Page Last Modified: Nov 4, 2017 @ 2:28 pm

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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.

 

Types of Concealed Carry Permits

Note: Massachusetts sometimes refers to their various concealed carry permits as a license to carry (LTC).

1) Resident

  • Must be a minimum of 21 years old
  • Must be a MA resident
  • Valid for 6 years
  • Costs $100 (+ $Training Course)

2) Non-Resident

  • Must be a minimum of 21 years old
  • Must be a U.S. resident
  • Must have a current license to carry in your state of residence
  • Valid for 1 year
  • Costs $100 (+ $Training Course)

Restrictions

  • NONE – the LTC is issued for all lawful purposes with no restrictions. Applicant must show good reason to fear injury to his person or property.
  • EMPLOYMENT – restricts possession to a business owner engaged in business activities or to an employee while engaged in work related activities, and maintaining proficiency, where the employer requires carry of a firearm (i.e. armored car, security guard, etc.). Includes travel to and from activity location.
  • TARGET & HUNTING – restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; and for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns). Includes travel to and from activity location.
  • SPORTING – restricts possession to the purpose of lawful recreational shooting or competition; for use in the lawful pursuit of game animals and birds; for personal protection in the home; for the purpose of collecting (other than machine guns); and for outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, camping, cross country skiing, or similar activities. Includes travel to and from activity location.

MA can, and often does, apply restrictions to many LTC’s. This is especially true in the towns around and including Boston.

Is it Required to Carry Concealed?

No – you can open carry or carry concealed with a MA concealed carry permit. However, open carry may be prohibited in certain cities.

May Issue or Shall Issue?

Massachusetts is a may issue state, meaning the law states that they may issue a permit if you meet all requirements.

Process to Apply

Residents

To get a resident license to carry in MA, you must apply through the police department in your town of residence. The police department will decide which restrictions, if any, will be placed on your license.

  1. Complete a MA approved firearms safety course.
    • Find the list of approved courses here.
  2. Call the department in your town of residence to make an appointment. In many departments, an appointment is needed to get fingerprinted and interviewed by your local department.
  3. When you attend your appointment, bring the following items:
    • A copy of the certificate that proves you completed a MA approved handgun safety course. Some departments accept copies, others require the original certificate.
    • Present your MA state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
    • Present a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. Passport, Alien Registration number (with 90-day proof of residency), or other legal documentation that proves you are lawfully in the United States.
    • Complete an interview with the local police department (required in most towns).
    • Application fee: $100; various forms of payment are accepted.
  4. After submitting the items, the department will take a complete set of fingerprints to initiate a criminal background investigation.
  5. The department may also take your picture in case your application is approved.
  6. Some towns, including Boston, will then require you to pass a live fire exercise. This will be coordinated through the police department in your town of residence.

After these steps are completed, the department processing your application is legally required to inform you in 40 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.

Non-Residents

To get a non-resident license to carry in MA, you must apply through the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System (MIRCS)

  1. Complete a MA approved firearms safety course.
    • Find the list of approved courses here.
  2. Print the application here.
  3. Include the following items with your completed application, and mail to the address listed below:
    • A copy of the certificate that proves you completed a MA approved handgun safety course. Some departments accept copies, others require the original certificate.
    • Present your state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
    • A copy of your current license to carry in your state of residence.
    • A report of a criminal history record check in your home state.
    • Present a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. Passport, Alien Registration number (with 90-day proof of residency), or other legal documentation that proves you are lawfully in the United States.
    • Complete an interview with the local police department (required in most towns).
    • Application fee: $100; various forms of payment are accepted.
    • A self-addressed, stamped envelope. This will be used to mail your license if approved.
  4. After you submit your application and associated paperwork, you will be contacted by mail or email to set up an appointment to appear in person. All first time applicants and certain renewal applicants must appear in-person at the address listed below:

After these steps are completed, the department processing your application is legally required to inform you in 40 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.

Mailing Address
Massachusetts Department of
Criminal Justice Information Services
Firearms Records Bureau
200 Arlington Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved

If you meet any of the following conditions, your application is almost guaranteed to be denied:

  1. You are illegally in the United States.
  2. You’ve been convicted of a felony.
  3. You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
  4. You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
  5. You’ve been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child for committing a felony.
  6. You’ve been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child for committing a violation of any law regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, sale, lease, rental, receipt or transportation of weapons or ammunition for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed.
  7. You’ve been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child for committing a violation of any law regulating the use, possession or sale of a controlled substance.
  8. You’ve been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child for committing a violent crime.
  9. You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
  10. You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
  11. You have a mental illness.
  12. You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
  13. You are a fugitive from justice.
  14. You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
  15. You are subject to a firearms seizure order.

Location Restrictions for Carrying

It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:

  • Federal buildings.
  • Courthouses.
  • Federal prisons.
  • Indian reservations.
  • Mount Greylock State Reservation.
  • On ferries, including the following: Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority.
  • Post offices.
  • Military bases.
  • On school property, including colleges and universities.
  • Airports.
  • In any Off Highway Vehicle (i.e. quads, snowmobiles)
  • Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.

Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout MA

With an Unrestricted License

If you have an unrestricted MA license to carry, you may transport a handgun in a vehicle while it is loaded and on your person so long as it is under your direct control.

With any Restricted License

If you have a MA license to carry with any restrictions, you must abide by the following guidelines when transporting a handgun throughout (within MA) the state:

  • You must legally possess the firearm.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • The firearm (and ammunition) cannot be readily accessible by the driver or any passengers.
  • The firearm and the ammunition must be contained within the locked trunk, in a locked case, or in another secure container in your vehicle.

Without a License

This is a grey area, as the MA laws written about this are unclear. Currently, it appears that if you do not possess a MA concealed carry permit, you can only transport a handgun into or throughout the state for the purpose of pistol/revolver competitions or hunting. You must also be a U.S. resident, and have a license to carry in your state of residence. If your purpose is hunting, you must have a hunting/sporting license issued by the state you are traveling to. If you meet these requirements, transport your handgun according to the following:

  • You must legally possess the firearm.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • The firearm (and ammunition) cannot be readily accessible by the driver or any passengers.
  • The firearm and the ammunition must be contained within the locked trunk, in a locked case, or in another secure container in your vehicle.

See MA law Chapter 140 Section 131G for more details. If you believe you need to transport a handgun into MA without a license for any other reason, we recommend you contact the MA State Police before doing so.

Additional Notes About MA Handgun Law

Does MA Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?

No.

The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.

Does MA Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?

Yes.

The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.

This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.

Magazine Capacity

Large Capacity Magazines, i.e. any magazine that can accept greater than 10 rounds of ammunition are banned in MA.

Reciprocity – What State Permits Does MA Recognize?

None. MA does not honor any other states’ permits.

Reciprocity – Where is the MA Permit Recognized?

The MA concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states:

MA License to Carry Reciprocity

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