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Criminal Convictions-Firearm Licensing Consequences

Criminal convictions can have a lasting impact on your ability to receive a firearms license. Below find some of the major points concerning the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction in Massachusetts concerning firearm licenses. This area of the law is constantly changing and evolving and the items below offer just a brief overview of some of the more common items in this area.

~If you have been convicted of a criminal offense in Massachusetts there could be consequences concerning your ability to obtain a firearm license. Under federal law it is unlawful for a convicted felon to carry a firearm.

~Massachusetts law severely restricts those who are able to possess a firearm. These restrictions include individuals who have been:

  1. convicted of a felony;

  2. convicted of a misdemeanor that carried the possibility of a sentence greater than two years;

  3. individuals convicted of violent crimes;

  4. individuals who have violated firearm possession laws carrying a punishment of imprisonment; and,

  5. individuals who have violated most narcotics laws.

~The Massachusetts firearms statute has an unlimited look back period. Therefore, even if you were found guilty of a crime 20+ years ago, you are not immune from having your license to carry revoked or your application denied. The fact that you have been a law-abiding citizen for decades is irrelevant. Even the fact that you may need a weapon for employment purposes is irrelevant. Additionally, even if a conviction for a disqualifying offense (those mentioned above) is avoided, the chiefs of police still retain jurisdiction to deny the license based on other circumstances.

~Under the current law, if you are concerned with firearm license restrictions based on a criminal charge, an attorney should explore the possibility of dispositional alternatives to your criminal matter. Such alternatives include a continuance without a finding or a general continuance. Further, some reduced charges may also eliminate a charge from being classified as a disqualifying offense. However, once again the police chiefs still retain discretion concerning eligibility for a license to carry.

~If your past conviction disqualifies you from a firearms license or is the cause for an application denial, you may apply for relief through the Firearm License Review Board. It is your burden to prove your suitability to receive an FID card or a license to carry by clear and convincing evidence. The board must find by a two-thirds vote in your favor.


If you have received notice that your license to carry is being revoked, or you have filed an application concerning a firearms license that has been denied due to a prior criminal conviction contact one of our attorneys. There are methods and opportunities in which to approach the Firearm License Review Board in an attempt to demonstrate your suitability to receive such a license. Contact us today. (508) 943-7800;

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