  • State parks
  • State and national forests
  • Road side rest areas
  • Vehicle
  • All areas of the state – except those listed as off-limits
  •  

Massachusetts gun laws & statutes

Massachusetts state capitol building

All the most important Massachusetts gun laws you should be aware of are listed below. Make yourself familiar with these laws before you carry a firearm.

Summary table

SubjectHandgunsLong GunsNotes
Concealed carry permit requiredYesNoPolicy is May Issue.
Purchase permit requiredYesYesCarry permit or FID (firearm identification) required.
Registration of firearmNoNo 
Open carry allowedYesNoPermit required to open carry handguns. Open carry of long guns is illegal except when hunting.
Background checks on private gun sales requiredYesYesSeller is required to verify the purchasers FID card.
Magazine size restrictionYesYesMust not exceed 10 rounds.
Red flag lawYesYesFirearms can be temporarily confiscated.
Owner license requiredYesYesFID license required.

Massachusetts gun laws you need to know

NO

The law states it is illegal to carry a loaded firearm of any type in a vehicle without a firearms license. If you have a Massachusetts LTC license then you can carry a loaded or unloaded handgun in a vehicle if the weapon is under your direct control. Transporting Firearms

  • With LTC – This allows you to transport handguns in a motor vehicle, the handgun can be loaded or unloaded. There is no requirement for the handgun to be secured in a locked case or trunk.
  • Large Capacity Shotguns or Rifles – Even with a LTC license these weapons must be unloaded and secured in a locked container or the trunk of a motor vehicle.

All shotguns and rifles must be unloaded when on or in a motor vehicle and large capacity firearms must be in a secured container.

Large Capacity weapon definition 

  • Any semi-automatic rifle or handgun that can accept a feeding device that holds more than 10 rounds.
  • A shotgun that accepts more than 5 shotgun shells.
  • An assault weapon
NO

Without a LTC licence you certainly cannot open carry in Massachusetts. However, there is no law in Massachusetts that bans open carry if you have a LTC license. There was a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that stated a LTC licence cannot be revoked if the person carrying the firearm causes alarm to other persons. Be aware though that open carry is not common in Massachusetts and is bound to draw unwanted attention and no doubt a few questions from the police.

So technically open carry is allowed by the absence of any law banning it and the Supreme Court ruling. But not advisable in this restrictive state unless you want to be a test case.

NO

There is nothing in Massachusetts gun laws that state you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. The law does require you to carry your permit at all times during which the permittee is in actual possession of a concealed handgun and produce the license if requested to do so by law enforcement.

Part I. Title XX. Chpt. 140 – Notification to police of gun

YES

It is legal to carry in the following areas;

State Parks:    YES  – 302 CMR 12.04
State/National Forests:    YES
State Game Management Units:    YES – 321 CMR 3.01
Road Side Rest Areas:   YES

NO

“No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in Massachusetts gun laws. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. They have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned in the law as being off limits.

GunsToCarry recommends that you do not enter a property displaying a “No Weapons” sign whether the law is for or against signage. If asked to leave a property and you refuse to do so then you are breaking the law and put yourself at risk of being charged.

YES

“Yes” or “No” states if you can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some restaurants may be posted with “NO GUN” signs. Check with the staff if this means just the bar area. If we have indicated a “Yes” then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.

NO

There is no constitutional carry in Massachusetts.

“The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature, and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.”
(PT. 1, ART. 17)

Off-limit statutes

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, as a matter of public safety and security, there is hereby created a security zone bordering the General Edward Lawrence Logan Airport that shall include the area between the mean high water line of said airport and a line measured 500 feet seaward of and parallel to said mean high water line from Wood Island Basin to the easterly end of Jeffries Cove as shown on a plan entitled “Plan of General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport Security Zone” prepared by Massachusetts Port Authority Capital Programs Department, April 2002.

(b) No person, except authorized law enforcement or military personnel and authorized personnel of the authority, shall: (1) carry or otherwise possess a firearm, rifle, shotgun, assault weapon, ammunition, explosive device or material, or any hoax device as defined by section 102A1/2 of chapter 266, within said security zone; (2) engage in any activity within said security zone that jeopardizes or may jeopardize the safety or security of any person or of the airport; or . . .

(a) No person carrying a loaded firearm under a Class A license issued under section 131 or 131F shall carry the same in a vehicle unless such firearm while carried therein is under the direct control of such person. Whoever violates the provisions of this subsection shall be punished by a fine of $500.

(1) No person except federal or state law enforcement officers, United States Postal Service, United States Customs and Border Patrol, Air Carrier employees approved by the TSA, members of the Armed Forces of the United States and Massachusetts National Guard on official duty and licensed armored truck service guards with the prior approval of the Authority, who are authorized and validly licensed to carry Firearms, ammunition and explosives in Massachusetts, shall carry loaded or otherwise operational Firearms or explosives on the Airport.

Hunting is allowed within Mount Greylock State Reservation with appropriate license(s) and/or permit(s) in season, from Columbus Day (October) through May 20. Hikers and pets on leash are recommended to wear blaze orange in a conspicuous manner during the hunting season. No Hunting or firearms are permitted within the War Memorial Park, a 0.75 mile radius from the War Memorial Tower.

If you are catching ferries to any of the above places you will need a LTC license and follow the conditions set by the ferries.

Other CCW statutes

(u) (6th Paragraph) Any person who, while not being within the limits of his own property or residence, or such person whose property or residence is under lawful search, and who is not exempt under this section, shall on demand of a police officer or other law enforcement officer, exhibit his license to carry firearms, or his firearm identification card or receipt for fee paid for such card, or, after January first, nineteen hundred and seventy, exhibit a valid hunting license issued to him which shall bear the number officially inscribed of such license to carry or card if any. Upon failure to do so such person may be required to surrender to such officer said firearm, rifle or shotgun which shall be taken into custody as under the provisions of section one hundred and twenty-nine D, except that such firearm, rifle or shotgun shall be returned forthwith upon presentation within thirty days of said license to carry firearms, firearm identification card or receipt for fee paid for such card or hunting license as hereinbefore described. Any person subject to the conditions of this paragraph may, even though no firearm, rifle or shotgun was surrendered, be required to produce within thirty days said license to carry firearms, firearm identification card or receipt for fee paid for such card, or said hunting license, failing which the conditions of section one hundred and twenty-nine D will apply. Nothing in this section shall prevent any person from being prosecuted for any violation of this chapter

Any city or town may, by the adoption, amendment or repeal of local ordinances or by-laws, exercise any power or function which the general court has power to confer upon it, which is not inconsistent with the constitution or laws enacted by the general court in conformity with powers reserved to the general court by section 8 of Article LXXXIX of the Amendments to the Constitution and which is not denied, either expressly or by clear implication, to the city or town by its charter. Whenever appropriations, appointments, orders, regulations or other legislative or executive actions within the scope of any such ordinance or by-law are necessary in the exercise of any power or function authorized by such ordinance or by-law, any such actions which are to be taken by a city council or town meeting may be taken by ordinance, by-law, resolution, order or vote, and any such actions which are to be taken by executive officers may be taken in any appropriate manner, subject, however, as to both such categories, to all provisions of the ordinance or by-law in question, the city or town charter, and other applicable law. Any requirement that an ordinance or by-law be entitled as such, or that it contain the word ”ordained,” ”enacted” or words of similar import shall not affect the validity of any action which is required to be taken by ordinance or by-law. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit any city or town, by ordinance or by-law, to exercise any power or function which is inconsistent with any general law enacted by the general court before November eighth, nineteen hundred and sixty-six which applies alike to all cities, or to all towns, or to all cities and towns, or to a class of not fewer than two. No exercise of a power or function denied to the city or town, expressly or by clear implication, by special laws having the force of a charter under section nine of said Article, and no change in the composition, mode of election or appointment, or terms of office of the legislative body, the mayor or city manager or the board of selectmen or town manager, may be accomplished by by-law or ordinance. Such special laws may be made inapplicable, and such changes may be accomplished, only under procedures for the adoption, revision or amendment of a charter under this chapter.

The sale, offering for sale, transfer or possession of large capacity feeding devices for assault weapons (as defined under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 121), is prohibited unless such device was lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. Ch. 140, § 131M. Under Massachusetts law, a “large capacity feeding device” is defined as: “(i) 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; or (ii) a large capacity ammunition feeding device as defined in the federal Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(31) as appearing in such section on September 13, 1994.” Ch. 140, § 121. This does not include “an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber ammunition.” Id. Large capacity feeding devices designed for large capacity rifles and shotguns may be lawfully possessed by a holder of an LTC. Ch. 140, § 131(a), (b)(ii). Large capacity feeding devices designed for handguns may be possessed only by persons holding an LTC. Ch. 140, § 131(a). The Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety (“Secretary”) is required to compile and publish a roster of large capacity handguns, rifles, shotguns and feeding devices for those firearms, as those weapons and devices are defined in Ch. 140, § 121. Ch. 140, § 131 3/4. The Secretary may amend the roster upon his or her own initiative, upon the initiative of the Gun Control Advisory Board under Ch. 140, § 131 1/2, or upon the petition of any person seeking to place a weapon on or remove a weapon from the roster. Ch. 140, § 131 3/4.

Massachusetts licensing offices

Firearms Records Bureau

Hours


Monday – Friday    8am – 5pm

Saturday                  Closed

Sunday                    Closed

Contact


Address    200 Arlington St.

City            Chelsea, MA 02150

Phone      (617) 660-4782

Frequently asked questions on Massachusetts gun laws

That depends if you are a resident or non-resident of Massachusetts.

Residents – Licenses are issued by the police station in your town of residence.

Non-Residents – Licenses are issued by the Firearms Records Bureau in Chelsea.

40 Days
New applications for a LTC license are required to be processed within 40 days.

You need to notify the issuing authority, chief of police and the commissioner of the Department of CriminalJustice Information Services within 30 days if you move to a new address. Failure to do so can result in your license being revoked.

You can ask for your convictions to be reviewed by the Firearms Licensing review Board. You will need to submit the following Petition For Review form for a review.

No, training is only required for the initial application for a LTC License.

  • License to Carry (class A)
  • FID (class C)
  • Restricted or license to possess a machine gun (class E)

The class B license no longer exists.

You must be at least 21 years old.

You have 90 days to file an appeal for judicial review in a District Court.

You will need to inform the OSBI in written form (email, letter or fax) within 60 days that you intend to appeal the decision to not issue you an SDA License.

There is no charge to replace a lost or stolen license. You will need to reoprt the lost license to the local issuing authority and the Criminal History Systems Board.

You cannot conceal or open carry in MA. However, you can use the Federal FOPA to travel in or through the state to take part in a competition, meeting, exhibition or hunting.

You must be a USA citizen and have a license to carry in your home state.

The firearm must be unloaded and locked in a case.

Any transfer of handgun, shotgun or rifle must be reported via form FA-10 to the state.