State Law Background
Among other things, Massachusetts:
- Requires any person who sells, rents or leases a firearm to obtain a state dealer license (unlicensed sellers may transfer no more than 4 firearms per year);
- Bans some assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines, but not 50 caliber rifles;
- Requires all firearm purchasers to obtain a license, and report any lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement;
- Prohibits the sale of “unsafe handguns” not on the roster of approved handguns;
- Maintains permanent records of firearm sales;
- Requires the reporting of mentally ill individuals to the federal database used for firearm purchaser background checks; and
- Allows family members, household members, dating partners, and law enforcement to act to temporarily disarm dangerous people by using an Extreme Risk Protection Order.
However, Massachusetts does not:
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases, although the purchaser must hold a valid license; or
- Require unlicensed firearm sellers to conduct a background check on the purchaser, although they must ensure that the purchaser holds a license.
Local governments in Massachusetts retain authority to regulate firearms and ammunition, and the local licensing authority in Massachusetts has discretion in determining whether to issue a license to carry a firearm.
In 2016, Massachusetts had the lowest rate of gun deaths among the 50 states. According to 2016 Firearms Trace Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the national crime gun export rate is almost 6.5 times the crime gun export rate in Massachusetts. Massachusetts had the 4th lowest rate of crime gun exports among the states in 2016–meaning that crime guns originally sold in Massachusetts were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at the 4th lowest rate among the states.
Massachusetts Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Massachusetts, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.