Massachusetts is one of those states that have stringent gun laws.

The state issues various types of permits for both concealed carry and open carry, alongside a firearm identification card.

To open carry in Massachusetts, the first thing is to understand gun statues in the state before that of local municipalities.

Massachusetts Gun Law Summary

Massachusetts issues License to Carry and firearm identification for the possession of firearms in the state.

A local police station is in charge of processing license applications for residents of the state, while the Massachusetts police firearm record bureau is in charge of non-residents’ application.

Massachusetts is a May-issue state.

To buy a firearm, you can either use a License to Carry or the firearm identification card.

All dealers must complete a background check by verifying a buyer’s firearm identification card with the Massachusetts criminal justice department.

You can also use your LTC to purchase ammunition in the state.

Dealers of a firearm must keep all records of sales and report them to the criminal justice department.

To apply for the identification card or the state License to Carry, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

Is Open Carry Legal In Massachusetts?

Yes, open carry in Massachusetts is legal with a Class B License to Carry issued for this purpose.

However, you cannot open carry in all locations of the state.

Massachusetts does not preempt gun laws, so you must be aware of local regulations for open carry.

Open Carry Laws In Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a licensed open carry state, and this means that you must meet the requirement to obtain a license that qualifies you for open carry in the state.

The state has a firearm roster for guns approved, according to the public safety department.

Dealers of firearms in the state cannot sell outside of this approved list.

The exceptions for firearms in this list are those owned before the twenty-first of October in 1998, and other guns manufactured for professional shooting sport in the Olympics.

Massachusetts Open Gun Law Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.YesYesIf you do not have a class B license to carry, you cannot open carry in Massachusetts
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoAlthough there are no firearm registrations in the state, all owners of firearms must be on the department of public safety record.  Also, firearm dealers must keep records of sales and make it readily available to the department.
Assault weapon for open carry.YesYesAssault weapons are not entirely prohibited in Massachusetts, but they must not be illegally possessed too.
Magazine limitYesYesNo magazine of more than ten rounds is allowed in the state
License for the owner of a firearm.YesYesYes, every firearm owner in Massachusetts must have a firearm identification.
Red flag lawYesYesMassachusetts has a red flag law for the prohibition of a firearm for anyone considered to be a threat. Only a law court can approve this petition.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesYou have no duty to retreat an attack in your dwelling place, and you must defend yourself, protect your property, and the life of anybody staying with you in the dwelling place.
Background check for private dealersYesYesThe criminal record background check is compulsory for all dealers in the state. Private dealers can complete this check using the buyer’s firearm identification number. Also, all firearm transfers in the state must be completed via Massachusetts’s transfer portal.
PreemptionNoNoMassachusetts does not have any gun law preemption, therefore local areas can regulate gun laws in their territories
Concealed carry permit.YesYesYou can conceal carry in Massachusetts if you have a Class A permit.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleYesYesWith your Massachusetts license to carry, you can conceal carry in a personal vehicle.  
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoMassachusetts gun statute prohibits the possession of firearms and open carry in schools, colleges, universities, vocational institutions, and technical institutions.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts you can open carry in the following places:

  • Restaurant and Bars: You can open carry and possess your firearm in a restaurant, except the management prohibits it.
  • Roadsides: You can open carry in state roadside areas.
  • State forests and parks: You can open carry and possess your firearm in Massachusetts forests and parks, as well as wildlife management areas.
  • Places of worship: You can open carry in places of worship except those that have post prohibiting the possession of firearms in their premises.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Massachusetts?

Massachusetts open carry is impossible in the following parts of the state.

  • Schools: You cannot open carry in schools, secondary or elementary, colleges, and universities in Massachusetts.
  • Courthouses: You cannot open carry with the premises of a courthouse or during a court proceeding in the state.
  • Airports: You cannot open carry in secured zones of airports in Massachusetts.
  • Snowmobiles: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in Massachusetts while using a state off-highway vehicle like a snowmobile.
  • Prohibited places: You cannot open carry in areas prohibited by gun laws of the USA.

FAQs About Open Carry Massachusetts

Some of the most frequently asked questions about open carry in Massachusetts include the following:

Must I Get A Permit Before I Open Carry In Massachusetts?

Yes, you cannot open carry without a Massachusetts license to carry.

Will I Use The Same License For Open And Concealed Carry In Massachusetts?

No. Massachusetts has two types of licenses issued in the state, Class A and Class B licenses.

Class A licenses are for a concealed carry permit in the state, while Class B licenses are for open carry.

At What Age Can I Open Carry In Massachusetts?

If you are twenty-one years old or more, you can legally open carry in Massachusetts.

What Is The Age For Concealed Carry In Massachusetts?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to conceal carry a firearm in Massachusetts.

At What Age Can I Apply For Massachusetts License To Carry Firearms?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to apply for any firearm-related permit in the state.

Does Massachusetts Have Red Flag Law?

Yes, Massachusetts enforces a protection or restriction order for the sales, purchase, possession, and handling of firearms in the state.

Is Massachusetts License To Carry Valid For Non-residents Of The State?

Yes. Non-residents can apply for a Massachusetts license to carry, and the process to do so is the same as that of state residents.

Does Massachusetts Recognize Constitutional Carry In The State?

No. Massachusetts prohibits constitutional carry.  

Can I Open Carry Knives In Massachusetts?

There are no prohibitions for the possession of knives in Massachusetts.

However, the state forbids other weapons like daggers, stilettos, or additional devices for knives like locking blades, knuckle knives, ballistic knives, or automatic knives.

Massachusetts prohibits all of these weapons from concealed carry and open carry in the state.  

Also, the location restrictions for firearms in the state apply to that of knives and other weapons.

Municipalities, counties, and districts may adopt more restrictions and regulations.

Do Massachusetts Have Firearm Restrictions In The State?

The state prohibits the illegal possession of assault weapons. To use machine guns and firearms, you must register with the department of police.

Must I Obtain A Purchase Permit Before Buying Firearms In Massachusetts?

Yes, you must apply for Massachusetts firearm identification or have a license to carry before you buy a firearm in the state.

Must I Complete A Criminal Record Background Check Before Buying Firearms In Massachusetts?

Yes. All firearm dealers in Massachusetts must run a criminal record background check before completing the sales of a firearm.

When Will My Massachusetts License To Carry Expire?

The license to carry is valid for six years, after which you have to apply for a renewal license.

Do I Have A Duty To Inform Law Enforcement Officers About My Possession Of Firearms In Massachusetts?

No. There are no requirements to inform or notify a police officer if you are in possession of a firearm.

Does Massachusetts Have Castle Doctrine Policy?

Yes. The state laws explain that there is only a duty to retreat outside one’s home of residence. But while in a dwelling place, a person can stand his or her grounds.

Am I Permitted To Make Use Of Deadly Force In Massachusetts?

Yes. A person who makes use of deadly force to prevent severe bodily harm or an imminent death will get immunity from civil liability in the state because he or she is adjourned to be acting in self-defense.

Must I Complete A Firearm Training Before I Apply For License To Carry In Massachusetts?

Yes. To obtain Massachusetts firearm identification or a license to carry in the state, you must complete a firearm training conducted by a certified instructor and approved by the police department.

Is Registration Of Firearms Compulsory In Massachusetts?

No, there are no firearm registrations in the state, but ownership of firearms must be on the department of public safety and security record.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In Massachusetts

Here are some of Massachusetts gun laws that you must know if you intend to open carry in the state.

Magazine Limits

Massachusetts gun law limits the number of rounds in a magazine to less than ten, with exceptions to firearms legally owned since September nineteen-ninety-four.

Also, tubular devices that can accept and operate ammunition that has twenty-two calibers are an exemption.

Ammunition Restrictions

In Massachusetts, you cannot possess a machine gun or semiautomatic firearm without gaining permission from the state police department.

Preemption Law

Massachusetts does not have preemption gun laws; therefore, state laws do not surpass local laws.

So, municipalities and counties can enact gun laws in their localities to regulate the use of firearms and other weapons.

Red Flag Laws

Massachusetts has red flag laws that allow a family member or a law enforcement officer to file a petition suspending a person’s license to carry a firearm and restrict the person from owning, buying, and selling a gun in the state.

Brandishing Of Firearms

It is illegal to brandish a firearm unlawfully in Massachusetts.

Anybody that uses a gun or any other weapon in a dangerous manner, or in such a way that shows an attempt to attack or use excessive force against someone physically, is guilty of committing an assault.

Possession Of Firearms Under The Influence Of Alcohol

It is a prohibition to have a firearm while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, stimulants, or any other intoxicating substance, according to section ninety-four C of the statute.

Section two hundred and seventy extends this to any fume or substance that releases vapors.

Open Carry While Hunting

You can possess a firearm while hunting except if you are bow hunting.

Massachusetts prohibits the possession of firearms while hunting for deer in the state.

The state also has hunter harassment statutes to help protect hunting activities.

They include the following:

  • Nobody shall disturb or interfere with any hunting activity in the state, or prevent a legal taking of animals in the wild in an area licensed for such activity.
  • Nobody shall disturb wildlife or fishes to interrupt legal hunting.
  • Nobody shall harass, disturb, or impede a person that has the license to hunt in wildlife areas or fishes in aquatic areas.
  • Nobody shall use any manner of stimuli to affect animals in wildlife or fishes, in such a way that they influence hunting activity, or prevent the possibility of taking the animals.
  • Nobody shall, to prevent hunting movements, erect a barrier in a place meant for legal hunting activities.
  • Nobody shall put himself or herself in line of fire to prevent the legal taking of an animal in the wild.
  • Nobody shall affect the settings of a property, either personal or public owned, intended to hunt wildlife.
  • Nobody shall trespass on public or private land used for hunting without obtaining permission from the owner or those in charge of the property.

Additional Resources

Massachusetts Gun Laws
Massachusetts Concealed Carry Laws
Massachusetts Gun Permit Laws

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