In Massachusetts, the crime of Carrying a Firearm Without a License is governed by General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10(a). To obtain a guilty verdict, the prosecution must prove the defendant knowingly possessed a firearm or had “control” over a firearm in a vehicle without a valid license to carry (LTC). Additionally, the prosecution must prove the gun was a “firearm” as defined by statute but does not need to prove it was loaded.

The prosecution is not required to prove the defendant had the firearm on his or her person (i.e., physical possession), but must show the defendant had the ability and intent to exercise control over the firearm. In cases where the defendant has a license to carry, the prosecution must prove the defendant was not permitted to possess the firearm outside his or her home or office.


The maximum penalty for the crime of Carrying a Firearm Without a License depends on whether the case is prosecuted in district court or superior court. Regardless, Carrying a Firearm carries a mandatory minimum sentence after a guilty finding. The term of imprisonment cannot be suspended and the defendant will not be eligible for release until at least 18 months have been served.
The maximum penalty for cases prosecuted in district court is 2 ½ years imprisonment in the house of correction with a mandatory minimum sentence of 18 months imprisonment. In superior court, the maximum penalty is 5 years in state prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 ½ years imprisonment.

Potential Defenses

In cases where the defendant did not physically possess the firearm, a commonly used defense to the charge of Carrying A Firearm is that he or she was not aware of the presence of the firearm and therefore did not “possess” it. When there is evidence the defendant may have known about the firearm, no intent to possess or lack of ability to exercise “dominion and control” of the firearm may be available defenses to the charge.

Contact a Massachusetts Gun Crimes Attorney

Founder / Lead Attorney Anthony R. Riccio focuses primarily on representing individuals who have been charged criminally in Massachusetts. Attorney Riccio represents individuals throughout the Commonwealth in district court, superior court, and federal court. As a former prosecutor in Massachusetts, Attorney Riccio has the ability to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a criminal case and pursues all avenues of defense to obtain the best results for his clients.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a gun/firearm offense, you need an experienced Massachusetts gun crimes lawyer on your side. Contact Riccio Law here or call (508) 226-4500 to schedule a free consultation.