I do not have an abuse prevention order and the abuser has not been convicted of any crimes. Can s/he have a gun?
According to Massachusetts state law, even if a person was not convicted of a crime and there is no abuse prevention order issued against him/her, s/he is not allowed to have or possess a gun if s/he:
- has 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 the person’s condition is not one that should prevent firearm possession);
- is subject to an order from the probate court appointing a guardian/conservator on his/her behalf due to lacking mental capacity;
- has been committed to treatment by a court due to being a drug addict or alcoholic;
- is under age 21;
- is 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;
- has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions;
- is a fugitive from justice; or
- is subject to an outstanding arrest warrant.1
If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Tips page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help. You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety. To find a shelter or organization near you please visit our MA Advocates and Shelters page.
For additional information on gun laws in Massachusetts, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website.
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.
1 Mass. Gen. Laws 140 § 131(d)
I've read through all of this information, and I am still confused. What can I do?
Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing, but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.
- You can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
- You can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area – see our MA Places that Help page.
- You can write to our Email Hotline.