Reconsider “Packing Heat” in Boston: Gun Laws in the US

by Katie Hewatt on June 25, 2012

Boston is the location of the original Tea Party and might be expected to have easy-going gun laws. Gun laws vary widely from state to state with 49 states having some sort of means to be able to carry a gun legally, whether it be a permit system or no restrictive laws. Though Massachusetts has a permit system, the laws are considered to be ambiguous and difficult for the average citizen to interpret.

Massachusetts Gun Licensing

Whereas many states have reciprocity agreements with other states that issue permits to carry a gun, Massachusetts does not. They do not honor any gun permit issued by another state. Massachusetts has a Class A and Class B license (permit) system. One would have to possess the Class A unrestricted license to be able to carry a gun concealed for protection. In Massachusetts, a license is required to even purchase or possess guns.

Even those who are just passing through Massachusetts with a gun inside a locked container and the ammunition stored in another locked container could wind up in trouble. The federal Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) makes it legal to travel through a state with a gun as long as it is locked in a container and the ammo is locked away in another container. However, the federal law only allows stopping for fuel, food, and to use the restroom on the way to a destination where the gun is legal for the owner to have.

This means that a simple vehicle breakdown instantly negates the protection under the federal law because the progress of “passing through” has ceased. It is the same for staying overnight at a hotel, or stopping to visit a friend or relative. Even pulling over to see a popular tourist attraction negates the protection of the federal statute. Actually, this is the same for all states. Once one stops for anything other than fuel, food or the restroom, that person then is under existing state gun laws. Since Massachusetts requires a license simply to possess a gun, that person instantly becomes a criminal.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Breaking Gun Laws

Boston is a hugely popular tourist attraction that is rich in American history. It is possible for a traveler to be under the impression he is following the laws of transporting a gun and suddenly find himself in need of the services of a Boston criminal defense lawyer. The penalties for the violation of gun laws in Massachusetts carry mandatory minimum sentences. Not only is ignorance of the law not an excuse, there is no leeway for even a sympathetic judge or district attorney to let a person off easy who truly was unaware of breaking the law.

Massachusetts has a non-resident permit system for those who are residents of other states to acquire a Class A or Class B license. Many who have applied say that they have been issued the Class B type. At least this permit covers unloaded guns locked up while in the state. Be aware that Massachusetts bans certain guns altogether. One simple error could cause anyone to wind up needing to hire a Boston criminal lawyer. If you do ever find yourself accused of gun law infractions in Massachusetts, be sure to immediately hire an attorney experienced in this area.

Author Katie Hewatt is a passionate researcher and a contributing author for the Boston Law Offices of Tracy D. Dudevoir, in addition, she likes to emphasize the importance of hiring an attorney when faced with legal charges.

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

Katie Hewatt

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