Massachusetts State Seal

Massachusetts Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Carry allowed with my Massachusetts permit?
No
Yes
Yes, Permitless Carry
Yes, Selected State
401k
Permits Issued
0
STATES HONORED
27
RECIPROCATING STATES
6.9M
STATE POPULATION
21
MINIMUM AGE TO CC
13
ATTORNEYS IN USCCA NETWORK
5.81%
PERMIT PERCENTAGE
6
YEARS PERMIT VALID
24
USCCA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

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Summary of Massachusetts Gun Laws

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. 

While there is no statute making open carry illegal for LTC holders, it is uncommon in Massachusetts and there have been reports that some jurisdictions will use this as a reason to revoke permits. Concealed carry is legal in Massachusetts for individuals who have a Massachusetts 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 said dwelling, it shall be a defense that the occupant was in his dwelling at the time of the offense and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling.” There is no duty to retreat in a person’s dwelling, although there is a duty to retreat outside of one’s home.

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Massachusetts Gun Laws at a Glance

Open Carry/ Concealed Carry Basics

Constitutional Carry?

Does Massachusetts allow constitutional carry?

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 shall 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.

Tasers or Stun Guns?

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Massachusetts?

Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal. 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. They can be carried with a LTC, as long as the electronic device is in a shape that resembles a gun (not “covert” electronic weapons that resemble other objects like pens).

[Session Law Chapter 123 (2018)]

Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray?

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Massachusetts?

Yes, chemical mace or pepper spray can be carried with 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. 

[Mass. Gen. Laws Ch 140, §§ 122B, 122C and 122D]

Non-Resident Permitting?

Does Massachusetts issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?

Yes. Massachusetts does grant 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.

Carry Locations

Carry in Vehicle?

Can you carry a concealed firearm 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.

[Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 131]

Carry at Roadside Rest Areas?

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Massachusetts?

Yes, with a LTC.

Carry in State/National Parks, State/National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)?

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in Massachusetts?

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol?

Can you carry a firearm in restaurants that serve alcohol in Massachusetts?

Yes, with a LTC, unless posted.

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?

Not addressed in Massachusetts state law.

Additional Related State Laws

Must Notify Officer You're Carrying?

Are you required to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Massachusetts?

No. You are not required to notify an officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Massachusetts.

[Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 106, § 129C(u)]

Magazine Limits for Handguns?

Does Massachusetts have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

>10 rounds.

There is a grandfather clause for devices that were lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. Attached tubular devices designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber ammunition are exempt.

[Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 131M.]

Ammunition Restrictions?

Does Massachusetts have ammunition restrictions?

Yes. The minimum age to purchase handgun ammunition is 21 years old, and purchases must be conducted face-to-face. To purchase ammunition for a handgun, a firearm identification (FID) card holder must also obtain a permit to purchase a handgun. You must have a firearm license to purchase or possess ammunition. Any person with a license to carry is permitted to purchase, rent, lease, borrow, possess and carry all types of lawful ammunition for these firearms.

"No Weapons Allowed" Signs Enforced?

Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in Massachusetts? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No. Not mentioned in state statutes.

Preemption?

Does Massachusetts have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

No. Massachusetts does not have preemption laws.

[Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 43B, § 13]

Red Flag Law?

Does Massachusetts have a red flag law?

Yes. 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.

[2018 Session Law Chapter 123]

Brandishing?

Does Massachusetts state law define brandishing?

No. 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.

[Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 15B(b)]

Carry While Using Alcohol or Prescription Medication?

Does Massachusetts have laws regarding carrying a firearm while using alcohol or prescription medication?

Yes, but not while under the influence in Massachusetts.

[Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 269, § 10H]

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.

Handgun Purchase & Possession

Purchase Permits?

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Massachusetts?

Yes. A Firearm Identification (FID) card or License to Carry (LTC) is required.

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Massachusetts?

Yes. The seller must verify the buyer's FID with the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.

Waiting Period?

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Massachusetts?

No. However, an FID or LTC is required in order to make a purchase, and these may take up to 60 days to process.

Handgun Registration?

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).

Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?

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.

[Title XX, Chapter 140, § 130 & 131(d)(iv)]

Carry While Hunting

Carry While Gun Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in Massachusetts?

No. Handguns are not allowed for deer hunting and may not be in your possession while deer hunting.

[MA Dept of Fish & Wildlife Regulations]

Carry While Bow Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while bowhunting in Massachusetts?

No.

Hunter Harassment Law?

Is there a Hunter Harassment Law in Massachusetts?

Yes. No person shall obstruct, interfere with or otherwise prevent the lawful taking of fish or wildlife by another at the locale where such activity is taking place. It shall be a violation of this section for a person to intentionally:

  • Drive or disturb wildlife or fish for the purpose of interrupting a lawful taking;
  • Block, follow, impede or otherwise harass another who is engaged in the lawful taking of fish or wildlife;
  • Use natural or artificial visual, aural, olfactory or physical stimulus to effect wildlife in order to hinder or prevent such taking;
  • Erect barriers with the intent to deny ingress or egress to areas where the lawful taking of wildlife may occur;
  • Interject himself into the line of fire;
  • Effect the condition or placement of personal or public property intended for use in the taking of wildlife; or
  • Enter or remain upon public lands, or upon private lands without the permission of the owner or his agent, with intent to violate this section. 
  • [Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 13, § 5C]

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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."
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, ARTICLE 17

Massachusetts Concealed Carry Reciprocity With Other States

Which states' permits does Massachusetts honor?

Massachusetts does not honor any other states' permits.


Other States' Reciprocity With Massachusetts

Which states honor permits from Massachusetts?

Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.


States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with Massachusetts

Michigan (resident permits only)
Wisconsin (Class A permits only)

Permitless Carry States

Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.

Arizona (if at least 21 years old)
Alaska (if at least 21 years old)
Arkansas (if at least 21 years old)
Kansas (if at least 21 years old)
Kentucky (if at least 21 years old)
Maine (if at least 21 years old)
Mississippi (if at least 21 years old)
Missouri (if at least 19 years old)
New Hampshire (if at least 18 years old)
South Dakota (if at least 18 years old)
Vermont (if at least 18 years old)
West Virginia (if at least 21 years old)

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Massachusetts Concealed Carry Permit Information

Requirements:

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal alien;
  • 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;
  • Not be a fugitive from justice; and
  • Meet federal law requirements.
Fees:

Initial Permit and Renewals $100

Valid For:

6 years

Processing Time:

40 days

Application:
Non-Resident Concealed Carry Permits:

All new and renewal non-resident temporary licenses to carry (LTC) firearms in Massachusetts are issued through the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System (MIRCS). MIRCS is a computer-based application used to manage, process and monitor firearms licensing statewide. 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. 

Link to Non-resident LTC application

Name/Address Changes:

Complete and mail a copy of the Change of Address Form to all of the following:

  • 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.

Lost/Stolen Permits:

Contact your issuing authority.


Massachusetts Concealed Carry Permit Application Process

How to Apply for a Massachusetts Concealed Carry Permit

Step 1:
Step 2:

Download the application.

Step 3:

Contact your local firearms licensing office for its specific requirements. You will likely need the following documents:

  • Completed application;
  • Firearms safety course certificate;
  • Fingerprint cards;
  • A form of ID;
  • Proof of residency, if required; and
  • Application fee.
Step 4:

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.

A license to carry entitles the possessor to purchase, possess, rent, borrow, lease and carry all types of lawful firearms, including handguns and large capacity firearms, and feeding devices and ammunition for these firearms.


Firearms Training Requirements in Massachusetts

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.

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Massachusetts Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Process

How to Renew a Massachusetts Concealed Carry Permit

Step 1:

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.

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.

Step 2:

You will need to submit:

You may need to submit:

  • 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

Step 3:

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 (LEO)/Retired LEOs

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.


Massachusetts Location Restrictions

Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Massachusetts?
  • Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes.
  • Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? No.
  • Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
  • Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests and WMAs? Yes.
  • Carry in places of worship? There is no state statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Massachusetts?

Places off-limits even with a permit/license


FAQ: Massachusetts Concealed Carry Questions

What Are the Knife Laws in Massachusetts?

Stilettos, daggers, dirks, double-edged knives, ballistic knives, knives with knuckles and automatic knives are forbidden from carry unless you have a Class A LTC. There are no limits to what types of knives you can own.


Massachusetts Gun Laws Updates:

Date Details
2019-10-31

Added brandishing info to At A Glance table

2019-10-15

Added Hunter Harassment info to At A Glance table

2019-10-01

Added Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray to the At A Glance table

2019-09-25

Updated the permit info section removing references to LTC-A and LTC-B which no longer exist

2019-09-25

Updated the summary and At A Glance table with info regarding open carry

2019-09-06

Added Carry While Hunting info to At A Glance table

2019-08-13

Added anchor links to various sections below the Summary

2019-07-25

Added minimum age to possess and transport a handgun to At A Glance table

2019-05-24

Added stun gun/Taser info to At A Glance table

2019-05-01

Added permit renewal and name/address change info

2019-04-18

Links checked

2019-03-28

Added info on state implementation of Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA)

2019-02-20

Added info and a link to vehicle carry in At A Glance table

2019-02-15

Added pages for Federal Gun Laws, Traveling with Firearms & Terminology

2019-02-09

Added ammunition restrictions to At A Glance table

2019-02-07

Added red flag law info to At A Glance table

2019-01-30

Stun guns added in At A Glance table as a permitted weapon

2019-01-25

Added church carry info to location restrictions section

2019-01-25

Links checked

2019-01-24

Added info about alcohol or prescription medication in At A Glance table

2019-01-10

Mag limit added to At A Glance table

2018-11-30

Added parking lot storage info to At A Glance table

2018-11-26

Added links

2018-10-22

Added initial CCW law and reciprocity information for Massachusetts

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Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2018.” 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.

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