Posted on Monday, September 21st, 2015
Ohio has no law restricting fifty caliber rifles.
See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Ohio has no law restricting fifty caliber rifles.
See our Fifty Caliber Rifles policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
The New Jersey Constitution contains no provisions relating to the keeping or bearing of arms. However, New Jersey courts have generally upheld in-state firearm regulations that were otherwise challenged on Second Amendment grounds.
In the 2010 case Crespo v. Crespo, 989 A.2d 827 (N.J. 2010), the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that the “seizure of a defendant’s firearms upon a finding of domestic violence” did not violate an individual’s Second Amendment right to bear arms.1 The court noted that the Second amendment right to keep and bear arms “is incorporated as against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment,” and that “the right to possess firearms clearly may be subject to reasonable limitations.”2
In 2013, the Superior Court of New Jersey concluded that a statute requiring a showing of justifiable need prior to the issuance of a firearm permit did not violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.3 The court held that “[the] state law governing permits to carry handguns does not ‘burden any protected conduct’ under the Second Amendment,”4 and noted that it was unclear, in the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), whether the Second Amendment right extended outside the home.5
Massachusetts has no law restricting sales or purchases of multiple firearms.
See Restrictions on Multiple Purchases or Sales of Firearms for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
See our Mental Health Reporting policy for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 Massachusetts law states that Firearm Identification Cards (“FID”) and licenses to carry handguns may not be issued to applicants who have been committed to any hospital or institution for mental illness, or appointed a guardian or conservator on the grounds that he or she lacks the mental capacity to manage his or her affairs.2 Upon issuing the commitment order, the court must notify the person that he or she is prohibited from obtaining a FID or license to carry.3
No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers. In 2014, Massachusetts enacted a law significantly improving the state’s reporting of mental health information to NICS. The law requires courts to transmit certain mental health records, such as records of involuntary commitments and the appointment of a guardian or conservator, to the state Department of Criminal Justice Information Services for inclusion in NICS.4
The Department of Mental Health must keep records of the admission, treatment, and periodic review of all persons admitted to facilities under its supervision.5 However, the records of the Department of Mental Health are “private and not open to public inspection” except for certain specified purposes.”6 The 2014 law allows the use of such information for the purposes of conducting background checks. ((Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, § 36A.))
In addition, the 2014 law requires the Department of Mental Health to transmit to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, within 180 days of the effective date of the law, identifying information about anyone known to the Department of Mental Health to have been, within the preceding 20 years, committed to facilities for mental illness or substance/alcohol abuse; or determined by a adjudicative body to “pose a serious risk of harm” as defined by the law.7
For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Background Checks section and the section entitled Prohibited Purchasers Generally.
See our Background Checks Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)
Massachusetts is not a point of contact state for the NICS. As a result, in Massachusetts, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.1 A state administrative regulation confirms this requirement.2
Massachusetts also requires firearms owners to obtain a state license prior to purchase of a firearm, and the applicant for a license must undergo a background check before the license is issued. For more information about these licenses, see Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers below. Massachusetts requires firearms dealers to verify the validity of a potential transferee’s license prior to transferring a firearm.3 For licenses issued via the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System (MIRCS), the dealer must electronically submit:
The dealer must then verify the transferee’s identity and validity of his or her license by scanning the fingerprint or entering the personal identification number contained on the license.5 If the license presented is expired, suspended or revoked, the dealer must notify the licensing authority and may take possession of it (in the latter case, the dealer must provide the holder with a receipt for the FID, permit or license, notify the holder of the need to renew the FID, permit or license, and forward it to the licensing authority).6
Massachusetts does not allow private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to sell more than four guns a year.7. Although Massachusetts does not explicitly require private sellers to conduct a background check of prospective purchasers, in 2014, Massachusetts enacted a law requiring the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services to develop a web portal through which private sellers of firearms can conduct a real-time check of the validity of the purchaser’s Firearm Identification Card and other necessary licenses.8
For more information about Massachusetts licensing of gun owners and laws governing private sales, see Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Massachusetts and Private Sales.
Massachusetts has no law requiring the removal of firearms from persons who have become prohibited from possessing them. An individual’s firearm identification card must be revoked by the licensing authority following the occurrence of any event that renders the cardholder prohibited from possessing firearms.1 Upon receipt of the written notice of revocation from the licensing authority, the prohibited person must “without delay” deliver or surrender all firearms and ammunition in his or her possession to the licensing authority where he or she resides.2 After taking possession, the licensing authority may transfer possession of any firearms and ammunition to a licensed firearms dealer for storage purposes. The dealer must issue a receipt to the prohibited person, who is liable to the dealer for reasonable storage charges. Through the dealer, the prohibited person may then transfer any relinquished firearms to a person lawfully permitted to purchase or take possession of the weapon. After a year in storage, or 90 days of unpaid storage charges, relinquished firearms must be sold at public auction by the state police. After deduction and payment for storage charges and all costs associated with the surrender and transfer of the firearms, any surplus proceeds must be immediately returned to the prohibited person.3
For information about the 2014 law that allows law enforcement agencies to seek the denial or suspension of a firearm identification card to a person who poses a risk to public safety, see the Massachusetts Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section.
A 2014 Massachusetts law prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition, however no law requires courts to notify these domestic abusers that they are prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under state or federal law.1 The same law also requires courts to transmit records of certain domestic violence offenses to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (Department) for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).2
Massachusetts law also prohibits individuals who are currently subject to a permanent or temporary protection order protecting an adult or minor family or household member of the applicant from abuse from purchasing or possessing firearms.3 The term “family or household members” includes persons who:
– The length of time of the relationship;
– The type of relationship;
– The frequency of interaction between the parties; and
– If the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship.4
Massachusetts law requires a court that is issuing a temporary or emergency protection order (an order that a court can issue immediately upon the filing of a complaint by a family or household member who seeks protection from abuse) to order the immediate suspension and surrender of any license to carry firearms or firearms identification card which the defendant may hold and order the defendant to surrender all firearms and ammunition which he or she possesses to the appropriate law enforcement official.5 However, this requirement only applies if the plaintiff demonstrates a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse.6
Upon issuing a suspension or surrender order, the court must report the defendant’s identifying information to the Department for inclusion in NICS.7 Law enforcement officials who are serving such orders must immediately take possession of all such firearms, ammunition, licenses, and identification cards.8
Massachusetts law requires any law enforcement officer who has reason to believe that a family or household member has been abused or is in danger of being abused to use all reasonable means to prevent further abuse. 9 Massachusetts law does not, however, specifically authorize or require the law enforcement officer to remove firearms or ammunition in this situation.
See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
In Massachusetts, generally no one under 18 years of age may purchase a firearm or ammunition, and no one under 21 years of age may purchase a handgun, large capacity weapon or large capacity feeding device.1 Any person selling or furnishing a rifle, shotgun, machine gun or ammunition to any person under age 18 is criminally liable for a felony, as is any person selling or furnishing a handgun or large capacity rifle or shotgun or ammunition for those firearms to anyone under age 21.2
Under certain circumstances, however, minors may possess weapons. Persons “more than 14 but less than 18 years of age” may apply for a Firearm Identification Card (“FID”) if the applicant submits a certificate from his or her parent or guardian granting the applicant permission to apply for a FID. A FID will not issue to a minor until he or she reaches 15 years of age. This exception allows persons 15 years of age and older to possess rifles and shotguns. ((Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129B.))
In addition, a 2014 law allows someone to furnish a weapon to a minor for hunting, recreation, instruction and participation in shooting sports if the minor is supervised by a someone with a valid FID or license to carry, provided the minor’s parent or guardian has consented.3 Applicants for a license to carry a handgun must be at least 21 years of age.4
See our Private Sales policy for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Massachusetts law prohibits any person from transferring a firearm without possessing a Massachusetts firearms dealer license.1 This prohibition does not apply to an unlicensed person who transfers a firearm to a state or federally licensed dealer or to a historical society, museum or institutional collection that is open to the public.2
State law also exempts from this general prohibition unlicensed persons who transfer “not more than four” firearms in any one calendar year.3 Massachusetts does not explicitly require private sellers to conduct a background check of prospective purchasers. However, in 2014, Massachusetts enacted a law requiring the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services to develop a web portal through which private sellers of firearms can conduct a real-time check of the validity of the purchaser’s Firearm Identification Card and other necessary licenses.4 For further information, please see the Licensing of Gun Purchasers/Owners section.
Massachusetts law requires private sales of firearms to be reported to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services by both the seller and the purchaser. For more information, see the Retention of Sales / Background Checks Records section.
With certain exceptions (including for persons who transfer fewer than five handguns a year), Massachusetts law deems it an unfair or deceptive practice to transfer a handgun while failing to comply with any local, state or federal law or regulation intended to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices, such as laws or regulations that:
In addition, it is generally an unfair or deceptive practice for a handgun seller to make a material misrepresentation or false certification regarding a handgun offered for transfer.6
See our Dealer Regulations policy for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.
Massachusetts law requires any person who sells, rents, or leases a firearm to possess a Massachusetts firearms dealer license.1 This requirement does not apply to an unlicensed Massachusetts resident who transfers “not more than four” firearms in any one calendar year, so long as both the buyer and the seller have the proper cards, permits or licenses to possess or purchase firearms, and the seller reports the sale to the state.2
A city or town police department (“licensing authority”) may, after an investigation into the criminal history of the applicant, grant a firearms dealer license to any person except:
Every license must specify the street and number of the building where the business will be located.4 A firearms dealer’s business must not be located in a residence or dwelling and must be in the location identified on the license.5 The licensing authority is required to submit one copy of an applicant’s fingerprints to the department of state police, who must, within a reasonable period of time, advise the licensing authority in writing of any criminal record of the applicant.6 The licensing authority must also send a copy of the application to the commissioner of the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services.7
A law enacted in 2014 requires firearms dealers to conduct background checks of employees prior to hiring them. Dealers must search the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Information Services database for criminal offender information to determine the employee’s suitability to have direct and unmonitored contact with firearms. The law also requires dealers to conduct background checks of existing employees by July 1, 2015.8
Under federal law, federally licensed firearms dealers must conduct background checks on prospective purchasers each time the dealer transfers a firearm. Massachusetts also requires that dealers verify the validity of a potential transferee’s license prior to transferring a firearm. For further information, see the Massachusetts Background Checks section.
The licensing authority is required to conduct, and a dealer must submit to, one mandatory records and inventory inspection per year and a dealer’s records must be open to inspection by law enforcement “at all times.”9
A firearms dealer must not display any firearm in any outer window or in any place where it can be readily seen from the outside.10
For recordkeeping requirements, see the Retention of Sales / Background Checks Records section.
Any dealer who loses a firearm or has a firearm stolen must report the loss or theft “forthwith” to the licensing authority and the executive director of the criminal history systems board.11 The report must include a complete description of the weapon, including the make, model, serial number, caliber and whether such weapon is a “large capacity weapon.” (“Large capacity” includes assault weapons and most firearms capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition or more than five shotgun shells (either directly, or via a large capacity feeding device)).12
Massachusetts law prohibits any person from selling or furnishing a rifle, shotgun, machine gun or ammunition to any person under age 18 or selling or furnishing a handgun or large capacity rifle or shotgun or ammunition for those firearms to anyone under age 21.13
Any person selling firearm ammunition in Massachusetts must possess a license to do so.14 This license—distinct from a firearms dealer license—is subject to the same basic conditions as the dealer license.15 Once issued, both license types expire three years from the date of issuance.16
For further information on firearm-related sales restrictions for safety purposes, please see the Design Safety Standards section.