Massachusetts LTC in Vehicle

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Greetings all!
Hope you all had a good holiday and all the best in the new year.

I've read through the posts out here and other web sites before bending your ear but, I'm still fuzzy.

I know in the lovely state of Mass the laws can be wonky but I'm sure my gut is correct on this one. I've read the laws on LTC in a vehicle. Two types of permits and both require "under supervision" or in a locked box -both make sense. I also see that, where the laws are sometimes open to interpretation, it can come down to a bench ruling. So, depending on the situation and judge, you may get a slap or a felony.

Someone at Christmas told me it was fine to carry a loaded pistol in a holder on the steering column. That doesn't sound right to me even if he is in the vehicle with it "under his direct supervision" -forget about when he's not in the vehicle.

I was brought up with gun safety from my father constantly asking "Is that empty?", "Do you know where that bullet is going?" and "Are you sure?" If I ever do pick something up, I check the chamber at least 3-5 times and STILL point it at the floor. So this idea of carrying a loaded weapon, open, in a vehicle just doesn't seem right.

Would love to hear some thoughts from Mass veterans.
 

chuckules

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I would say that is not under direct control, but it doesn’t matter what I say, what matters is what the arresting officer, DA, judge, and jury say. And placing it under the steering column...I’m confident (not certain) a traffic pull over with that would result in an arrest. YMMV.



TRANSPORTING IN A VEHICLE:​

The law specifies how certain types of guns are to be transported.

  • Handguns under a Class A License: “No person carrying a loaded firearm (i.e. handgun) under a Class A license to carry firearms… shall carry the same in a vehicle unless such firearm while carried therein is under the direct control of such person.” (Chapter 140, section 131C)
 

crispnipz

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I would say that is not under direct control, but it doesn’t matter what I say, what matters is what the arresting officer, DA, judge, and jury say. And placing it under the steering column...I’m confident (not certain) a traffic pull over with that would result in an arrest. YMMV.
Yeah the key here is "direct control" and this is not the only place that phrase is used in MGL to talk about handling guns. It's kind of ambiguous and since MA isn't really friendly to guns I personally will have the gun on my body when in a car when I get my unrestricted. This is of course for unrestricted LTCs. Restricted is a whole other bag of worms.
 
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Thanks all. That's what I thought. Especially is he's in the house or something. It is not direct control or supervised. Anyone could open the door and....

We had a friend a long time ago who went hunting with my brother. He shot a hole in the kitchen floor with a GI 45, his stereo, and he was so drunk we had to tell him to aim at the deer in the middle. So, I've seen too much carelessness.
 

Omahastylin16

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Thanks all. That's what I thought. Especially is he's in the house or something. It is not direct control or supervised. Anyone could open the door and....

We had a friend a long time ago who went hunting with my brother. He shot a hole in the kitchen floor with a GI 45, his stereo, and he was so drunk we had to tell him to aim at the deer in the middle. So, I've seen too much carelessness.
Pretty cut and dry that you cant leave it in your car and walk away...
 

Buck F

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I would say that is not under direct control, but it doesn’t matter what I say, what matters is what the arresting officer, DA, judge, and jury say. And placing it under the steering column...I’m confident (not certain) a traffic pull over with that would result in an arrest. YMMV.



TRANSPORTING IN A VEHICLE:​

The law specifies how certain types of guns are to be transported.

  • Handguns under a Class A License: “No person carrying a loaded firearm (i.e. handgun) under a Class A license to carry firearms… shall carry the same in a vehicle unless such firearm while carried therein is under the direct control of such person.” (Chapter 140, section 131C)

It may not result in an arrest, depending on the cop, but it's sure going to get you a headache you don't need explaining it.

The other thing to consider is whether you're alone in the car; an unlicensed passenger having access to it can be very subjective if they can reach it.
 

Dennis in MA

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Len will maybe remember this: Back in my Ames day, they had some "expert" come in and specifically referenced car carry and what was legal or not. He gave his opinion.

Len then piped up and gave his opinion.

THEN a town cop who was an Ames member piped up and gave his Dept's official policy on it.

Shockingly, they were all different. Not always a lot, but enough.

The law is so damned vague as to not really address the question. My point is this: You could be 100% right and still get jammed up by some cop at a stop. IIRC, the cop that weighed in had a much more narrow definition than what either other expert had. That was dept policy. They really don't care if you fight it in court and win. It's no skin off their noses. It'll cost you $10K, but so what?

The bigger issue: Don't do stuff that gets you stopped. Eliminate that and you'll be about 98% of teh way there anyhow.
 

Garys

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You missed Jack's obvious sarcasm, but if you've never read a post of his, that's understandable.

To the OP. The law is what the police officer says it is when you encounter him. MA laws are intentionally vague (IMHO) so that they can be used as needed. If the officer wants to jam you up it isn't under your direct control. OTOH, if the officer wants to jam you up, it is under your direct control.

Got it?



I wouldn’t recommend asking a cop at all, that might be the worst thing to do. I’d actually be hesitant to ask a gun store clerk as well.
 

milktree

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"direct control" is super vague.

One way to think of it is, "does, or can, anyone else have control over it before/instead of me?" e.g.: if you're alone in the car, a holster mounted to the center console is probably "under your direct control", but if there's an unlicensed person in the passenger seat, it is not.

Bags are weird: If you're a dude, carrying a gun in a backpack might more likely be considered, "out of your control", but if you're a woman and the gun is in your purse, it probably *would* be considered under your control.

But... as said above: It depends on the cop and the DA and the prosecutor and judge (and jury)

A holster on your person is pretty much indisputably "under your direct control".

Sitting on the passenger seat probably isn't.

Everything between is fuzzy middle ground.
 

Garys

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If a women puts her handbag with a gun on a counter, is it under her direct control?

If I'm riding a bicycle and have a gun in a saddle bag, is it under my direct control if I get off the bike?

I guess that's why lawyers say "It depends." a lot.

"direct control" is super vague.

One way to think of it is, "does, or can, anyone else have control over it before/instead of me?" e.g.: if you're alone in the car, a holster mounted to the center console is probably "under your direct control", but if there's an unlicensed person in the passenger seat, it is not.

Bags are weird: If you're a dude, carrying a gun in a backpack might more likely be considered, "out of your control", but if you're a woman and the gun is in your purse, it probably *would* be considered under your control.

But... as said above: It depends on the cop and the DA and the prosecutor and judge (and jury)

A holster on your person is pretty much indisputably "under your direct control".

Sitting on the passenger seat probably isn't.

Everything between is fuzzy middle ground.
 
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Len will maybe remember this: Back in my Ames day, they had some "expert" come in and specifically referenced car carry and what was legal or not. He gave his opinion.

Len then piped up and gave his opinion.

THEN a town cop who was an Ames member piped up and gave his Dept's official policy on it.

Shockingly, they were all different. Not always a lot, but enough.

The law is so damned vague as to not really address the question. My point is this: You could be 100% right and still get jammed up by some cop at a stop. IIRC, the cop that weighed in had a much more narrow definition than what either other expert had. That was dept policy. They really don't care if you fight it in court and win. It's no skin off their noses. It'll cost you $10K, but so what?

The bigger issue: Don't do stuff that gets you stopped. Eliminate that and you'll be about 98% of teh way there anyhow.
Agreed. 10 different cops are gonna give 10 different opinions. MA gun laws suck and very vague. Best thing is "concealed means concealed". Don't have it out and visible to start any questions or problems. Plus if ever in an MVA more than likely the gun is gonna get tossed somewhere in or worse out of the car. Nobody needs those problems.
 

HorizontalHunter

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I’m a firm believer of ”on body” only. There is never any risk of leaving it behind accidentally.

Every Massachusetts gun owner should take a class on the MGL and regulations that apply to gun owners. The ass you save might be yours.

You should also know what the terms possession, carrying, transporting, and storage mean to gun owners. Look them up in the MGL. Don’t trust someone else’s interpretation as at the end of the day YOU will be responsible.

Bob
 
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IMO that is direct control but probably not the best idea in MA. Glove box is confirmed not direct control or proper transportation/storage. As far as I have read no one has been a test case for a legally licensed person with one of those mounts in MA. Always a chance to be a first. In MA I always just go with on person. In NH I change that. During a traffic stop personally I am never going to disclose and with the mount you have a good chance of disclosure with visual
 
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