See our Locking Devices policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Pursuant to Massachusetts law, it is unlawful to store or keep any firearm:
[U]nless such weapon is secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner or other lawfully authorized user. For purposes of this section, such weapon shall not be deemed stored or kept if carried by or under the control of the owner or other lawfully authorized user.1
Firearms dealers must conspicuously post at each purchase counter the following warning in bold type of not less than one inch in height: “IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE OR KEEP A FIREARM, RIFLE, SHOTGUN OR MACHINE GUN IN ANY PLACE UNLESS THAT WEAPON IS EQUIPPED WITH A TAMPER-RESISTANT SAFETY DEVICE OR IS STORED OR KEPT IN A SECURELY LOCKED CONTAINER.” Dealers must also provide the warning in writing to the transferee of any firearm in bold type not less than one-quarter inch in height.2
Any handgun or large capacity weapon sold in Massachusetts without a safety device designed to prevent discharge by unauthorized users is considered defective and the sale of such a weapon shall constitute a breach of warranty and an unfair or deceptive trade act or practice.3 The Department of State Police has approved a list of such devices.
In addition, Massachusetts deems unfair or deceptive the transfer or offer to transfer of any handgun that does not contain a mechanism which precludes an average five year old child from operating a handgun when it is ready to fire. Such mechanism may include, but is not limited to, a raised trigger resistance, alteration of the firing mechanism so that a child’s hands are too small to operate it, or the requirement of multiple motions in order to fire the weapon. It is also an unfair or deceptive trade practice to transfer or offer to transfer a handgun that does not contain a load indicator or magazine safety disconnect.4