Traveling with firearms into and out of Massachusetts
MA Non Resident Information
Please note! Currently many legal experts disagree on the applicability of the non-resident exemption oulined below (Chapter 140, Section 131G). If you are a non-resident and planning on travelling to MA with firearms we encourage you to read the information below and do other research before your trip. Many legal experts consider the non-resident exemption to be invalid because of a minor grammatical error in the language of the law.
- Handguns - possession by a non resident for the purpose of attending the following; competition, a meeting or exhibition of any organized firearms collecting group, or hunting.
- Long Guns - possession by a non resident for the purpose of attending the following; competition, a meeting or exhibition of any organized firearms collecting group, hunting or while on a firing or shooting range.
- Ban Compliant Modern Sporting Rifles (allowed under the above exemption for Long Guns) - All Modern Sporting Rifles must be ban compliant! compliance definitions here.
*Please read the full page below for more detailed information as to what is allowed
- "Carrying" of any firearm, this means open or concealed carry of any kind of firearms, with the exception of the above mentioned exemptions, is not permitted unless you have an unrestricted non-resident LTC.
- Magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition (unless mfg before 9/13/1994)
- Modern Sporting Rifles made after 9/13/94 unless they are in a post ban configuration, see compliance definitions here
- Purchase of ammunition even with a MA Non-Resident LTC this is not allowed
- Possession of Machine Guns by a Non-Resident.
*Please read the full page below for more detailed information as to what is not allowed
MA Laws that apply to Non-Residents
Chapter 140, Section 131G Carrying of Firearms by Non-Residents (this is the MA law that applies. bold with notes by GOAL)
Any person who is not a resident of the Commonwealth may *carry a pistol or revolver in or through the commonwealth for the following purpose of taking part in a pistol or revolver competition or attending any meeting or exhibition of any organized group of firearms collectors or hunting; provided, however, that such a person is a resident of the United States, and has a **permit or license to carry firearms issued under the laws of any state, district or territory thereof which has licensing requirements which prohibit the issuance of permits or licenses to persons who have been convicted of a felony or who have been convicted of the unlawful use, possession or sale of narcotic or harmful drugs; provided, further, that in the case of a person traveling in or through the commonwealth or by the state of his destination.
Police officers and other peace officers of any state, territory or jurisdiction within the United States duly authorized to possess firearms by the laws thereof shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have a permit or license to carry firearms as described in this section.
*as used above, “carry” actually means possession of a firearm, unloaded, and locked in a case. This does not mean that an out of state resident can carry concealed or otherwise on his or her person without a MA LTC. The firearm must remain in the case until such time as the competition, hunting, etc. is taking place
**If you are a resident of VT or AK, or any other state which does not have an issued license per-se it is recommended that you get a letter of certification from your Chief of Police, County Sheriff, etc. Stating that you have no conviction etc. and that you are a citizen in good standing.
Bullet Points for this section:
- Exemption From LTC: This section provides nonresidents with an exemption from needing a temporary LTC.
- Purpose for the Exemption: This exemption only allows certain nonresidents to carry a firearm in or through the state for purposes of competition, attending a collectors’ show, or hunting. It does not allow carry for personal protection.
- Exemption Conditions: For this exemption to apply, a person must have a license to carry firearms from another state which prohibits persons from possessing firearms who have been convicted of any felony or any drug violation.
- States without permits: Nonresidents traveling in or through Massachusetts with a handgun who come from a state such as Vermont which has no handgun permitting process are not exempt under this statute.
- Hunting Exemption: In addition to a person having a license to carry firearms from another state, if they are coming in or through Massachusetts with a firearm, for this exemption to apply, they must have a hunting license either here or in the state of their destination and it must be hunting season.
- Police Exemption: Off –duty nonresident police officers are considered to have a permit in another state in compliance with the requirements of this section for an exempted person to have a permit in his own state, ONLY for the purpose listed in this section (i.e. competition, hunting, collecting). This exemption does not allow such officers to carry for personal protection. An exemption for nonresident officers in Massachusetts may carry if doing so in the performance of their duty under Chapter 41, section 98
But wait, there's more!
Chapter 140 Section 129 also applies and includes long guns
Section 129C. No person, other than a licensed dealer or one who has been issued a license to carry a pistol or revolver or an exempt person as hereinafter described, shall own or possess any firearm, rifle, shotgun or ammunition unless he has been issued a firearm identification card by the licensing authority pursuant to the provisions of section one hundred and twenty-nine B.
- (f) Possession of rifles and shotguns and ammunition therefor by nonresident hunters with valid nonresident hunting licenses during hunting season;
- (g) Possession of rifles and shotguns and ammunition therefor by nonresidents while on a firing or shooting range;
- (h) Possession of rifles and shotguns and ammunition therefor by nonresidents traveling in or through the commonwealth, providing that any rifles or shotguns are unloaded and enclosed in a case;
- (i) Possession of rifles and shotguns by nonresidents while at a firearm showing or display organized by a regularly existing gun collectors’ club or association;
- (p) Carrying or possession by residents or nonresidents of so-called black powder rifles, shotguns, and ammunition therefor as described in such paragraphs (A) and (B) of the third paragraph of section 121, and the carrying or possession of conventional rifles, shotguns, and ammunition therefor by nonresidents who meet the requirements for such carrying or possession in the state in which they reside.
Please note, if you are bringing any type of modern sporting rifle (AR, AK, FN etc.) into MA it must be ban compliant. MA still recognizes the now expired Federal AWB, also possession of large capacity magazines manufactured after the ban is illegal in MA.
FOPA Protection: (Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986) There is also protection from prosecution for gun owners under federal statute, as follows;
"Safe Passage" provision. This provision gives gun owners protection from prosecution while driving from state to state. In order for the protection to apply all firearms must be locked in tamper proof cases, unloaded. (we recommend having no ammunition in the case with the firearm) also, the firearm must not be readily available from the passenger compartment of the transporting vehicle (do not use glovebox or console to lock gun in) GOAL recommends that ALL firearms and ammunition are locked in separate cases at all times while driving from state to state as there is no case law to define "loaded". Be sure to check the local laws of any state which you plan to stop in as they vary greatly. (see below) Other useful links.Check the NRA page on interstate travel for more information.
Please note: You must be able to legally possess firearms at your destination, please check the laws of your destination before departure!
Traveling to other states?
Check out USACarry.com, a great site with an interactive map that show licensing requirements, as well as licensing information for every state.
*This page is made possible by the membership of GOAL and their generous donations. If you found this page helpful please Join - Support - Donate to GOAL.