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Legal Information: Massachusetts

State Gun Laws

November 12, 2020

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

In Massachusetts, anyone who wants to buy or have a gun must get a firearm license first, before s/he can possess any firearm. Massachusetts state law says that a person is only eligible for a license to have or buy a gun if s/he:

  • has not been convicted (or adjudicated a “youthful offender” or “delinquent child”) of any of the following either in Massachusetts or in another state:
    • a felony;
    • a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a jail or prison for more than two years;
    • a “violent crime” (defined here);
    • a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (defined here); or
    • any weapons offense or drug-related offense;
  • has not been committed to a hospital/institution for mental illness, alcohol, or substance abuse (unless after five years from the date of the confinement, the applicant submits an affidavit of a licensed physician or clinical psychologist to say that the person’s condition is not one that should prevent firearm possession);
  • is not subject to an order from the probate court appointing a guardian/conservator on his/her behalf due to lacking mental capacity;
  • has not been committed to treatment by a court due to being a drug addict or alcoholic;
  • is age 21 or older;
  • is not an undocumented immigrant, an “alien who does not maintain lawful permanent residency,” or was a citizen of the United States but has renounced that citizenship;
  • is not currently subject to an order for suspension and surrender of firearms license as part of a temporary or ex parte abuse prevention order or is not subject to a final abuse prevention order issued in Massachusetts or another state;
  • is not currently subject to an extreme risk protection order issued by Massachusetts or another state;
  • has not been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions;
  • is not a fugitive from justice; and
  • is not subject to an outstanding arrest warrant.1

1 Mass. Gen. Laws 140 § 131(d)