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Legal Information: Massachusetts

State Gun Laws

November 12, 2020

I have a temporary abuse prevention order against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

Under Massachusetts state law, the judge can order the immediate suspension of the abuser’s license to carry firearms and firearm identification card as part of an ex parte or emergency abuse prevention order if the person requesting the order shows that there is a “substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse.” In addition, unlike in other states, Massachusetts law clearly states that when law enforcement serves the abuse prevention order, summons, and complaint upon the defendant, the defendant must immediately hand over (surrender) all of the following to law enforcement:

  • his/her license to carry firearms;
  • his/her firearms identification card; and
  • all firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, and ammunition that s/he controls, owns, or possesses.1

      The defendant does have the right to petition the court to ask the judge to reconsider the order for suspension and surrender. The issue would then be set down for a hearing within ten business days after the abuser files the petition. However, if the defendant files an affidavit with the petition in which s/he explains that a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or ammunition is required for his/her job, s/he can request that the hearing be held within two business days.2 You will be notified of the hearing and have an opportunity to be present.

      1 Mass. Gen. Laws 209A §§ 3B; 7
      2 Mass. Gen. Laws 209A § 3B