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Massachusetts Gun Laws

Massachusetts Gun Laws



Over the past ten years, Massachusetts’ gun laws have undergone significant changes, reflecting the state’s commitment to responsible firearm ownership and public safety. From background checks to firearm storage, these developments aim to strike a balance between Second Amendment rights and community security. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the key advancements in Massachusetts’ gun laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, presented in bullet points:

2013 – Firearm Purchase Background Checks:

   – Massachusetts enacts stringent laws requiring background checks for all firearm purchases, including private sales and transactions at gun shows.

2014 – Enhanced Reporting of Mental Health Records:

   – Massachusetts improves the reporting of mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to prevent firearm access by prohibited individuals.

2015 – Assault Weapon Ban Strengthening:

   – Legislation is introduced to further enhance Massachusetts’ existing ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, with a focus on community safety.

2016 – Firearm Storage Mandate:

   – Massachusetts introduces regulations mandating secure firearm storage to prevent unauthorized access, particularly in households with minors.

2017 – Ammunition Purchase Restrictions:

   – Legislation is enacted to regulate ammunition sales, requiring individuals to obtain a firearms identification card to purchase ammunition.

2018 – “Red Flag” Law Enactment:

   – Massachusetts implements “red flag” laws, allowing law enforcement and family members to seek temporary firearm removal for individuals showing signs of danger.

2019 – Enhanced Background Checks for All Firearm Transfers:

   – The state further tightens the background check process for all firearm transfers, ensuring comprehensive scrutiny of potential buyers.

2020 – Firearm Purchase Waiting Period Extension:

   – Massachusetts extends the mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases, providing additional time for background checks and evaluations.

2021 – Enhanced Penalties for Gun Crimes:

   – Legislation is introduced to impose stricter penalties for individuals convicted of gun-related crimes, aiming to deter illegal firearm use.

2022 – Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms:

    – Massachusetts introduces regulations requiring reporting lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement, aiming to prevent potential diversion to illegal markets.

2022 – Firearm Training Requirements for Concealed Carry:

    – Proposed legislation aims to enhance firearm training requirements for concealed carry permit applicants, emphasizing responsible gun ownership and firearm handling skills.

2023 – School Safety Legislation:

    – Massachusetts explores legislation to enhance school safety by permitting certain school staff to carry concealed firearms on school grounds, subject to proper training.

2023 – “Red Flag” Law Review:

    – Massachusetts reviews its “red flag” laws to assess their effectiveness and consider potential refinements in implementation.

2023 – Enhanced Reporting of Mental Health Records:

    – Massachusetts continues to enhance the reporting of mental health records to NICS to ensure the prevention of firearm access by prohibited individuals.

Massachusetts’ gun laws have evolved significantly over the past decade, reflecting the state’s dedication to responsible firearm ownership and community safety. From background check enhancements to discussions on “red flag” laws and the strengthening of assault weapon bans, these changes underscore Massachusetts’ proactive approach to firearm regulation. As the state continues to adapt its laws, it remains crucial for stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens to engage in informed discussions that balance individual rights with the security of the community.

Comparatively speaking, gun control in Massachusetts is among the most comprehensive and strict. Percentage wise (population divided by murders) violent crimes in Massachusetts is among the lowest in the nation. Similar to Maryland, Massachusetts gun laws are strong in regards to permits and restrictions on dealers, but lack in background checks for prospective purchasers. The permit and license requirements are incredibly complex and must be analyzed in depth.

Gun control in Massachusetts is strong because of the requirements necessary to purchase a license and permit. Fingerprinting, safety training, testing, waiting periods, and law enforcement are involved in the process of obtaining a permit. Permits are required to both purchase and carry all classes of firearms in the state. Procedures revolving licenses are much more complex.

There are a total of 5 licenses one can receive in Massachusetts. An RFID, which is a restricted license only permits the individual to carry mace or pepper spray; an FID, which allows only long rifles, mace, and pepper spray; a Class B license which only permits the purchase of long rifles and hand guns with small chambers (no more than 10 rounds.) Concealment of weapons is not allowed with a Class B license.

Class A licenses allow for an individual to purchase any legal fire arm in the state of Massachusetts with concealment privileges granted. The 5th license, according to Massachusetts law on guns, is only issued for automatic weapons and can only be obtained if a law enforcement position is held.

A license of ownership must be present at the time of application or purchase. Class A and B carrying licenses take 30 days to process and require the individual to be at least 21 years of age. All weapons and firearms licenses require applications, fees, interviews, and fingerprints to be conducted at the jurisdiction’s local police department. The integration of law enforcement in the license process makes Massachusetts gun control unique and rigorous.

Massachusetts gun laws are perhaps most rigorous for gun dealers. To curb firearm trafficking and the sale of illegal firearms, the state has adopted the harshest laws for gun stores in the nation. The more strict that laws are for the supplier, the harder it is for the buyer to purchase. A simple equation, a dealer must be licensed, keep records, communicate with the state, allow police inspections, and follow numerous security precautions to be considered a legally licensed dealer.

Although the gun control laws are cohesive in Massachusetts, there are limited regulations on background checks. A license and permit require waiting periods and law enforcement participation, but the application itself is not extensive.

Massachusetts gun control laws rank as the 4th toughest in America, but significant points were lost in the Brady scorecard based on the absence of a universal background check for the purchase of any firearm. A total of 17 points are removed from their total score. Under the same umbrella, there is no ballistic fingerprinting or micro stamping required on weapons that were used during crimes.

Perhaps nitpicking an otherwise complex stance-gun control in Massachusetts has greatly combated the issue of illegal guns. Massachusetts gun regulations are a testament to how the state operates. Considered a revolutionary government for the union, Massachusetts has greatly advanced gun control into the next phase of regulation and restriction.