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Information from EOPS on new firearms legislation

Posted on Aug 13 2014
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 Governor Patrick is scheduled to sign the new gun bill tomorrow morning.  Because there was an emergency preamble added to the legislation, there are several provisions that will go into effect immediately.  I’ve compiled the following list to point out the ones that will have the most impact on licensing authorities right away.  There are a lot of changes and this is by no means comprehensive; it’s more of a heads up as to what is going to happen ASAP.  There are extensive changes that will go into effect on January 1 and EOPSS will provide more information and guidance before that happens.  There have been some technical amendments to the bill since it has passed and I will post a link to the final legislation tomorrow.  In the meantime, the slightly outdated version can be found here:



Here are the most pertinent immediate impacts:


-          Sections 2, 99 – Requires all licensed firearms dealers to access “all available” CORI prior to hiring a new employee who may have “direct and unmonitored” contact with any guns.  Later, section 99 requires that they also CORI check all existing employees within 6 months.  DCJIS is working to ensure they have this access and will have guidance soon about exactly what they need to do.

-          Sections 20, 22, 32, and 66 – These sections create a new scheme for the purchase and possession of pepper spray/self-defense spray.  Such self-defense sprays will no longer be included in the definition of ammunition, so most individuals may purchase and possess it without an FID card.  However, there is an extensive list of disqualifications for purchasing/possessing self-defense spray that essentially mirrors the (current law’s) list of disqualifications for getting an FID card.  But without a licensing process to screen those disqualified individuals out, it may prove difficult to determine who is and is not disqualified.  Only licensed dealers can sell the self-defense spray.  As a result, we anticipate concern from dealers about how they will determine if a person is disqualified.  We will be working with dealers to figure out how to resolve those issues as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, please note that the bill criminalizes non-dealers selling self-defense spray and criminalizes disqualified individuals purchasing or possessing self-defense spray. 

-          Section 55 – In addition to active law enforcement officers, retired law enforcement officers will only owe a $25 fee for an LTC application.

-          Section 65 – The law enforcement exemption from the assault weapon/large capacity magazine ban is no longer restricted to “law enforcement purposes.”

-          Section 67 – Current members of the US military (including the MA National Guard) are exempt from having to complete a basic firearms safety course as a prerequisite for a firearms license.  They must submit their current military ID in lieu of the certificate.

-          Section 93 – Changes the definition (and some punishments) of what constitutes firearms trafficking.  Trafficking in 1-3 firearms is punishable by not more than 10 years.  Trafficking in 3-10 firearms is now punishable by up to 20 years, with a mandatory minimum of 5 years.  Trafficking in 10-plus firearms is now a life felony with a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

-          Section 101 – Licensing authorities are prohibited from issuing new Class B LTCs.  Any existing Class Bs remain valid until their existing expiration dates or until July 31, 2020, whichever comes first.  The language in this section about renewing Class Bs is confusing, however, and EOPSS is continuing to try to sort it out.   We will issue guidance when we resolve the issue. 


Let me know if you have questions.  EOPSS and FRB will be working hard to make sure that these changes go as smoothly as possible, so please bear with us. 


-          Elisabeth Ryan, Deputy General Counsel, EOPSS



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