Knowledge — 3 years ago

A Guide for Getting a Firearm License in Massachusetts

by Kelly B.

Firearm License Massachusetts, Massachusetts Firearms License

How to Get a Massachusetts Firearms License

The State of Massachusetts has one of the strictest gun laws in America. There is a very complicated procedure in place to procure firearm licenses, firearms, feeding devices, and ammunition.  

Gun laws in Massachusetts

Massachusetts follows a “May issue” approach to resident firearm licenses. Non-resident licenses are even more difficult to obtain and are rarely issued. While firearm registration is not mandatory for residents, non-residents must register any firearms they sell/purchase with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). Foreign nationals are allowed to acquire non-large-capacity rifles and shotguns pursuant M.G.L. 140 s. 131H, provided they fulfill the highly-restrictive criteria set by the Government and they successfully complete their firearm safety training.

The issuing authority in Massachusetts is the State Police. Applicants must undergo stringent background checks and challenging training and certifications before they become eligible for the license. Even then, the State Police may reject the application, in which case a reason will be provided, and the applicant will have the option to appeal against the decision. For those who do receive the license, the license may be restrictive; for example – self-defense-only, hunting-only, dealership-only, employment-only, instruction/training-only and so on.

The State of Massachusetts has banned residents from procuring and possessing assault firearms from 1994. All weapons listed under the National Firearms Act can only be possessed by law enforcement officials.

Massachusetts Firearms License

The State also has a Red Flag Law, where the Court has the authority to suspend/revoke the license temporarily and to possess all firearms from a person believed to be a risk to self or society. All firearms are required by law to be stored in secure lockers/containers, protected by a locking mechanism or passcode.

People owning firearms are not allowed to take the weapons to places of worship, municipal and civic buildings, courthouses, jails & detention centers and educational institutions.

How to get a Massachusetts Firearms License?

Identify which type of license you need to apply for

Massachusetts offers five types of firearm licenses, the eligibility requirements and application process of each varying slightly from the other. These five types of licenses are:

  • Firearms Identification Card – purchase of shotguns and rifles having a capacity of under ten rounds.
  • LTC-A - purchase of large capacity firearms with a capacity higher than ten rounds.
  • LTC-B - purchase of high capacity rifles & shotguns and standard capacity handguns not on the Large Capacity Weapons Roster.
  • Machine Gun License – purchase of machine guns.
  • Gun Club License – purchase of guns for shooting, hunting, training, and other commercial use.

Understand your eligibility requirements

Applicants interested in possessing a firearm license in Massachusetts must:

  • Be above the age of 21.
  • Have successfully completed the Massachusetts Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate.
  • Not be a regular consumer of alcohol and drugs and must be in possession of his/her faculties even when under the influence.
  • Not be convicted of a firearms-related misdemeanor, crime or perjury anywhere in the US.
  • Not have been counseled/treated for substance abuse or mental health conditions.
Firearm License

Fill in the application and submit the documents

The application form can be procured from the Massachusetts Government website, the local Police Station or the Massachusetts EOPSS. Licenses are priced at $100 each. Retired police officials and residents under the age of 18 get a discounted rate of $25.

Residents of Massachusetts must fill in the resident's firearms license application, and non-residents must fill in either the non-residents firearms license application or the resident alien permit.

Documents to be submitted include:

  • Massachusetts Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate
  • Copy of honorable discharge from military/police service (where relevant)
  • Home address
  • Copy of previous firearms license
  • Photo ID proof and proof of citizenship
  • Visa/immigration card (in case of an alien resident)
  • Naturalization/Green card (in case of US non-resident)

Provide biometrics as part of the background check

Your biometrics will be taken for your background investigation:

  • A complete set of fingerprints
  • A full-frontal photograph
  • Documents to prove your origin and residency-status

After the background check, the resident applications take 60 days to process, and non-resident applications take 90 days to process.

Massachusetts firearms license renewal

Firearms licenses are valid for six years in Massachusetts. Holders can renew their licenses by applying for the renewal a few months before the expiry of the license, by paying $50. The renewal procedure can take up to 60 days. 

Firearm Owners Background Check


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