Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Are You on the List? What Makes a Handgun "Mass Compliant?"

There are two lists in Massachusetts that determine whether a handgun is legal to be sold or transferred by a Massachusetts dealer to a Massachusetts resident.  But one of the lists is apparently a secret.

The First List: the EOPPS Roster:

The “Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Approved Firearms Roster”, often referred to as “the EOPSS Roster” or the “Approved Firearms Roster” is a list of handguns which have met certain statutory criteria governing the manufacture and sale of handguns to be sold in Massachusetts.  The criteria are tested by Massachusetts approved independent testing laboratories to have satisfactorily completed the testing requirements set forth in M.G.L. c. 140, § 123. The reports resulting from those tests are then reviewed by the Massachusetts Gun Control Advisory Board.

In cases where the Gun Control Advisory Board determined that the firearms “passed” the requirements set forth in Section 123,  the tested handgun was subsequently approved by the Secretary of Public Safety and Security as having complied with the statutory handgun testing provisions of M.G.L. c. 140, § 123.

The EOPSS Roster, therefore, is a list of all firearms which have completed and passed the testing requirements set forth in M.G.L. c. 140 s. 123.

The Second (Secret) List: the Attorney General's Roster:

The EOPSS Roster does not take into consideration the similar-but-not-identical requirements set forth in 940 C.M.R. 16.00, often referred to as the “Attorney General Regulations”.

I don’t know anyone who has ever seen the Attorney General “list” of approved firearms, and many (including myself) believe that no list actually exists.  Rather, firearms manufacturers in Massachusetts are required to “certify their own compliance” with the regulations, and are likely at risk for prosecution by the Attorney General’s office under the guise of a consumer protection action if they don't comply.

The EOPSS Roster and the Attorney General’s Regulations have significant implications for Massachusetts licensed firearms dealers and firearms manufactures, as both sets of rules govern (subject to certain exceptions) what handguns may be sold or transferred by a Massachusetts licensed dealer to a Massachusetts resident.

Our next two posts will review this complicated and potentially contradictory regulatory structure in more depth.

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