Understanding Firearms Licensing in Massachusetts
Agencies Involved in Firearms Licensing
Local Police Departments: They issue firearms licenses and provide necessary forms and guidance for the application.
Office of Public Safety's Firearms Records Bureau: This state agency offers resources and information about Massachusetts gun laws, including forms and applications.
Firearms License Class Categories
- License to Carry (LTC): Allows the possession, purchase, transport, and carrying of all large and non-large-capacity handguns, rifles, shotguns, and feeding devices, along with ammunition. It's the only license permitting the carrying of concealed handguns.
- Firearms Identification Card (FID): Allows the purchase, possession, and transport of non-large-capacity rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.
Application Process, Fees, and Renewals
- Where to Apply: Contact your local police department for forms and guidance.
- Age Requirements: LTC applicants must be 21 or older, while FID applicants must be 18 or older (or 14–17 with parental consent).
- Fees: LTC and FID cards cost $100.00 for adults and $25 for minors under 18. Both are valid for 6 years.
- Renewals: Submit a renewal request to your local police department before your current license expires.
- First-Time Applicants: Must complete a MA Certified Firearms Safety Course or a Basic Hunter Education Course.
- Courses Offered: Certified Firearms Safety Courses by independent instructors certified by the MA Department of State Police, and Basic Hunter Education Courses by the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
Transporting Firearms in Motor Vehicles
- Handguns (LTC Holders): Can be transported loaded or unloaded on the person or in a vehicle if directly controlled. Otherwise, they must be unloaded and secured.
- Large-Capacity Rifles and Shotguns: Must be transported unloaded and in a locked case, trunk, or secure container.
- Non-Large-Capacity Rifles and Shotguns: Must be transported unloaded, and while not required, locking cases are recommended.
Carrying Rifles and Shotguns on Public Ways While Hunting
- You may carry loaded or unloaded firearms if engaged in hunting with a valid hunting license, provided you maintain a safe distance from buildings and highways.
Storage of Firearms at Home
- All firearms must be stored in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or safety device, separate from ammunition.
- Non-residents with a valid MA non-resident hunting license can possess rifles, shotguns, and ammunition during hunting season without a firearms license.
- For transportation and purchase requirements, non-residents should consult specific Massachusetts guidelines or contact the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB) Firearms Support Services.
- Lawful permanent resident aliens may apply for a MA resident license to carry or firearms identification card.
- Non-resident aliens should contact CHSB Firearms Support Services for licensing information.
This information is provided as a public service by MassWildlife and is not intended as legal advice. For the most current and comprehensive laws, consult legal counsel or the relevant authorities.
Firearms licensing in Massachusetts is a detailed and regulated process aimed at ensuring responsible ownership and use. Whether you are a resident or non-resident, understanding and complying with these regulations is crucial for legal and safe firearm possession and use. Always consult with your local police department or legal counsel for the most accurate and up-to-date information.