The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives Americans the right to own guns, or bear arms. Each state then has the right to regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the Massachusetts requirements for gun ownership, possession, and use as well as what the most common firearm charges are in our state. 

Firearm in a hand

Massachusetts Firearm Licensing Class Categories 

Massachusetts residents 15 years and older who wish to possess, carry, and transport firearms, ammunition, and feeding devices are required to have a firearms license. Firearms licenses are issued by municipal police departments.

Massachusetts gun laws are often viewed as some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the country. 

According to, to legally possess any gun, you need a Firearm Identification Card (FID). And to carry a handgun, you need a License to Carry (LTC). However, obtaining an FID or LTC is a burdensome process. 

  • License to Carry (LTC): Permits the purchase, possession, transportation, and carrying of all large- and non-large-capacity handguns, rifles, shotguns, and feeding devices, as well as ammunition. This is the only license that allows the carrying of concealed handguns-either loaded or unloaded.
  • Firearms Identification Card (FID): Permits the purchase, possession, and transportation of non-large-capacity rifles, shotguns, and ammunition. (Source: 

Even if you have a license, there are still restrictions on your ability to carry a weapon in public. Massachusetts gun laws can be complicated and confusing if you don’t understand the types of guns and the licenses needed to operate and carry them. 

Understanding Firearm Charges in Massachusetts 

The most common firearm charge in the state of Massachusetts is unlawfully carrying a firearm. 

Prosecutors often charge this crime in certain circumstances including possession of a firearm without the required license; carrying a gun in a prohibited place; possession of a machine gun; and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.

There are several groups of people who are ineligible for the firearm licenses mentioned above. These include people who …

  • Are Convicted felons
  • Hold Misdemeanor convictions over two years
  • Were convicted of a violent crime
  • Have a previous gun crime conviction that resulted in incarceration
  • Have a drug offense on record
  • Have been convicted of a domestic violence offense
  • Have an arrest warrant from any state
  • Were dishonorably discharged from the military

Anyone in these groups found to possess a firearm can be charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm. 

If you are discovered with a gun and you are not properly licensed, you may be charged with carrying a firearm without a license under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10(a), which carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 18 months in jail. 

It is important to fight these charges right from the start to avoid that minimum mandatory jail time. Call the Law Office of Patrick Conway for more information and legal counsel.