Article 17 of the Massachusetts Constitution recognizes the right to bear arms. It reads as follows: “The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature, and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.”
In Massachusetts, a Firearm Identification License (FID) is required for the purchase of rifles and shotguns and a permit is required to purchase a handgun[i]. When an application of a person qualified to be granted a license is received, the authority may grant a permit to purchase, rent or lease a firearm if it appears that such purchase, rental or lease is for a proper purpose, and may revoke such permit at will[ii]. The purchaser should not be a minor. An applicant must have passed a State approved firearm safety course before applying for a license. The Police Department issues all approved applicants their license and all licensing information is stored by the Criminal History Board.
The laws governing firearms are stated under ALM GL ch. 140, § 121 et.seq.
The main government offices that regulate laws relating to firearms are:
Firearms Records Bureau
Attn: Firearms License
200 Arlington Street
Chelsea, Massachusetts 02150
Phone: (617) 660-4780
Massachusetts State Police
470 Worcester Road
Framingham, Massachusetts 01702
Phone: (508) 820-2300
[i] ALM GL ch. 140, § 131E
[ii] ALM GL ch. 140, § 131A