Gun Licenses Now Harder To Turn Down In Massachusetts After U.S. Supreme Court Ruling, State Officials Say

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Massachusetts police chiefs can no longer deny a firearms license because an applicant lacks what a chief considers a good reason to have it, state officials say.

While gun owners still need a license, less is left up to the discretion of license-issuing authorities in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

“Authorities should no longer deny, or impose restrictions on, a license to carry because the applicant lacks a sufficiently good reason to carry a firearm. An applicant who is neither a ‘prohibited person’ or ‘unsuitable’ must be issued an unrestricted license to carry,” states a joint advisory undated but issued Friday, July 1 by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Law enforcement authorities can continue to ask questions of applicants for a firearms license in order to determine if the applicant is a “prohibited person” or is “unsuitable” to carry a firearm under state law, state officials said.

But the burden shifts from an applicant having to show to a police chief that he should get a firearms license to a police chief having to show that he shouldn’t.

Other state gun laws and policies remain in place, at least for the time being.

Massachusetts residents need a state-issued Firearms Identification Card “in order to purchase, possess, or transport a rifle or shotgun that is not a large-capacity gun” and “to purchase or possess ammunition or component parts of ammunition,” according to the Gun Owners’ Action League.

Massachusetts residents need a state-issued License to Carry Firearms “in order to purchase, possess or transport a handgun, large capacity rifle, or large-capacity shotgun,” according to the Gun Owners’ Action League. That license also covers activities allowed with a Firearms Identification Card.

The Massachusetts state officials’ joint advisory comes in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision June 23 in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen.


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