Firearms and feeding devices for firearms are divided into classes. Depending on the class, a firearm identification card (FID or “card”), class A license or class B license is required to possess, purchase, or carry a firearm, ammunition therefor, or firearm feeding device, or “large capacity feeding device.”1 One’s home or place of business is not exempt from the FID or class A or B license requirements. READ ALL
A FID2 authorizes a person to possess, purchase, or carry only a non large capacity rifle or shotgun and feeding devices and ammunition therefor. The card “shall be issued” by the police chief to a person residing or having a place of business within his jurisdiction, unless the applicant has:
- a disqualifying conviction or juvenile adjudication;
- been confined for mental illness or confined or treated for drug addiction or drunkenness;
- is a fugitive;
- is subject to a domestic protective order;
- is an alien;
- is under 15 or is more than 15 and less than 18 and does not have parental or guardian permission.
The licensing authority may not prescribe any other condition for the issuance of the card. The colonel of the state police is the issuing authority where a local issuing authority does not exist. The card shall be issued or denied within 40 days of application.
A card holder may possess any large capacity firearm (handgun, rifle, or shotgun) at a gun club to which a class A license has been issued or under the direct supervision of a class A license holder at an incorporated shooting club or licensed shooting range.
A card holder may also possess a non-large capacity handgun or a large capacity rifle or shotgun at a gun club to which a class A license has been issued or under the direct supervision of a class A or B license holder at an incorporated shooting club or licensed shooting range.
A Class A carry license is required to possess, purchase, or carry any large capacity firearm (handgun, rifle, or shotgun), large capacity ammunition feeding devices therefor, and ammunition therefor. The license “may” be issued by the same issuing authority as for a card to a person at least 21 who is eligible for a card and demonstrates he is a “suitable person” and “has good reason to fear injury to his person or property, or for any other reason, including...sport or target practice only.” Restrictions may be placed on the license.
A Class B carry license entitles the licensee to possess, purchase or carry any non-large capacity handgun, and any large or non-large capacity rifle or shotgun, and feeding devices and ammunition therefor. A class B carry license also entitles the licensee to possess a large-capacity handgun under a class A club license or the direct supervision of a class A license holder at an incorporated shooting club or licensed shooting range. The requirements for the license are the same as for a class A license. Restrictions may be placed on the license. As in a class A license, the class B license shall be issued or denied within 40 days of application.
Either a class A or B license shall be valid to possess, purchase, or transfer non-large capacity rifles and shotguns.
Applicants for a card or license must be fingerprinted. An applicant who did not have a card or license on June 1, 1998, must submit a basic firearms safety certificate approved by the colonel of state police. The card or license is valid for not more than 6 years; the fee and renewal fee is $100; notification of a change of address must be made by certified mail within 30 days of its occurrence to the licensing authority, police chief at the new address, and the executive director of the criminal history systems board. An applicant for or holder of a card or license may obtain judicial review by filing in district court within 90 days of a denial, revocation, suspension, or failure to act.
The colonel of state police “may” issue a class A or B temporary license to a resident, a nonresident, or an alien for purposes of competition and subject to terms and conditions placed on the license. The license is valid for 1 year and the fee is $100.
Any person who inherits a rifle, shotgun or handgun is required to obtain a FID or license to carry within 180 days if he intends to retain possession of the firearm.
Exemptions from the FID and licensing requirements:
- The temporary holding or firing of a handgun under the supervision of a person with a license to carry, or the holding or firing of a rifle or shotgun under the supervision of a person with a FID or “where such holding or firing is for a lawful purpose”.
- The use of a rifle or shotgun for hunting or target shooting by a minor under the age of 15, provided he is under the immediate supervision of a person holding a FID or a license to carry.
- Possession by a chartered veterans organization and possession by their members when on ceremonial duties.
- Possession by museums, historical societies and institutional collections open to the public, provided such firearms are unloaded and secured.
- Possession by federally-licensed manufacturers and dealers and their employees when necessary for manufacture, display, storage or testing.
- Possession by new residents of Massachusetts, residents returning after absences of less than 180 consecutive days, or residents being released from active duty in the armed forces, for sixty days after release, return or entry. However, this exception applies only to firearms in the individual’s possession at the time of release, return or entry. A person may possess but not carry during this 60 day period.