Firearm Offenses in Motor Vehicles
Compared to the rest of the country, Massachusetts has strict gun-control laws.
There are several firearm offenses dealing with illegal possession or transport of certain weapons, most notably firearms. Regarding firearms and motor vehicles, there are several offenses dealing with unlawful possession of a firearm, including unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a loaded firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition.
The proper method of transporting firearms in a motor vehicle varies depending on the type of firearm in question and the type of firearm license held. M.G.L.c. 140 Section 131C explains the different scenarios:
- According to M.G.L.c. 140 Section 131C (a) No person carrying a loaded firearm with a proper license to carry shall carry the loaded firearm in a vehicle unless the loaded firearm while carried in the vehicle is under the direct control of the person. Violators will be punished by a fine of $500.
- According to M.G.L.c. 140 Section 131C(b) No person possessing a large capacity rifle or shotgun with a valid license shall possess the large capacity rifle or shotgun in a vehicle unless the large capacity rifle or shotgun is unloaded and contained within the locked trunk of the vehicle or in a locked case or other secure container. Violators will be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000.
Anyone convicted of the above offense shall be reported immediately by the court to the proper firearm licensing authority. The licensing authority will then immediately revoke the firearm identification card or license of the person convicted.
Leaving a Gun in Your Car Can Still Result in Weapons Offense Charges
Anyone that exits a motor vehicle, leaving their firearm in it, is no longer subject to the firearm transportation or carrying laws. Instead they are subject to the firearm storage law under M.G.L.A. c. 140 section 131L which states:
(a) It shall be unlawful to store or keep any firearm, rifle or shotgun including, but not limited to, large capacity weapons, or machine gun 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 so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner or other lawfully authorized user. For purposes of this section, such weapon shall not be deemed stored or kept if carried by or under the control of the owner or other lawfully authorized user.
Have You Been Charged With a Firearm or Another Weapons Offense?
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