Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Do guns in Massachusetts need to be registered?

In specific circumstances firearms are required to reported to the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau, a division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS).  This form of “registration” is handled at a state level, and not by the individual town police departments.

That being said, Massachusetts does not have a firearm registration system, per se.  However, the personal sale, transfer or acquisition of firearms by a Massachusetts resident must be recorded with the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau.  Therefore, there is a de facto registration requirement, but it does not apply in all cases.  Registration is accomplished by completing a “FA-10” (hard copy) or “E-FA-10” (electronically-submitted) form.  The submission of an FA-10 or E-FA-10 is required when:

1. You personally buy or sell a firearm in a personal transaction (of which you are permitted only four (4) per calendar year);
2. You are a Massachusetts resident and obtained a firearm from an out-of-state dealer;
3.  The loss or theft of a firearm (additional requirements apply);
4.  You acquire a firearm by inheritance.

Additionally, the E-FA-10 system will permit you to “register” firearms in other circumstances, such as:

1. You moved into Massachusetts from out-of-state, and wish to register your firearms;
2. You are in possession of firearms where no previous FA-10 has been submitted.
3. You have surrendered a firearm to the police.

The launch of the E-FA-10 system in Massachusetts this past year was met with significant opposition from the firearms community, as it inaccurately describes the law, and would seem to coerce registration in circumstances where no registration is required.  For example, there is no current statutory requirement that the firearms, brought in from out of state when a new Massachusetts resident moves from another state, must be “registered” or an FA-10 must be submitted.  Be careful not to confuse a relocation situation, though, with the requirement to register firearms purchased from an out-of-state dealer.

Given the intricacies of Massachusetts firearms laws and the unique legal issues facing firearms owners in the Commonwealth, it is advisable to have an attorney who understands and practices in firearms law, criminal law and civil litigation.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I am moving to Massachusetts from another state, do I need a gun license?

If you wish to bring guns with you from another state to Massachusetts, or to purchase and possess firearms in Massachusetts, then you need to obtain a license.  To obtain an LTC (License to Carry) or an FID (Firearms Identification Card) you need to follow the same process as a current resident of Massachusetts, which we outline in this previous post: How do I obtain a gun license in Massachusetts?

Some firearms or accessories that may be legal in other states may not be legal in Massachusetts or may only be legal to possess if you obtain the full LTC/A.  You should confirm that any firearms you bring in are legal to possess in Massachusetts and that you have applied for the correct license to possess that firearm.

It is also important to note that the law exempts the move in and possession of firearms in the home for new residents for sixty (60) days.  Until you receive the proper license, do not transport any firearms and/or ammunition.

While there is this “grace period” for new residents, new license applications are taking more than the 60 days allotted by statute so you should apply right away.  Additionally, it may be necessary to temporarily store your firearms with a properly-licensed individual or FFL until your license is approved to be in full compliance with the law.

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