Last Updated: October 21, 2017
Disclaimer: While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.
With so many different gun laws across the country, keeping track of the laws on carrying concealed can get complicated.
Since part of the process of buying a handgun in Massachusetts involves getting a license to carry, you’ll want to keep in mind the extra laws that come with actually carrying your handgun around town.
This guide will go over everything you need to know on how to get a license to carry, and what you can do with it once you get one.
First Things First
For those of you who have already checked out our Massachusetts gun laws section, some of this will be a refresher to you, since the license to carry (LTC) issued by the state is also required to even buy a handgun in the first place. There are additional laws you’ll need to be aware of when actually carrying, though, so you’ll want to pay attention anyway.
Since Massachusetts is one of the more anti-gun states in the country, it should not be a surprise that it is a may-issue state. This means that even if you meet all the requirements and fill out the application correctly, the State may issue the license, but doesn’t have to. Cool.
Applying for the LTC
The LTC application is filed with your local police department where you live or have a place of business.
To qualify for an LTC, you must:
- Be 21 or older; and
- Provide proof of completion of a firearms safety course.
You will be automatically denied an LTC, however, if you:
- Are the subject of a restraining order;
- Are the subject of any outstanding arrest warrants;
- Have been confined to a hospital or institution for mental illness or been under treatment or confinement for drug addiction or habitual drunkenness; or
- Have been adjudicated as a minor or convicted as an adult, of:
- A felony;
- A misdemeanor that could have resulted in jail time for more than 2 years;
- A violent crime;
- A violation of a gun law that could have resulted in jail time; or
- A violation of a drug law.
If none of those apply to you, then you’re good to go on to the next step and take a firearms safety course! The course requirements should be satisfied by any Massachusetts-specific firearms safety course you find, as long as it is taught by an NRA-certified instructor.
The Waiting Game
Once you check and make sure you’ve provided all the required information, you can send off the application, and wait about 40 days to hear back, though it can take much longer, depending on the amount of other applications being filed by everyone else.
Hopefully you filled out everything correctly, and you’ve got good enough fortune for the state of Massachusetts issue you an LTC.
If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision by filing a petition for judicial review with the district court within 90 days. If you have waited the 40 days and haven’t heard back, you are allowed to assume you were denied, and start the appeal process right away.
Of course, since the police may issue the license, you will have to show that the denial was arbitrary. It’s much easier for the police to claim some legitimate-sounding reason why you were denied a license than for you to prove they just randomly decided to not issue the license. At that point, you can appeal to a higher court, or just settle for an FID license and get a long gun instead. Or move to a free state.
On the bright side, if you manage to get an LTC instead of a denial, you will only need to renew it every 6 years, unlike other states that require renewals every 2 years.
Where do you think you’re going?
Even with your hard-earned LTC, there are still some places that are off limits to you and your trusty sidearm.
You cannot carry your handgun, even with an LTC, into:
- Federal courthouses;
- Federal buildings or buildings leased by the federal government;
- Police stations, jails, prisons, or other detention facilities;
- Schools and school grounds; and
- Houses of worship.
Generally, any place with metal detectors is probably some place where your handgun is not allowed. If you are planning on carrying into somewhere else not listed above, it is a good idea to check what the policy is for that location. Some restaurants and private establishments have specific policies that prohibit firearms, while others (though very rare) may allow it and have no issue at all.
In general, if you’re not sure about whether your handgun is allowed or not, it is a good idea to leave it in your gun safe in the car, and just pick it up again when you get back from your errands. Your hip may feel a little naked from not having the gun attached, but you’ll just have to power through the pain.
One of the benefits of having an LTC is that it is recognized in almost half the states in the US, and allows you to carry concealed just like you would in Massachusetts. In most cases, since other states are more lax in their concealed carry, you’ll actually be able to carry in more places and situations than you would back home.
Your Massachusetts LTC is recognized in:
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
If any of those states are part of your next vacation, it wouldn’t hurt to check out our CCW section on those particular states to see what the specific laws are.
If you’re stopping in Massachusetts on your next vacation and have a CCW permit from your home state, then there’s some bad news. Massachusetts does not recognize CCW permits from any other states. You’ll have to leave your guns at home. Or visit another state. Sorry.
That’s it! All you need to know about getting a license to carry from the great Bay State! Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance, too!
And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our general Massachusetts gun laws page to brush up on your knowledge of the tons of gun laws in the state!