Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm
Massachusetts law imposes strict laws on those who own or possess guns. Not only are these laws harsh, they are also complex. This can lead to a situation where someone may be violating the law and not even know it. If you were arrested for illegal gun possession, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy. Attorney Murphy is a veteran criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience representing those charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm in Boston.Massachusetts Gun Licenses
State law provides for two different gun licenses. The type of license you need depends on what kind of gun you own and whether you plan to carry the weapon.
A Firearm Identification Card (FID) allows you to purchase, possess or transport a shotgun or a rifle that is not considered “large-capacity.”
A License to Carry (LTC) is required to possess any type of handgun as well as “large capacity” rifles and shotguns. A license to carry also allows you to carry a concealed firearm.
In this context, “large capacity” refers to semi-automatic rifles with a capacity of ten rounds or more, semi-automatic shotguns with a capacity of five rounds or more, or any assault weapon.Who Can Carry a Gun in Massachusetts?
To purchase, own, possess or transport any gun, you must obtain the appropriate license. However, Massachusetts gun licenses are not available to everyone. For example, if any of the following apply, you are ineligible for either an FID or LTC:
- You have a felony conviction;
- You have a misdemeanor conviction that was punishable by more than two years;
- You were convicted of a violent crime;
- You have a previous gun crime conviction that resulted in your incarceration;
- You have a drug offense on your record;
- You were convicted of a domestic violence offense;
- You have an arrest warrant from any state; or
- You were dishonorably discharged from the military.
The laws governing the transportation of firearms and other guns are especially confusing. However, it is imperative that gun owners understand what they can—and cannot—do to avoid picking up a Boston gun charge.
When it comes to non-large-capacity rifles and shotguns, anyone with an FID or LTC can transport a weapon provided it is unloaded. There is no requirement that it is kept in a locked case or kept out of the driver’s reach. However, for large-capacity rifles and shotguns, weapons must be unloaded and kept in a locked case, the truck of the car, or in some other secure container.
To legally carry a handgun in a vehicle, you need an LTC and the firearm must be within your direct control. If the gun is to be left unattended for any period of time, you must unload the gun and place it in a locked container.Punishments for the Illegal Gun Possession
Illegally carrying any gun without the proper license is a crime. However, the severity of the punishment that comes along with the offense depends on the specific violation. Generally, gun crimes that stem from carrying an unlicensed gun in public are much more serious. For example, possession of an unlicensed gun in your home or business carries a punishment of up to two years in a house of correction. However, illegally carrying a handgun in public (including in a vehicle) can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 18 months in a house of correction, even for a first offense.Have You Been Arrested for a Boston Gun Crime?
If the government is charging you with illegal possession of a gun, you must take the situation seriously because you could be facing a mandatory jail sentence. However, just because you were found in possession of an unlicensed firearm does not mean that you will be found guilty. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is a dedicated Boston criminal defense attorney with decades of experience defending clients facing gun charges and weapons offenses. He takes the time to craft compelling defenses that are individually tailored to each case, ensuring that every client’s rights are upheld throughout the process. Whether he is negotiating with prosecutors to avoid the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence, arguing to keep evidence out of the jury’s consideration, or litigating your case at trial, Attorney Murphy has what it takes to mount a successful defense to any Boston gun crime. To learn more, and to schedule a free and confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Patrick J. Murphy at (617) 367-0450 today.