Laws and Requirements for Conceal Carrying in Massachusetts
Since 1998, access to firearms has been strictly controlled in the State of Massachusetts. In an effort to keep citizens safe from careless or reckless gun use, the Gun Control Act of 1998 allows firearm ownership only to individuals who are clean of certain crimes.
To conceal carry in Massachusetts, an individual must be 21 years of age or older. Gun owners cannot have felony records, violent crime records, or misdemeanors that are punishable by prison for over two years. Also, individuals can qualify for gun ownership only if they have not violated weapons or ammunition laws that are punishable by prison terms.
Taking gun control even further, the Massachusetts Gun Control Act states that gun owners must not have a record of violating controlled-substance laws. Current restraining orders and arrest warrants are also disqualifiers for gun ownership.
Many people who are interested in conceal carrying ask if the Gun Control Act of 1998 allows resident aliens to own a gun. The answer is yes. All permanent green card holders may apply for a License to Carry Firearms or a Firearms Identification Card.
Different Types of Licenses
(Only the LTC Allows Conceal Carrying)
It’s important to note that not all firearms licenses in Massachusetts allow you to conceal carry a firearm. Only the LTC allows you to carry a handgun.
The licenses available in Massachusetts are:
- License to Carry
- Firearms Identification Card
- Firearms Identification Card–Restricted
- License to Possess a Machine Gun
- Gun Club License
The following is an explanation of these licenses.
License to Carry Firearms (LTC)
The License to Carry Firearms is the license you should apply for if you want to conceal-carry a firearm. The LTC allows you to buy, own, carry, and transport:
- A handgun
- A large capacity rife or large capacity shotgun
- Any firearm allowed by an FID card
The fee to apply for a License to Carry is $100. If you’re a Massachusetts resident, your LTC will remain valid for six years before you’ll need to renew it. Non-residents will need to renew their LTC after one year.
Firearms Identification Card (FID)
Individuals who want purchase a rifle or a shotgun that’s not a large capacity weapon should apply for the Firearms Identification Card (FID.) The FID doesn’t allow you to carry a handgun or a high-capacity firearm. With an FID, you can buy, own and transport:
- A non-large capacity rifle or shotgun
- Mace or pepper spray if you are 15-17 years of age
If you’re 18 years old or older, the fee for applying for an FID card is $100. If you’re younger than 18 years old, the application fee is $25. Persons 15-17 holding an FID card do not also need an FID Restricted card for defense sprays. Your FID will remain valid for six years before you’ll need to renew it.
What is a “large capacity” weapon? It’s a semi-automatic weapon with either (a.) a fixed large capacity feeding device, (b.) that can accept a detachable large-capacity feeding device, or (c.) with a rotating cylinder that can accept more than ten rounds or five shotgun shells.
Firearms Identification Card (FID) – Restricted
This is a license for defense sprays (such as pepper spray) rather than for firearms. Individuals over the age of 18 do not need to carry this license to possess defense sprays. The application fee is $25, and it’s valid for six years.
License to Possess a Machine Gun
This license is only for bona fide collectors of firearms or firearms instructors.
Gun Club License
This license is issued only to gun clubs. It is given only by the Colonel of the State Police.
Conceal Carry Begins With a Basic Firearm Safety Course
To properly protect your family and assure peace of mind for your loved ones, thorough knowledge of your firearm is essential. As a gun owner, it’s your duty to understand safe handling, proper maintenance, and basic shooting skills. That’s why completing a basic firearm safety course is so important.
In Massachusetts, you cannot apply for a firearms license unless you have already taken a firearms safety course first. In fact, you’ll be required to submit a copy of your certificate of safety training along with your firearms license application. This requirement applies not only to new gun owners, but also to those who have owned guns in other states besides Massachusetts.
A firearms safety course will instruct you in:
- Gun laws in the State of Massachusetts
- The components of your firearm
- Storing your firearm in accordance to Massachusetts state law
- Traveling with your firearms in accordance to Massachusetts state law
- Proper operation of your firearm, including loading and using the safety (if applicable)
- Shooting your firearm and basic marksmanship skills
- Ammunition knowledge
- Proper gun cleaning
It’s important to choose a basic firearm safety course that’s thorough, trusted, and certified. Consider asking the course instructor the following questions before you enroll in a course:
- “Does your course offer live fire training?” (Many towns in Massachusetts require that you fire real guns during your firearm safety course.)
- “Do you provide a private shooting range?”
- “Do you offer a Massachusetts state-approved firearm safety course?”
- “Can I bring a guest as I train?”
- “Can I get training that’s approved for other states besides Massachusetts?”
- “Will you give me application assistance for my firearms license?”
- “Do you provide small class sizes so I can have plenty of opportunity to get the specific help I need?”
To find a firearms safety course near you, call your police department, check out their website, or visit them in person. They should have listings of local classes you can attend. Boston Firearms offers thorough firearms safety courses that meet all requirements in Massachusetts. We provide 100% hands-on training and classes that run seven days a week.
Know Your Police department’s Requirements
Your local police department will be the authority that receives and processes your application for a firearms license. Before completing your application, it’s important to know what items your police department will require along with your application.
A copy of your firearms safety training certificate will certainly be one of the items your police department requires. They may also ask you for items such as your birth certificate, a photo of yourself, letters of recommendation from references who aren’t related to you, and other documents.
To find out exactly what will be required, contact your local police department before filling out the application for a firearms license.
The Firearms License Application
Once you’ve complete your safety training and determined exactly what documentation your police department will require from you, you can begin the application for a firearm license.
- Go to www.mass.gov. At the top of the page, select “State Forms”
- Scroll down and select “Firearmsforms and applications”
- Select “Firearms Identification (FID) Card or License to Carry Firearms (LTC) Application”
- Print and complete the form
Although it takes some time to complete your Massachusetts License to Carry, it’s a process that can benefit you for the rest of your life. Conceal carrying brings peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones.
If you’re looking for a basic firearm safety course or have questions about the application process, contact Boston Firearms today. Our seasoned experts will help you every step of the way.