Clarification on semi-auto rifles in MA

Jun 2, 2005
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I just want to make sure of something. I'm in MA and own a semi-auto .22 caliber rifle. It's an Remington Viper. Not a fantastic gun, made for a few years in the 90s I think. It has a bottom feed clip and you can buy clips up to 30 rounds for it (or used to be able to).

I just want to make sure that a person like myself with a Class-A LTC can own and shoot this firearm. Right now it's being stored out of state by relatives and I will be going up to collect my firearms and bring them in state in two weekends. I want to know if I can also bring this one back.

Thanks in advance for any help! This forum is great!!
With a Class A LTC you can own anything from large capacity handguns on down the line (except for full autos), so yes, you're covered.
Hi-Cap Mags have to be pre-ban, otherwise you are good to go.

UNLESS you just moved into MA, you'll need to do an FA-10 "Registration" for each gun you bring into the state! Even though you owned them, when you move to MA IF you bring your guns with you (when you move) you do NOT need to Register them. If you bring them into MA AFTER you move in, you DO NEED to Register them. That's the law. What you decide to do is up to you and you need not tell anyone what that is. Got it? [twisted]

Even though unlicensed, there is a "grace period" where you can move in with guns and keep them at home (DO NOT take them out of your home) while you await your LTC as a new resident. That grace period is not as long as it takes the average person to take a course and get their LTC, but it is something that is thrown out to new residents.

I believe he said it could take 30 round mags, not that he has them. :D

Actually, a Class B would work for a rifle that can accept high caps magazines, so as long as it's above an FID (or Class C), then you're covered hun.
Lynne, I know. He said he has an LTC-A, so he's good.

I just wanted to clarify because we have no way to know what mags he may have and want to bring down with him. Just covering all the bases. :D
Wow. Thanks guys for all the info, it was extremely helpful!!! I wan't aware that I had to register rifles that were brought in state!

My compliments to all involved with this forum, it's awesome.

Now for another question or two...

FA-10 'registration', do I get some forms at the PD, and is that where I turn them in? And besides in the MA general laws (so vague!) is there a place where I can get all the info needed on doing the proper paperwork to make all my firearms legal/registered/etc? Like a pamplet from the PD or something?

Thanks in advance.
You can get the FA-10 forms from ANY PD. Instructions are on the form. NO, you do NOT file them with the PD, but with CHSB (address on the form).

If you moved in with your guns, you do NOT have to register them (and I would advise against it). If you buy a long gun in NH or somewhere else and bring it home to MA, you DO need to register it.

If you moved into MA but left your guns at your Family's home until you got licensed in MA (NOT necessary by law, but apparently many do this), technically you are supposed to register them. But ask yourself "who is going to know which day I brought the guns I already owned legally home to MA?" and "who or when would they inquire about it?"

The database of guns in MA is a bureaucratic "feel good" or "reach around" as some would say. They know full well that the database is useless, that nobody is ever removed even if they sell the gun, etc. I don't recommend "feeding the pig" . . . giving the bureaucracy any more info than I absolutely must by law. YMMV
You don't need to do a FA-10 for anything that you bring into the state, the FA-10 is only for the transfer of ownership of firearms. The magazines do have to be pre-bans or 10 rounds or less.

ETA you have 60 days to get your FID/ LTC and you are covered while transporting to your new home and possession in the home. I would recommend taking a BFS/ HFS course within the first ten days of moving into The Commonwealth.
sdavid said:
You don't need to do a FA-10 for anything that you bring into the state, the FA-10 is only for the transfer of ownership of firearms.

Sorry you are wrong here. Take a look at the FA-10, there is a box for "Registration". Also the law is very clear that you MUST REGISTER anything you bring into MA even if you own it . . . unless you brought it in when you moved into MA as an unlicensed person.

MGL Ch. 140 S. 128B covers at least part of this, but I think (NOT 100% positive but Chief Glidden has implied that this section's interpretation has been extended to bringing in-state guns that you own but were stored elsewhere . . . it's probably in a CMR that EOPS has created) this is where the requirement for "Registration" comes from. If in doubt, contact Chief Glidden and I'm sure he'll be happy to point you to the source of this requirement. Chief Glidden has stated exactly what I said above at each of his seminars for a number of years now, and I have every reason to believe that he knows what he is talking about!

" Section 128B. Any resident of the commonwealth who purchases or obtains a firearm, rifle or shotgun or machine gun from any source within or without the commonwealth, other than from a licensee under section one hundred and twenty-two or a person authorized to sell firearms under section one hundred and twenty-eight A. . .and receives such firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun, within the commonwealth shall within seven days after receiving such firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun, report, in writing, to the executive director of the criminal history systems board the name and address of the seller or donor and the buyer or donee, together with a complete description of the firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun, including the caliber, make and serial number. Whoever violates any provision of this section shall for the first offense be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 and for any subsequent offense by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years."

The bolded sections above I BELIEVE are what has been interpreted to mean "even if you own it in NH" and require Registration when you bring ti over the border. CMRs are written to interpret and enforce the MGLs and I suspect that there is more on this located in one of the CMRs.

I believe that it is the "OR OBTAINS . . . " that leads to this interpretation. If you "obtain it" by bringing it back to MA . . .
We're pretty much playing "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" here, since there's no real basis as to what the law "really" means until some poor bastard gets hauled into court. Having said that, I think it's quite a stretch to say that it's OK to move into state and bring firearms with you, but that if you bring in your previously owned firearms at a later date you need to do an FA-10. If that were the case, I'd be screwed. I moved here, but my household goods, including a significant number of my firearms, didn't arrive until several days later. If that means that I "obtained" those firearms after already becoming a resident, then I should have filed FA-10's on all of them. And if it's OK to have the firearms delivered a few days later, why isn't a few weeks or months OK?

If one were to interpret the law that strictly, then shouldn't I also have to file an FA-10 whenever I return here with guns that I own here, but take to another state for competition, hunting or protection? I "obtained" them in essentially the same way that I "obtained" those firearms that were delivered by the moving company 20 years ago. I think that the most reasonable and consistent interpretation would be that "obtain" has to mean the same thing, whether the source of the firearm is within Massachusetts or outside. I don't need to file an FA-10 if I've let you use my gun for a while and you now return it to me, whether you're here in Massachusetts or out in Arizona. So why should I need to file one if I happened to live in Arizona when I lent you the gun but had moved here by the time you returned it?

I think that trying to cast that wide a new for the registration requirement might be the "safe" thiing to do, in the same way that it would be "safe" to register all your firearms when you move into state. But I don't think that any reasonable reading of the law would require it. But as noted at the beginning, there's no case law or specific CMR (except possibly for some double secret one) upon which to based a decision, and Massachusetts courts are well known for twisting themselves into knots in order to find against gun owners. In any case, until they start insisting on FA-10's every time I pick up bags at the Logan or drive back from Manchester, how can they possible argue that I haven't had a particular firearm since I first moved here?**

** Unless, of course, the gun wasn't manufaactured until later or there's a 4473 or some other paperwork somewhere proving I bought it at a later date.

Ken, I agree with you regarding what consists of "when did I move in".

I do think (based on discussions with Chief Glidden) that they did create a CMR to require FA-10 Registration so that they could maximize their database. Believe me CHSB is pissed that the law doesn't REQUIRE someone moving in with their guns to Register them, so this is a back-door way to get at least some of the data into their databases.

MGLs REQUIRE that the day you move into MA OR START a job here, you MUST have a MA DL and MA Registration (or MA Insurance in some limited cases). In 99% of cases, it is physically impossible to comply with these laws. Also in probably 75% of cases, people run out their plates/insurance before they get MA DL/tags/insurance. Can they prosecute, yes? Do they prosecute, almost never! When it comes to guns however, I wouldn't count on them NOT to prosecute. If so, would a MA judge rule for the state, I'd guess yes with a 90% certainty!

Thus, in cases like the OP asked, I'll give them the law/regs and leave it up to them as to what they do. Many people do NOT move in all in one day! When we bought a house, we took a month from the time we passed papers until we actually moved in . . . meanwhile we were moving our possessions in a carload at a time. When did we actually move in? When the first box was put in the house? When the moving van unloaded the furniture? Interpret it as you wish.
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