Joe Raposa

Contributing Writer


“An Act Relative to Gun Control in the Commonwealth” was enacted by the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives in 1998. The legislation is considered one of the stricter sets of firearms laws in the country. It categorized more than nine types of semiautomatic rifles as “assault weapons,” including the AR-15. They defined these weapons as large captcity weapons, meaning they are semiautomatic weapons capable of accepting a large capacity magazine (more than ten rounds).

Per this legislation residents must be 15 years or older to carry and transport firearms. In the state of Massachusetts all residents are required to obtain one of two firearm licenses. Those licenses are broken up into Class A and Class B licenses. Class A licenses allow the carry of concealed weapons, while Class B licenses allow for the general possession of ammunition, handguns, rifles and shotguns. No person under the age of 21 may be issued a Class A or Class B license.

To obtain a Class A or B license residents, one must apply for a Firearm Identification Card (FID). These cards permit the possession, purchase and carry of rifles and shotguns. Applicants must be 18 years of age or 15 with parental consent. All first time applicants of the FID must have completed a Massachusetts certified firearms safety course or a basic hunter education course. The fee for applicants over the age of 18 for a FID license is $100, the fee for someone younger than 18 is $25. These licenses are valid for a six year period. All licenses are approved by a “licensing authority,” typically the police chief of a given town or the colonel of the state police.

The licensing authority must approve or deny the license request within 40 days.  Residents would not qualify for these licenses if they have been convicted of a crime or hospitalized for a mental illness, unless they have a physician’s note stating that they are not disabled in a manner that would prevent them from owning a firearm.

If a resident is currently being treated for drug or alcohol addiction they may not apply for a license. However, they may apply for a license after a five year period from the date of confinement or treatment for said addiction. Other measures of this law state a gun owner must properly store firearms in a place that is inaccessible to children under the age of 18. All firearms must be unloaded when in a motor vehicle; the ammunition must be kept separate from the firearm as well.


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