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Massachusetts Gun Ownership


To own a gun legally in Massachusetts, you must first have at a minimum a Firearms Identification card, also called an “FID,” permitting you to own firearms.  This permit is valid only in your home or place of business, and does not entitle you to carry a firearm on the street.  To carry a gun on the street, concealed or unconcealed, you must first apply for a License to Carry, or an “LTC.”  Carrying a gun on the street without such a license can be a huge deal--if you are caught carrying a gun without one, the mandatory minimum sentence for doing so is 18 months in jail.  In addition, there are additional penalties if the gun is large capacity and holds more than 10 rounds, and if the gun is loaded at the time of arrest.  You also need at least an FID to purchase, own or carry ammunition.  Without one, the stores won’t sell you ammunition. 

There are two classes of LTCs, Class A and Class B.  Class A is for large-capacity handguns, meaning pistols that hold more than 10 rounds.  Class B is for non-large capacity pistols, which is 10 rounds or less, as well as rifles and shotguns.  Either Class will permit the purchase, possession, and carrying of ammunition, rifles and shotguns.  To carry any firearm loaded and concealed on the street, however, you will need a Class A LTC.  There are no “classes” for FIDs, although you need at least a restricted FID to carry mace or pepper spray.

To obtain an FID or LTC, you need to apply for one at your local police department.  You need to file an application, along with documentation that you have completed a firearm safety course if you are seeking an LTC.  During the application process, the police department will conduct a background check, take your photo for the card, and fingerprint you. 

Only firearms approved by the Attorney General’s Office can be purchased in Massachusetts, or even sold to Massachusetts residents in other states. 

All firearms must be stored in a locked container or equipped with a barrel or trigger lock unless it is carried or under the direct control of the owner.  To transport a gun by car, it has to be unloaded and in a locked case unless it’s under the owner’s direct control and the owner has a Class A LTC.


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