While the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution permits citizens the right to bear arms, Massachusetts has a number of laws restricting the possession and use of firearms in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts imposes strict penalties for illegal possession of firearms, including minimum mandatory sentences for certain charges.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10 makes it illegal to knowingly possess a loaded or unloaded firearm / gun if you are not properly licensed to carry a firearm (often referred to as “FID” or “LTC” Card). M.G.L. Chapter 269 Section 10 also makes it illegal to knowingly possess dangerous weapons, including brass knuckles, certain knives, and other weapons.
With the exception of law enforcement and those with written permission, it is illegal to possess a firearm or dangerous weapon in Massachusetts while in a school building or on school grounds, including elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities. M.G.L. Ch. 269 Section 10(j).
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10H makes it illegal, whether licensed or not, to carry or possess in your vehicle a loaded firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Those who are legally permitted to possess a firearm are required to store their firearms when not in their possession or immediate control. A conviction for Improper Storage of Firearm carries a potential penalty of 1 ½ years in prison. Improper Storage of a large capacity weapon or machine gun carries much stricter penalties, including up to 12 years in prison. G.L. Ch. 140 S. 131L.
The Fourth Amendment and Massachusetts Declaration of Rights protect individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. An experienced criminal defense attorney will evaluate your case and determine whether your constitutional or civil rights were violated. If so, your attorney will file a motion for the suppression of evidence. Motions to Suppress may be filed if the discovery of a firearm or dangerous weapon by police was the result of an unreasonable search or seizure and potentially result in the exclusion of evidence and dismissal of charges.
Although “possession” requires knowledge and the “ability to exercise control over” the firearm or weapon, it does not require an individual to be in physical possession of the firearm or dangerous weapon. Constructive possession (i.e., not in physical possession) of the firearm or dangerous weapon is sufficient to meet the legal definition of possession so long as there is evidence to show the person had knowledge and the ability to exercise control over the firearm or dangerous weapon. A skilled defense attorney may successfully argue lack of knowledge or possession in situations where the person did not have the firearm or dangerous weapon on his or her person.
Attorney Anthony Riccio is experienced handling firearm / gun cases as a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor in Bristol County. His knowledge and understanding of gun laws and individuals’ constitutional and civil rights allows him to aggressively defend individuals in Massachusetts charged with firearm-related offenses.