Massachusetts is a may-issue state with Licenses to Carry (LTC) issued at the local police station or, for non-residents, through the State Police Firearms Records Bureau.
A Firearm Identification (FID) card or LTC is required to purchase a firearm. Background checks are required to buy a handgun from a private individual, as the seller must verify the buyer’s Firearm Identification Card with the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services. A LTC is also required to buy ammunition. Although the registration of handguns isn’t required, all sellers of firearms must report firearms sales and transfers to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, which maintains comprehensive records of sales and transfers.
The former Class B license allows for only the open carry of non-large capacity firearms. Due to revisions to licensure, there may be Class B licenses that are still valid, however, no new Class B licenses are being issued.
Concealed carry is legal in Massachusetts for individuals who have a Massachusetts LTC or a formerly issued, valid Class A LTC. The minimum age is 21 years old, and LTCs are issued to residents and non-residents. LTCs require a state-approved firearms training course. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and airports. In terms of reciprocity, Massachusetts does not honor permits from any other states.
Massachusetts is a Castle Doctrine state. Massachusetts law states that, in the prosecution of a person who is an occupant of a dwelling charged with killing or injuring one who was unlawfully in the dwelling, it is a defense that the occupant was in one’s dwelling at the time of the offense and that he or she acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in the dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon the occupant, and that the occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or herself or another person lawfully in the dwelling. There is no duty to retreat in a person’s dwelling, although there is a duty to retreat outside of one’s home.
“Dwelling” is defined as a building that’s a permanent or temporary residence, which means that tents, motor homes and boats may not qualify as a dwelling where the doctrine would apply. It’s also important to be aware that common areas of buildings, like hallways, don’t fall under the castle doctrine.
No. Massachusetts does not allow constitutional carry.
Open Carry Permitted?
Is open carry permitted in Massachusetts?
Yes, with a permit. However, it is uncommon and there have been reports that some jurisdictions will use this as grounds to revoke permits or to charge you with another type of offense (i.e. menacing).
Gun Permit Licensure?
If Massachusetts requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?
Massachusetts is a may issue state.
Minimum Age for Concealed Carry?
What is the minimum age in Massachusetts to get a concealed carry permit?
You must be at least 21 years old to get a LTC in Massachusetts.
Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?
Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Massachusetts with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?
Yes. Stun guns may be carried in Massachusetts with a LTC. In addition, an LTC allows the permit holder to purchase, rent, lease, borrow, possess and carry: firearms, including large capacity firearms, and feeding devices and ammunition therefor, for all lawful purposes.
Tasers or Stun Guns?
Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Massachusetts?
Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal with a LTC, as long as they are in a shape that resembles a gun (not “covert” electronic weapons that resemble other objects like pens). In order to purchase, a copy of a resident firearms license, state ID and a MA Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate are required and a background check will be conducted.
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Massachusetts?
Yes, chemical mace or pepper spray can be carried without an LTC. It can only be sold by Federal Firearm Licensees. Section 122D identifies individuals who are prohibited from purchase or possession of self-defense spray, including minors and individuals that are under a permanent or temporary protection order or are currently the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant.
Does Massachusetts have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?
No more than 10 rounds.
It is illegal to sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. ''Large capacity feeding device'' means a fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip or similar device capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition.
Yes. Any person with a license to carry is permitted to purchase, possess and carry all types of lawful ammunition. The minimum age to purchase handgun ammunition is 21 years old, and purchases must be conducted face-to-face. So, any ammunition purchased online must go to a local dealer who will check your license before handing the ammunition over.
Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Massachusetts?
Yes, with a LTC, provided the weapon is under the license holder's direct control. Without a LTC, it is illegal to knowingly possess or control a firearm in a vehicle, whether loaded or unloaded, unless the possessor is at his or her residence or place of business or possesses the proper card or license for the firearm possessed.
Can you carry a firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Massachusetts?
Yes, there is no statute making it illegal to concealed carry with a MA LTC, unless posted.
Carry/Possess at a hotel?
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts statutes don't specifically address firearms at hotels. Please note that each hotel develops their own policies and the individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See theHandguns at Hotels pagefor additional information.
Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?
Does Massachusetts have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
Yes, Massachusetts has a red flag law. An immediate family member of a person or a law enforcement officer may file a petition ordering the immediate suspension and surrender of any license to carry firearms or firearm identification card which the respondent may hold, as well as order the respondent to surrender all firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, weapons or ammunition which the respondent then controls, owns or possesses.
No definition of brandishing was found in Massachusetts law. However, any person who, with a dangerous weapon, attempts to use physical force against someone or shows an intention to use immediate force against someone is guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon.
Does Massachusetts have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or drugs?
Not while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, all as defined in ch. 94C, § 1, or from smelling or inhaling the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors as defined in ch. 270, § 18.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Does Massachusetts issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?
Yes. Massachusetts grants permits to non-residents.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CONCEALED CARRY REGISTRY?
Does Massachusetts allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
No. Massachusetts does not allow public access to concealed carry registry information.
Massachusetts Permit Exempts from Background Check?
Does my current Massachusetts concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Massachusetts?
No. However, a FID or LTC is required in order to make a purchase, and these may take up to 60 days to process.
Do handguns need to be registered in Massachusetts?
No. However, transfers of firearms ownership are required to be recorded with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS).
Approved Handgun Roster?
Does Massachusetts have a roster of handguns approved for retail sale?
Yes. Massachusetts has an approved firearms roster that contains firearms that meet detailed safety standards and have been approved by the Secretary of Public Safety and Security. Licensed firearms dealers may only sell handguns from this list at retail. There are exceptions for handguns lawfully owned before October 21, 1998, and some handguns solely designed and sold for formal target or Olympic shooting competition.
What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Massachusetts?
21 years old and a FID is required. It shall be lawful to furnish a weapon to a minor for hunting, recreation, instruction and participation in shooting sports while under the supervision of a holder of a valid firearm identification card or license to carry appropriate for the weapon in use; provided, however, that the parent or guardian of the minor granted consent for such activities.
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State Constitutional Provision
The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature, and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it."
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
Be a suitable person to be issued such license, and have good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property, or for any other reason, including the carrying of firearms for use in sport or target practice only;
Complete a firearms training course;
Not have been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child;
Not have been committed to a hospital or institution for mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse, unless after 5 years the applicant submits an affidavit from a registered physician endorsing his or her ability to possess a firearm;
Not be subject to an order of the probate court appointing a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated person on the grounds that the applicant lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage the applicant’s affairs;
Not be subject to a temporary or emergency restraining order or order of protection;
Not have any outstanding warrants;
Not have been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions;
The process is similar to that for residents, although an in-person appearance at the Firearms Records Bureau is necessary for first time applicants and then once every 6 years thereafter. Processing may take up to 90 days. You will still need to renew your LTC annually, however, the application will be processed solely by mail until the next required in-person appearance. Non-resident LTCs are valid for only 1 year. Non-residents are notified by mail when firearms license applications have been processed.
First time applicants must submit a copy of a certificate showing completion of a Massachusetts Basic Firearms Safety Course. This course must have been taken with an instructor who is certified by the Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police.
The licensing authority that issued your firearms license;
The Chief of Police of the city or town that you moved to; and
The Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.
There is also a Firearms License Address Change Hotline at (617) 660-4722.
Contact your issuing authority.
Moving to Massachusetts and interested in applying for a resident license? How soon can you apply? Massachusetts issues resident and non-resident licenses, so you can apply for your license at any time. You may need to provide proof that you reside in or have a place of business in the state for a resident license.
Moving from Massachusetts and have a Massachusetts resident license? Does that license transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your Massachusetts license remains valid? If a person with a Massachusetts license to carry establishes residency in another state, the license is valid until it expires provided you submit the above referenced change of address form.
Contact your local firearms licensing office for its specific requirements. You will likely need the following documents:
Firearms safety course certificate;
A form of ID;
Proof of residency, if required; and
You will be notified by your local licensing authority when your firearms license application has been processed, either by telephone or by mail. You may need to pick up your firearms license in person.
Massachusetts is a “may-issue” state for the issuance of licenses to carry firearms, meaning that the local licensing authority has discretion in determining whether or not to issue either license type to an applicant. It may deny the application or renewal of an applicant, or suspend or revoke a license, if, in the “reasonable exercise of discretion,” the licensing authority determines that the applicant or licensee is unsuitable to carry a firearm. A determination of unsuitability must be based on reliable and credible information that the individual has exhibited or engaged in behavior that he or she poses a risk to public safety.
Class A and Class B Licenses Class B LTCs were previously issued and allow for only the open carry of non-large capacity firearms. Any current Class B LTCs will be valid until the expiration date.
Concealed carry is legal in Massachusetts only for individuals who have a valid, previously issued Massachusetts Class A LTC or a current LTC.
A license to carry entitles the possessor to purchase, possess, rent, borrow, lease and carry lawful firearms, including handguns and non-large capacity firearms for holders of Class B licenses or large capacity firearms for holders of current Class A or LTCs, and feeding devices and ammunition for these firearms.
Persons applying for a FID or LTC must successfully complete a basic firearms safety course. A course used as a prerequisite for a FID shall use rifles and/or shotguns as the primary subject matter of the curriculum. A course used as a prerequisite for an LTC shall use pistols and/or revolvers as the primary subject matter of the curriculum. Course curriculums that do not contain a firearms-related law component can meet Department of State Police curriculum criteria by utilizing guest speakers familiar with firearms laws or by utilizing or distributing to its students written informational pamphlets/books/videos by an entity/individual familiar with firearms laws to cover that portion of the course.
Exemptions -Training requirements do not apply to (i) any officer, agent or employee of the commonwealth or any state of the United States; (ii) any member of the military or other service of any state or of the United States; (iii) any duly authorized law enforcement officer, agent or employee of any municipality of the commonwealth; provided, however, that any such person described in clauses (i) to (iii), inclusive, is authorized by a competent authority to carry or possess the weapon so carried or possessed and is acting within the scope of his duties.
Effective January 1, 2021, a current member of the United States military or the Massachusetts National Guard who has not been prohibited under said section 129B from owning a firearm and has received adequate training while serving in the military shall be exempt from being required to submit a basic firearms safety certificate to the licensing authority upon submitting a copy of the member’s most current military identification form.
Be sure to verify that any firearm training you receive in order to obtain your permit is approved by the state of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Process
How to Renew a Massachusetts Concealed Carry Permit
You must renew your resident firearms license to carry or firearms identification card through your local police department in the town where you reside. You must submit your renewal application prior to the expiration date of your current license. If submitted prior to expiration, you will have an indefinite grace period in which your current license will remain valid after expiration. This grace period will stay in effect until the submitted application for renewal is either approved or denied by the licensing authority. If you do not submit your application for renewal prior to expiration of your current license, that license will expire and no longer be valid and you will need to apply for a new FID or LTC.
Non-resident firearms licenses expire 1 year from the issue date. Resident alien permits expire on December 31st in the year of application. Non-resident licenses to carry firearms or resident alien permits must be renewed annually through the Firearms Records Bureau. There is no grace period for non-resident firearms licenses or resident alien permits.
A Massachusetts Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate
A form of identification
Proof of residence
Residents must mail the complete renewal package to your local licensing authority.
Non-Residents and Resident Aliens must mail the complete renewal package to the Firearms Records Bureau at:
Department of Criminal Justice Information Services Firearms Records Bureau 200 Arlington Street, Suite 2200 Chelsea, MA 02150
You will be notified within 60 days (90 days for Non-Residents and Resident Aliens) when your firearms license application has been processed, either by telephone or by mail. You may need to pick up your firearms license in person.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details, check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
515 CMR 6:00 establishes rules and regulations governing the certification of qualified retired law enforcement officers and instructors for the purpose of complying with LEOSA qualification standards and instructor certification. 501 CMR 13:00 establishes the standards for ID cards for RLEOs. Any LEOSA instructor certified by the Massachusetts Department of State Police may conduct the annual certification.
The state of Massachusetts does not forbid the ownership of any type of knife. However, stilettos, daggers, dirks, double-edged knives, devices or cases which enables a knife with a locking blade to be drawn at a locked position, ballistic knives, knives with knuckles and automatic knives are forbidden from carry and from carry on a person or under his control in a vehicle. Knives are prohibited from all schools, from the elementary level to university campuses. Massachusetts municipalities may have additional restrictions.
I can legally carry a concealed firearm in Massachusetts, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
There is no known statute in Massachusetts making it illegal to wear a COVID mask while carrying concealed. A state statute was identified, making it illegal for a person to commit an assault, robbery, larceny or to obstruct the due execution of the law while masked or disguised.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta Defense Customer Engagement Team.
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