Firearms License Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of firearms related frequently asked questions.

Table of Contents

Information Regarding LTC Restrictions After New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen

On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.  The case involved New York’s requirement that applicants demonstrate “proper cause” in order to obtain a permit to carry a firearm in most public places.  The Court held that New York’s “proper cause” requirement violated the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.  Although Bruen concerned a New York law, the Court specifically identified the “good reason” provision of a Massachusetts law, G.L. c. 140, § 131(d), as an analogue to New York’s “proper cause” requirement.

Based on this decision, any restrictions appearing on any license holder’s License to Carry (“LTC”)—limiting the license holder to carrying a firearm only for such activities as hunting, target shooting, employment, or the like—are no longer enforceable.  As a result, if your LTC has any such restrictions, those restrictions are no longer enforceable.  If you would like a new license issued to you to reflect this change before your renewal, you may contact your licensing authority.  Otherwise, when you reapply for an LTC in the future, you will be provided a new LTC without any such restrictions provided that the licensing authority does not deem you to be a “prohibited person” or “unsuitable” under the law.

If you have any questions, please contact the firearms licensing officer at the police department or agency that issued your LTC.

General

Q. I am a resident of Massachusetts. How do I obtain a firearms license?

A.  Licenses to carry firearms (LTC) and firearms identification (FID) cards are issued by the police department where you reside or have a place of business.  Additional information about the licensing process can be found HERE.

Q: Can a non-resident obtain a license to carry a firearms in Massachusetts?

A: Yes. The Firearms Records Bureau issues non-resident LTCs as the designee of the Colonel of the State Police.  Additional information about the licensing process can be found HERE.

Q: I am not a citizen of the United States.  Can I obtain a firearms license in Massachusetts?

A: Yes. Resident Aliens (green card holders) can apply for an LTC or FID card through their local police departments.  Individuals with any other type of immigration papers (such as student or work VISAs) can apply for a resident alien permit to possess non-large capacity rifles and shotguns through the Firearms Records Bureau.  Additional information about the licensing process can be found HERE.

Q: Is a firearms license required to possess an air gun (i.e. bb or pellet guns, so-called air rifles or air pistols, paint ball guns) or applicable ammunition (i.e. bb's, pellets, CO2 cartridges, paint balls)?

A: No firearms license is required to possess an air gun in Massachusetts. However, air guns are regulated by M.G.L. c. 269, §12B which limits their use by minors.  

Q: Do I need an FID Card or an LTC to possess a gun in my home?

A: Yes. At a minimum you need an FID Card for non-large capacity rifles and shotguns. For handguns or other large capacity weapons, you need an LTC.

Q: How can I obtain the status of my pending LTC or FID card application?

A: If you are a Massachusetts resident, you should contact the police department where you applied.  You can also call the DCJIS firearms license application hotline [make that a hyper link to page] at (617) 660-4722 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

If you are a non-resident or applied for a resident alien permit, call the Firearms Records Bureau at (617) 660-4782.

Q: How can I retrieve my personal identification (PIN) number?

A: You can contact your local firearms licensing officer, or the DCJIS PIN hotline at (617) 660-4722.  This service is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Name/Address Change

Q: I am changing my address. Who do I notify?

A: You must notify in writing the licensing authority that issued the license, the chief of police into the town where you are moving, and the Commissioner of the DCJIS. The notice must be made by certified mail within 30 days of its occurrence.  For your convenience, a change of address notification form is available HERE.
 

Q: How do I change my name on my firearms license?

A: You may request a name change through the licensing authority that issued the license.  You can also complete a name change form HERE and submit by mail or email to the DCJIS.

Transfers and Registrations

Q: How many guns a year can I sell or transfer privately?

A: Under M.G.L. c. 140, §128A, a properly licensed resident who is not a dealer may sell up to four guns in any one calendar year through a private transfer of ownership.  Certain exemptions apply in the event of an inheritance.
 

Q: How do I report a private sale or transfer of a firearm?

A: Massachusetts law requires all residents to report any private sale or transfer of a firearm via the Massachusetts Gun Transaction Portal either prior to, or at the time of the sale/transfer.

Q: How do I report a firearm that was acquired by a means other than through a private sale/transfer or a Massachusetts dealer?

A: Massachusetts law requires all residents who purchase or obtain a firearm by any means other than by a personal sale/transfer or through a Massachusetts firearms dealer to register the firearm within 7 days using the Massachusetts Gun Transaction Portal.  Inherited firearms may also be registered or transferred using the Portal.
 

Transporting Firearms

Q: How do I transport a gun in my vehicle?

A: A person with a Class "A" LTC may transport a handgun loaded or unloaded on his person or under his direct control in the vehicle. If the handgun is not under his direct control, it must be unloaded and in a locked case or other secure container, or secured with a trigger lock.

All persons transporting large capacity rifles and shotguns must transport them unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk or other secure container. Trigger locks do not meet the requirements of securing large capacity rifles or shotguns during transport in motor vehicle.

For more specific information see M.G.L. c. 140, §131C.
 

Q: Do I need to lock my non-large capacity rifles and shotguns in a case while transporting them in a vehicle?

A: No. They must be transported unloaded, but are not required to be in a locked case while transporting.
 

Q: Can I leave my gun in my car if I need to go into the store on my way home from the range or from hunting?

A: If your handgun or large capacity rifle or shotgun is transported in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 140, §131C (i.e. unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk or other secure container) then the gun may be left unattended in the vehicle. Weapons transported in this manner are considered "stored or kept" in compliance with the safe storage requirements of §131L.

A person leaving a non-large capacity rifle or shotgun in an unattended vehicle is required to lock the rifle or shotgun in a case/container or in the trunk, or install a mechanical locking device on the weapon (i.e. cable or trigger lock).

Q: I am a resident of another state, but do not have a Massachusetts non-resident LTC.  Can I travel through the state with my firearm?

A: Yes. Under federal law (Title 18 US Code, chapter 44, Section 926A), you may transport a firearm interstate provided that you may lawfully carry in the state of origin and in the state of destination.  It further requires that the weapon be unloaded and secured in a separate compartment.  Massachusetts law also further provides an exception for the transportation of rifles and shotguns in or through the Commonwealth, provided the weapon is unloaded and in a locked container.  Click HERE for information on how to apply for a non-resident LTC.

 

Q: Does Massachusetts recognize firearms licenses from other state?

A: No.  Massachusetts does not have reciprocity with any other states.

Possession of Firearms

Q: Can I possess a stun gun in Massachusetts?

A: Yes. However you must have a current LTC (FID card holders may not purchase or possess stun guns).

Q: Can I possess an assault weapon in Massachusetts?

A: Please refer to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Assault Weapon Ban enforcement page HERE 

Q: Can I possess a large capacity feeding device in Massachusetts?

A: Yes, provided the device was manufactured prior to September 13, 1994. A large capacity feeding device in Massachusetts is capable of accepting, or can be readily converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition or more than five shotgun shells. 

Q: Can I possess an antique or replica firearm in Massachusetts without a license?

A: Yes, provided it is not designed or redesigned to use conventional ammunition.

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