Massachusetts Gun Laws and Penalties

To legally possess or carry a handgun and certain large capacity weapons in Massachusetts, you must have a valid License to Carry (LTC); Class A or Class B. To lawfully possess a rifle, shotgun, certain munitions or chemical spray, you must have a valid FID card.

For a first offense of carrying a firearm without a license, you face mandatory minimum jail time of 18 months if convicted. You face severe penalties and felony charges for a second or subsequent offense of carrying a firearm without a license.

Purchasing Firearms

Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun control laws in the U.S. Purchasing a state-allowed firearm is a complex process and buyers must ensure they have all the necessary forms approved, including a permit to purchase the weapon and the related licensing.

The table below summarizes key gun laws in Massachusetts and the corresponding penalties for a violation.


Gun LawViolationFine / ImprisonmentFID / LTC Revocation
Purchase for Another

Give to Unlicensed Person

Felony$1,000 to  $50,000

2.5 years – 10yrs

2 years
Unlawful Sale to Aliens /MinorsFelony$1,000 to $10k  /     2.5yrs – 10 yrs10 years
Improper Storage – (other than large cap.)Misdemeanor$1k to $7,500 /

1.5 years

Improper Storage – Large CapacityFelony$2k to $15,000 /

1.5 yrs – 12 years

Possession While Under the InfluenceMisdemeanorUp to $5,000 /

Up to 2.5 years

Failure to Report Xfer, Loss or Theft3rd Offense, Ungraded$7,500 to $10k /

1 – 5 years

Making False Statements on ApplicationsMisd. 1st Offense

Felony  2nd +

$500 to $1,000 /
Up to 2 years

1.5 – 5 years

Carrying Without LicenseFelony 2nd + Offense2nd: Mandatory Minimum 5 years; Up to 7 years.


Gun Purchase Laws

You must be 18 years or older to purchase a rifle or shotgun in Massachusetts.

No one under 21 is permitted to buy a large capacity rifle or large capacity feeding device for such weapons.

Additionally, Massachusetts has become one of the first states to ban “bump stocks,” the ammunition-feeding devices which are used to turn rifles into machine guns, following the Las Vegas mass shooting.

Who Can Purchase & Possess Guns in Massachusetts

Anyone of legal age can apply for proper gun permits in Massachusetts, with the following exceptions:


Gun control laws in the state ban convicted felons from buying or possessing firearms. Certain serious misdemeanors (see below) and crimes involving guns, drugs or violence will also prevent lawful gun possession.

You cannot apply for an FID or LTC if there are any outstanding warrants against you in any state or federal jurisdiction.

Gun Laws and Mental Illness

The law does not allow anyone who has been hospitalized for a mental illness to apply for a permit unless they have a doctor’s note essentially giving medical clearance for them to safely own/possess a firearm.

The statute has the same requirements for those who have been hospitalized for substance or alcohol abuse treatment.

In addition to medical clearance, you must wait for 5 years after your discharge before you can apply for any firearms permits.

Gun Control and Domestic Violence

If you are convicted on a misdemeanor for a domestic violence crime under state or federal laws, you are prohibited from obtaining any gun permits in Massachusetts.

Carry / Possession Area Restrictions

It is prohibited to carry or possess any firearm on a college campus in Massachusetts. In addition to college / university restrictions, state and federal carry laws also ban firearms on school grounds or in school zones.

If you are charged with possession on/in/near university or school grounds, you face being convicted of a misdemeanor and up to 2 years in jail, or up to a $1,000 fine; or both fine and jail time.

If you are facing gun law charges in Massachusetts, you should consult with an experienced defense attorney to protect your freedoms and constitutional rights. You could be prosecuted in a state or federal court for certain offenses. Contact me to set up a free consultation as soon as possible.

Related Information:

Can You Buy a Gun if You Have a Medical Marijuana Card


Attorney Gregory Oberhauser

This post was written by .

Gregory Oberhauser is the ONLY attorney in Massachusetts to be distinguished as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the American Chemical Society!

Published .

Posted in: criminal