In Massachusetts, in order to lawfully purchase or possess a rifle or shotgun which is not large capacity, or ammunition, a person must have a *Firearms Identification Card.

Q. How do I know if I’m eligible for an FID Card?
A. The FID Card will be refused to a person who:

  • has ever been convicted of a violent crime or a violation of any drug law;
  • within the last five years has been convicted of, or released from confinement, probation or parole for: a felony, adjudicated a youthful offender, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than two years (includes OUI after July 1994), or a violation of any gun law for which a sentence could be imposed;
  • has been confined to any hospital or institution for mental illness, or under treatment or confinement for drug addiction or habitual drunkenness, unless you submit an affidavit from a physician;
  • is the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant in any state or federal jurisdiction;
  • is under the age of 15 (or between 15 and 18 without written parental consent);
  • is not a resident of the Commonwealth; or
  • is the subject of a restraining order.

Q. How does the licensing process work?
A. See this .pdf flow chart of how your license is processed from initial application to issuance of license.

QWill I have to take a training course?
A. The law requires all persons not having a Card as of June 1, 1998 to provide a basic firearm safety
certificate upon application. Future Card renewals are exempt. Click here to check GOAL’s training schedule

QWhere do I apply for an FID Card?
A. At the police department in the city or town where you live or have a place of business.

Click here to download a MA FID/LTC/Class 3 application.

QHow long does the application process take?
A. The local police department must send your fingerprints to the Colonel of the state police within seven days of application; the Colonel has 30 days to respond. The Card can not be issued until the Colonel’s office has okayed it. It will take two to six weeks.

Q. What can I expect for the application procedure?
A. You will be required to fill out a standard application, be fingerprinted and be photographed (or supply photos of a specific size). You can also expect to be interviewed. Each Card is valid for six years from date of issue. The price has been standardized at $100.00, though you may be asked to pay for photos. Other than the basic firearms safety certificate, the law is very clear that the chief may not prescribe other conditions for the issuance of a Card.

Q. Is there more than one kind of Firearms Identification Card?
A. Yes. The law states an FID Card may also be issued solely for purchase or possession of chemical mace, pepper spray or other similar items. Although a limited Card holder must “renew” every four years, there will be no fee for renewal. A training course is not required for issuance of this license.

Q. >What will my Card cover?
A. Purchase and possession of rifles and shotguns that are not large capacity. The Card will cover handguns in the home only if they were bought with a temporary permit to purchase. Click here for a chart of what can be possessed with each license.

Q. Can I appeal a denial in court?
A. Yes. The law says you can appeal a suspension, revocation or denial of a Card by filing a petition for judicial review in district court within 90 days. The law also says that if you do not get a Card within 40 days from your date of application, you can assume you are denied and go to court. Chapter 150 of the Acts of 2004 created a Firearms Review board to review the cases of persons disqualified by misdemeanor convictions, and to vote on whether to restore the firearms rights of persons otherwise disqualified. Click here for our denial info page.

*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.


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