Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm

Laws pertaining to guns and firearms are some of the most regulated and strict laws that exist today.  Gun laws in the United States regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition. Massachusetts Law requires firearm owners to be licensed through their local Police Department or the Massachusetts State Police if no local licensing authority is available. A license is required by state law for buying firearms and ammunition. An applicant must have passed a State approved firearm safety course before applying for a license. In Massachusetts, a Class A license authorizes the carrying of handguns, including large capacity handguns, for all lawful purposes, and the carrying of rifles and shotguns, including large capacity rifles and shotguns, for all lawful purposes. A Class A license holder may carry a loaded handgun in a vehicle, if it is under his direct control. However, this does not apply to large capacity rifles or shotguns. Such firearms must be carried unloaded, in the locked trunk or in a locked case or other secure container. A Class B license authorizes carrying of non-large capacity handguns for all lawful purposes, and carrying of rifles and shotguns, including large capacity rifles and shotguns, for all lawful purposes. However, a Class B license does not entitle the holder to carry or possess a loaded firearm in a concealed manner in a public way or place. A Class B license holder may not carry a loaded firearm of any type in his vehicle; all firearms must be carried unloaded, in the locked trunk or in a locked case or other secure container. It is a felony offense for an individual to carry a firearm without the proper licensing or identification or storage in Massachusetts under M.G.L. c. 269, s. 10(a). Any violation under this law will result in a mandatory minimum prison sentence. In the event of a conviction for this offense, the court may also seize the firearm or article and opt to destroy or sell it.  With the right Massachusetts firearms defense lawyer, many firearms cases are defendable cases in court due errors in police work or the failure for law enforcement authorities to follow established constitutional rules regarding the seizure or persons or property.  When the police act without lawful authority a court may decide to suppress all or some of the evidence seized in a particular case.

M.G.L. c. 269, s. 10(a) provides that any individual who knowingly has a firearm, rifle or shotgun in his possession, or knowingly has a firearm under his control in a vehicle, and commits one of the following shall be found in violation of this law.
  • The individual was in possession of the firearm outside of his or her residence or place of business; or
  • The individual does not have a valid license to carry firearms; or
  • The individual did not comply with the provisions of the license to carry firearms; or
  • The individual did not comply with the requirements for possession of an air rifle or BB gun; or
  • The individual did not have a valid firearms identification card.
PENALTIES ATTACHED
A conviction for this offense shall result in the following penalties for a first offense:
  • Mandatory minimum imprisonment in the state prison for 2.5 years (no more than 5 years), or
  • Mandatory minimum imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for 18 months (no more than 2.5 years).
A conviction for a subsequent offense shall result in the following punishments:
  • For a second offense, mandatory minimum imprisonment in the state prison for 5 years (no more than 7 years);
  • For a third offense, mandatory minimum imprisonment in the state prison for 7 years (no more than 10 years); and 
  • For a fourth offense, mandatory minimum imprisonment in the state prison for 10 years (no more than 15 years).
In cases where the firearm in question was a loaded firearm, loaded sawed off shotgun or loaded machine gun, a convicted offender shall be further punished by the following penalties:
  • Imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years, which shall be tacked on to the original sentence and served sequentially.
NON-RESIDENTS
As governed by M.G.L. c. 140, s 129C, a non-resident may possess a rifle or shotgun in Massachusetts:
  • While hunting and in possession of a valid hunting license,
  • While on a firing or shooting range, 
  • While traveling in or through Mass. if the rifle or shotgun is unloaded and enclosed in a case,
  • While at a firearms show organized by a "regularly existing gun collector’s club or association."
If he or she has a license or permit to possess any firearm in his or her home state, if its licensing requirements are as stringent as those of Massachusetts as indicated by a published list of such states promulgated by the colonel of state police.

Boston, Massachusetts Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm Defense Attorney
The right to bear arms is an enumerated right protected by the Second Amendment of the United States. However, laws pertaining to the carrying of such weapons are very strict and aggressively policed. If you have been charged with a crime such as the Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm, you need an attorney with the specialized knowledge of gun laws in Massachusetts. As this area of the law is very complex and laws vary state-by-state, only a relentless Massachusetts criminal defense attorney will have the skill and resources to help you understand and fight the charges against you. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is a well-known and respected criminal defense firm which has been offering legal services to the greater Boston area for over 18 years. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy has the tactical skills and courtroom know-how to construct the most aggressive defense for your Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm case or Massachusetts firearm law violation case. To contact Attorney Murphy for a free and confidential discussion of your case, please call 617-367-0450 or email him directly using our online contact form.
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