Friday, May 24, 2024

Frequently Asked Firearms Questions


Q: Is a license required to possess an air gun (i.e. bb or pellet guns, so-called air rifles or air pistols, paint ball guns) or ammunition therefore (i.e. bb’s, pellets, CO2 cartridges, paint balls)?
A: An FID Card is not required to possess an air gun in Massachusetts. Air guns are regulated by M.G.L. c. 269, §12B which limits their use by minors who are not accompanied by an adult, holding a sporting or hunting license, or holding a permit from the chief of police. Massachusetts law also prohibits anyone from discharging air rifles from across streets, alleys, public ways or railroads or railway right of ways. It should also be noted that an FID Card or an LTC are not required to purchase an air gun or ammunition. As such, the state FA10 form should not be used to record the sale of such air guns.

Q: Can a nonresident obtain a permit to carry a weapon in Massachusetts?
A: M.G.L. c. 140, § 131F allows the Colonel of the State Police or his designee to issue a temporary LTC to nonresidents or persons not falling within the jurisdiction of a local licensing authority. Currently, the Firearms Record Bureau (FRB) has been designated to issue permits to nonresidents. The phone number of the FRB is (617) 660-4780.

Q: Do I need an FID Card or an LTC Firearms 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 you need either an LTC,, or an FID Card combined with a Permit to Purchase firearms for the particular handgun in question.

Q: Should a valid holder of an LTC renew their FID Card based upon notification from the Criminal History Systems Board that the FID card is about to expire?
A: Not necessarily. An individual with an LTC is not required to maintain an FID Card also, although an individual may hold both. An LTC permits the holder to possess any weapon which would be allowed with an FID Card, as well as additional weapons depending on the Class of License.

Q: Where do I apply for a License to Carry (LTC) or a Firearms Identification (FID) Card?
A: Generally, application is made to the local police department where the applicant resides or has a place of business. For more specific information on FIDs refer to M.G.L. c. 140, §129B, or for LTCs refer to §131(d).

Address Change

Q: I am changing my address. Who do I notify?
A: Under M.G.L. c. 140, §129B(10), and §131(l), a holder of an FID Card or an LTC must notify, in writing, the licensing authority that issued the Card or License, the chief of police into whose jurisdiction the Card or License holder moves, and the Executive Director of the CHSB. The notice must be made by certified mail within 30 days of its occurrence.

Purchasing and Selling

Q: How many guns a year can a person sell without being a dealer?
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.

Q: Should a special form be used when selling guns through a private sale?
A: No. Transfer notification is completed on line at

Q: Do weapons purchased by Massachusetts residents while in another state have to be reported in Massachusetts?
A: M.G.L. c. 140, §128B, residents who purchase from someone other than a Massachusetts dealer, either within or outside the Commonwealth, must report the purchase within seven days to the FRB at

Q: Can a Massachusetts resident sell a gun without being a licensed dealer?
A: Yes. Under M.G.L. c. 140, §128A, a Massachusetts resident may sell a gun provided that he lawfully possesses it with an appropriate FID Card or LTC, or is otherwise exempt, and that the person buying the gun is also properly licensed with the appropriate FID Card or LTC (depending on the type of gun being bought).

Safety Locks

Q: Should all weapons sold within the Commonwealth be equipped with a safety lock?
A: M.G.L. c. 140, §131K states that all sales of firearms and large capacity weapons in Massachusetts MUST include a safety device approved by the colonel of state police. This requirement applies to any seller including a wholesaler. The seller is not required to install the device so long as the weapon is accompanied by it. Failure to comply with this provision will constitute a breach of warranty and an unfair trade practice. This section does not apply to non-large capacity rifles and shotguns.

Q: If an individual buys a handgun or large capacity rifle or shotgun from a dealer, can he supply his own trigger lock to avoid paying for a new one from the dealer?
A: No. M.G.L. c. 140, §131K states that a state approved safety device must be sold with the weapon. This places the burden on the dealer to provide the safety device and does not allow the dealer an option of letting the purchaser provide a trigger lock.

Q: Are state-approved trigger locks required any time a trigger lock is used?
A: No. State-approved trigger locks are only required under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 140, §131K which applies to dealers who provide them with handguns and large capacity rifles and shotguns that they sell. State-approved trigger locks are not required in any other section of chapter 140. However, most common trigger locks that would be used to help the gun owner comply with section 131L are likely to be state approved even though that approval is not required

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, locked trunk or other secure container. A person with a Class “B” LTC must transport handguns unloaded and in a locked case, locked trunk or other secure container. 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 a weapon 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 will automatically be 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).

Restraining Orders

Q: Can an individual who is the subject of a restraining order, seek to have the judge remove the surrender portion of the restraining order with regards to weapons permits so that he/she can possess a weapon?
A: Previously, the surrender order could be lifted by the judge, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 209A, §3C, and guns and permits could be returned even though the restraining order remained in effect. Under recent changes in M.G.L. c. 140, §§129B and 131, the suspension and surrender of a defendant’s FID Card or LTC must continue as long as the underlying restraining order is in effect.

Specific questions can be directed to the Carver Police Department by calling (508) 866 2000 or contact the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau or by calling (617) 660 4600.