Under Massachsuetts criminal law, it is unlawful for a person to store or keep any firearm in any place unless such weapon is secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device properly engaged as to render the weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner.
To qualify as a securely locked container, the container must be capable of being unlocked only by means of a key, combination, or other similar means. This may include, for example, a safe, gun case, or locked cabinet. Under Massachusetts criminal law, the crime of Improper Storage of a Firearm may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 131L.
For the purposes of this offense, the weapon will not be deemed as improperly stored or kept if the weapon was at the time carried by or under the control of the owner or authorized user. That is, “carried” requires actual physical possession of the firearm and “under control” requires that a person be sufficiently nearby the firearm to prevent its immediate unauthorized use.
This provision specifically applies to those who have a valid LTC or FID Card. However, improper storage may be charged against a person without a valid license or permit, along with the more serious charge of unlicensed possession of a firearm.
Legal Elements of Improper Storage of a Firearm
In order to be found guilty of Improper Storage of a Firearm under Massachusetts criminal law, there must be strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- the defendant stored or kept a firearm, rifle, or shotgun
- that the defendant was not carrying or did not have under his or her immediate control the firearm, rifle, or shotgun
- the firearm, rifle, or shotgun was not secured in one of the two ways- either by storing the firearm, rifle, or shotgun in a locked contained, or with a properly engaged tamper resistant mechanical lock or other safety device
Potential Punishments if Convicted of Improper Storage of a Firearm in Massachusetts
The potential consequences for Improper Storage of a Firearm if convicted, in the Commonwealth may be found at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 131L. If convicted, and the weapon was a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, a defendant may be imprisoned for a term of not more than 1 ½ years. If the weapon was a large capacity weapon or machine gun, a defendant may be imprisoned for not less than 1 ½ years nor more than 12 years.
Furthermore, if a defendant holds a valid Class A License to Carry (LTC), he may not carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle unless the firearm is carried in such a way that it is under his direct control. If the defendant is a valid Class B License to Carry (LTC), the weapon must be unloaded and contained within the locked truck of the vehicle or in a locked case or other secure container. If convicted of either offense, the defendant will be required to pay a fine of $500. These penalties may be found under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 131C.
If you have been charged with Improper Storage of a Firearm call (508) 213-9113 to schedule a free consultation with top rated Massachusetts Gun Defense Lawyers of the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III.