Gun / Firearm Offenses
While the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution permits citizens the right to bear arms, Massachusetts has a number of laws restricting the possession and use of firearms / guns in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts imposes strict penalties for illegal possession of firearms, including minimum mandatory sentences for certain charges.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10 makes it illegal to knowingly possess a firearm / gun (loaded or unloaded) if you are not properly licensed to carry a firearm (often referred to as “FID” or “LTC” Card). M.G.L. Chapter 269 Section 10 also makes it illegal to knowingly possess dangerous weapons, including certain knives, brass knuckles, blowguns, stilettos and daggers.
Possession of or being in control of weapons such as machine guns and sawed-off shotguns carry stricter penalties. Possession of a machine gun carries a maximum penalty of up to life in state prison. Whoever owns, possesses or carries, or carries on his person or under his control in a vehicle, a sawed-off shotgun, also faces a maximum potential penalty of life in state prison.FID / LTC Does Not Always Permit Possession of Firearm
With the exception of law enforcement officials and those with express written permission, it is illegal for an individual to possess a loaded or unloaded firearm or dangerous weapon in Massachusetts while in a school building or on school grounds. This prohibition extends to any elementary school or secondary school, college or university throughout the Commonwealth. M.G.L. Ch. 269 Section 10(j).
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10H makes it illegal, whether licensed or not, to carry on your person or possess in your vehicle a loaded firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.Improper Storage of Firearm
Those who are legally permitted to possess a firearm are required to properly store their firearm(s) when not in their possession or immediate control. A conviction for Improper Storage of Firearm carries a potential penalty of 1 ½ years in prison. Improper Storage of a large capacity weapon or machine gun carries much stricter penalties, including up to 12 years in prison. G.L. Ch. 140 S. 131L.Possible Defenses
The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable searches and seizures. An experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney will evaluate your case to determine whether you have an argument for the suppression of evidence. A Motion to Suppress may be filed if the discovery of a firearm or dangerous weapon was the result of an unreasonable search. If the judge finds that the firearm was discovered from an unreasonable search, it must be suppressed from evidence and cannot be used against you at trial.
In some cases, there may be a question of “possession” of the firearm or dangerous weapon. Although possession requires knowledge and the “ability to exercise control over” the firearm or weapon, it does not require an individual to be in physical possession of the firearm or dangerous weapon. Constructive possession (i.e., not in physical possession) of the firearm or dangerous weapon is sufficient to meet the legal definition of possession so long as there is evidence to show the defendant had knowledge and the ability to exercise control over the firearm or dangerous weapon. However, a skilled defense attorney may be able argue lack of knowledge or possession in situations where the defendant did not have the firearm or dangerous weapon on his / her person.
Attorney Riccio is a skilled Quincy Criminal Defense Lawyer with experience both prosecuting and defending gun-related charges. His knowledge and experience handling these matters as a former prosecutor and now as a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney give him the ability to aggressively defend individuals charged with gun-related offenses in Massachusetts. If you have been charged with any firearm or dangerous weapon-related charges, contact the Law Offices of Anthony R. Riccio by phone or email to schedule a free consultation.