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THECOMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

OFFICEOF THEATTORNEY GENERAL


ONEASHBURTON PLACE
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS02108
MAURAHEALEY

TEL:(617) 7272200

ATTORNEYGENERAL

\vww.mass.gov/ago

December22,2015

DearSir/Madam:
Iwritetoexpresstoyou,thelicensedfirearmsdealersofMassachusetts,mycommitment
tokeepinggunsawayfromthosewhoposeadangertothemselvesandtoothers.Sincethe
tragedyatSandyHookElementarySchoolthreeyearsago,nearly100,000peopleinAmerica
havebeenkilledwithagun.Forme,thisisapublichealthcrisisandactingtoaddressitisa
moralimperative.Therearesimplytoomanygunsthataretooeasytoobtain.
GuntransactionsinMassachusettsaresurging.In2014,thestateFirearmsRecords
Bureaurecorded102,081salesandtransfersofhandguns,rifles,andshotgunsbyMassachusetts
firearmsdealerstolicensedstateresidents,morethandoublethenumberfrom2006.1 Youare
sellingmoreweaponstomorepeopleatascaleandatatimethatdemandsaheightened
vigilancefromeverydealerandemployee.
Therearemanycausesofgunviolenceandnosimplesolutions,butinMassachusettswe
havethebenefitofstrongstatelawsandregulationstoassistlawenforcementandlawabiding
gundealersinkeepingthepublicsafe.Atthismomentofdeepandjustifiableangerovergun
violence,youhaveaseriousroleinensuringpublicsafety.Itakethisopportunitytoremindyou
ofsomeofyoursignificantlegalobligations underourstategunlaws.Compliancewithfederal
gunlawsisalsorequired.Incertaintransactions,otherstate'slawmaycontrol.

Please note that this letter is only a summary. It is not intended to be comprehensive.
The laws and regulations cited in this letter should be consulted for more comprehensive and
specific information
Legal obligations of licensed firearms dealers in Massachusetts
Youradherencetothesestatelaws,aswellasyourpropercompliancewithfederal
backgroundcheckandotherrules,isatoppublicsafetypriority.Pleasecarefullyreviewthelist
below,whichincludeskeylegalrequirementsthatdealers,absentspecificexceptions,must
followtocomplywithMassachusettslaw.
1"State LicensedFireannsDealerTransactions20062014,"Comm.ofMass.Dept.ofCriminalJusticeInformation

Services,FirearmsRecordsBureau, available af http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/chsb/firearms/massachusettsgun


dealertransactions20062014.pdf.

December22,2015
Page2

1) Anypersonwhosells,rentsorleasesfirearmsmustpossessalicenseasaMassachusetts

2

3
FirearmsDealer. Alicensetosellammunitionisalsorequired. Thelicenseexpiresand
mustberenewedafterthreeyears.4
2) Itisunlawfulforanydealertodeliverafirearmtoanypersonwhodoesnothaveastate
issuedlicensetocarryfirearmsortodeliverarifleorshotguntoanypersonwhodoesnot
haveafirearmidentificationcard.3
3) ItremainsunlawfulunderMassachusettslawtosellprohibitedassaultweaponsorlarge
capacityfeedingdevices.ThesearethesameweaponsmadeillegalundertheFederalAssault
WeaponsBanof1994.ThoseweaponsmaynotbesoldunderMassachusettslaw.6
4) Ifadealerispresentedwithanexpired,suspended,orrevokedidentificationcardorlicense,
thedealermustnotifythelicensingauthority(thecityortownpolice)ofthepresentmentand
maytakepossessionofthecardorlicense.7
5) Everydealermustcomplywithelectronicrecordkeepingonallguntransactionsasdirected
bythestate'sCommissioneroftheDepartmentofCriminalJusticeInformationServicesand
asfurtherarticulatedinstateregulations.8 Foreveryguntransfer,firearmsdealersmust
recordinasalesrecordbook:1)thecompletedescriptionofthefirearm,includingthemake,
serialnumber,firearmtype,anddesignationasalargecapacityweapon,ifapplicable;2)
whetheritwassold,rentedorleased;3)thesex,residenceandoccupationofthetransferee;
and4)thetransferdate.9 Thedealermustalsorecordthepurchaser'slicensetocarryor
firearmidentificationcardnumber.10
6) Dealersmayonlysellhandgunsthatmeetthesafetyandperfonnancestandardsexpressedin
statelawandregulations,includingprotectionagainstaccidentaldischargeorexplosionupon
firing.TheSecretaryoftheExecutiveOfficeofPublicSafetyandSecurityhascompiledan
ApprovedFirearmsRoster,pursuanttoM.G.L.c.140,1313/4and501CMR7.00.Dealers

2Mass. Gen.Lawsch.140,122.Mass.Gen.Laws ch.140,128Aexemptscertainindividualsfrompossessinga

MassachusettsFirearmsDealer licensewhotransfernotmorethanfour firearmsinanyonecalendaryear.


3Mass.Gen.Laws ch.140,122B.
4Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,124. Theapplicationforrenewalisavailableat
http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/chsb/fueanns/updateddealerammogunsmithapprevised051915.pdf
5Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123.Undercertain circumstancesapurchasermusthaveapermittopurchaseissued
underMass.Gen.Lawsch.140, 131A.
6Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123; seealsoDefinitionof"AssaultWeapon"inMass.Gen.Lawsch.140, 121.
7Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123.
8Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123;803 CMR10.00etseq.
9Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123.
10Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123.

December22,2015
Page3
aregenerallyprohibitedfromsellingfirearmsthatarenotontheApprovedFirearms
Roster.11
7) DealersarealsoprohibitedfromsellinghandgunsthatdonotmeettheAttorneyGeneral's
handgunsalesregulationsonchildsafety,12tamperresistantserialnumbers,13 andload
indicatorsormagazinesafetydisconnectsforsemiautomatichandguns.14 Asaprofessional
inthisfield,youarewellawareofwhetherthefirearmsyousellhavefeaturesthatsatisfy
theserequirements.Ifthereisanydoubtregardingaparticularfirearm,thesimplestwayfora
dealertocomplywiththeseprovisionsistoobtainacertificationfromthemanufacturerthat
afirearmmeetsthehandgunregulationrequirements.
8) Dealersmustsecurefirearmsinlockedcontainersorequippedwithtamperresistant
mechanicallocksorothersafetydevices.13
9) Allfireanns andlargecapacityweaponssoldinMassachusettsmustincludeorincorporatea
safetydeviceapprovedbythecolonelofstatepolice.16
10)Dealersmaynotdisplaygunsinouterwindowsoranyotherplaceswheretheweapon"can
bereadilyseenfromtheoutside"andallgunsmustbeunloaded whendelivered.17
11)Dealersmustpostconspicuouslyateverypurchasecounterandprovideinwritingtoeach
gunpurchaserthefollowingwarning:"ITISUNLAWFULTOSTOREORKEEPA
FIREARM,RIFLE,SHOTGUNORMACHINEGUN INANYPLACEUNLESSTHAT
WEAPONISEQUIPPEDWITHATAMPERRESISTANTSAFETYDEVICEORIS
STOREDORKEPTINASECURELYLOCKEDCONTAINER."18
12)Dealersmustpostconspicuouslyanddistributeateachpurchasecountersuicideprevention
informationdevelopedbytheDepartmentofPublicHealth.19 Suchaposterisavailableat
http://www.mass.gov/eolilis/docs/dph/comhealth/iniurv/gunsafetvPoster.pdf.
13)Dealerssellinghandgunsmust1)provideaspecificwrittensafetywarningtocustomers;2)
demonstratetoretailcustomershowtosafelyload,unload,andstorethehandgunbeingsold;
howtooperateallsafetydevices;andnotetheabsence,ifany,ofaloadindicator,a
11Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123;TheApprovedFireannsRosterisavailableat
http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/chsb/fireamis/approvedfirearmsroster052015.pdf.
12940CMR 16.05(2),(4).
13940CMR16.03.
14940CMR16.05(3),(4);940CMR16.01, 16.05(3);seealsoAttorneyGeneral'sAdvisoryonClockHandguns
(July16,2004)andotherguidanceon theAttorneyGeneral'sgunsafetyregulationsat
http://www.mass.gov/ago/governmentresources/agsregulations/.
15Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,131L.
16Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,13IK.
17Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140, 123.
18Mass.Gen.Lawsch,140, 123.
19Mass.Gen.Laws ch.140,123.

December22,2015
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howtooperateallsafetydevices;andnotetheabsence,ifany,ofaloadindicator,a
magazinesafetydisconnect,oraninternalsafety;and3)forhandgunswithbarrelsshorter
thanthreeinches,disclosetoallcustomers,inwritingwithspecifictestdata,theaccuracy
limitationsoftheweapon.20
14)Underthe2014MassachusettsActtoReduceGunViolence,dealersmustconduct
backgroundchecksofemployeespriortohiringthem.Thelawalsorequireddealersto
01
conductbackgroundchecksofexistingemployeesbyJuly1,2015.
15)Anydealerwholosesafirearmorhasonestolenmustreportthelosstothelocalpoliceand
toDepartmentofCriminalJusticeInformationServices.Thereportmustincludeacomplete
descriptionoftheweapon,includingthemake,modelandserialnumber.Therearepenalties
forfailuretoreport. 2
16)Adealer'slicenseissubjecttoforfeitureorsuspensionforviolationsofstatelaw.23
17)Itisunlawfultosell,offer,transferorpossessanyweapon,capableofdischargingabulletor
shot,thatis:(i)constructedinashapethatdoesnotresembleahandgun,shortbarreledrifle
orshortbarreledshotgunor(ii)notdetectableasaweaponorpotentialweaponbyxray
machinescommonlyusedatairportsorwalkthroughmetaldetectors.24
18)Theseprovisionsareimportantforpublichealthandsafety.Yourcomplianceisalsorequired
bylaw. Anydealer,andanyemployeeoragentofadealer,whoviolateskeyprovisionsof
M.G.L.c.140,123,andexceptasprovidedinM.G.L.c.140,128A,anypersonwho,
withoutalicense,sells,rentsorleasesafirearm,rifle,shotgunormachinegunshallbe
punishedbyafineofnotlessthan$1,000normorethan$10,000,orbyimprisonmentfornot
lessthanoneyearnormorethantenyears,orbybothsuchfine andimprisonment.25
19)Moreover,exceptasprovided,anydealerwho1)sellsorfurnishesarifle,shotgunor
ammunitiontoanoncitizenwhodoesnothaveapermitcard;2)sellsorfurnishesarifle,
shotgun,orammunitiontoanypersonunder18yearsofage;or3)sellsorfurnishesafirearm
orlargecapacityrifleorshotgunorammunitiontoanypersonunder21yearsofage;shall
havetheirlicensetosellfirearms, rifles,shotguns,orammunitionrevokedandfaces
punishmentbyafine ofnotlessthan$1,000normorethan$10,000,orbyimprisonmentina
stateprisonfornotmorethan10yearsorbyimprisonmentinahouseofcorrectionfornot
morethan2V2 yearsorbybothsuchfine andimprisonment.

20940CMR16.06
21Mass.Gen.Lawsch.6,172,172M;St.2014,ch.284,99.
22Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,123.
23Mass,Gen,Lawsch.140,123,125.
24Mass,Gen,Lawsch.140,13IN.
25Mass.Gen.Lawsch.140,128,
26Mass,Gen,Lawsch.140, 130,

December22,2015
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Thegunviolenceepidemicdemandsourcollectiveaction.Asresponsiblegundealers,I
urgeyoutoredoubleyourcommitmenttoensuringthesafetyofyourneighborsandaskyouto
shareanyideasyoumayhavetoincreasegunsafetyandreducegunviolence.Withany
questions,pleasecontactAssistantAttorneyGeneralMikeFirestoneinmyofficeat
617.963.2775.
Verytrulyvours.