Possession of a Firearm

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 10(a) criminalizes the knowing possession of a firearm.  The criminal penalty for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm is not less than 2.5 years to 5 years in state prison; or a minimum-mandatory sentence of not less than 18 months to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections.

In order to be convicted for the Gun Crime of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. That the defendant possessed a firearm or that he had a firearm under his control in a vehicle;
  2. That what the defendant possessed or had under his control in a vehicle met the legal definition of a firearm; and
  3. That the defendant knew that he possessed a firearm or had a firearm under his control in a vehicle.
A "firearm" is defined under Massachusetts law as "a pistol, revolver or other weapon...loaded or unloaded, from which a shot or bullet can be discharged...and the length of whose barrel is less than sixteen inches."

Where it is alleged that the gun was under the defendant's "control" in a vehicle, it is not enough for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant was simply present in the same vehicle as the gun.  Rather, the prosecutor must also prove that the defendant knew that the gun was there, and that the defendant had both the ability and the intention to exercise control over the firearm, although it does not need to be 'exclusive' control.

Notably, a Firearms Identification Card is not the same thing as a "License to Carry" a firearm.  With a valid Firearms Identification Card, a person has the right to possess a gun within his residence or place of business, but does not have the right to possess it outside of his home or business.  To lawfully carry or possess a gun outside of your home or business, you must be issued a "License to Carry a Firearm."

If you have been charged with a Gun / Firearms Crime, it is critical that you immediately consult with an experienced Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer who can explain and best protect your legal rights.

Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in defending gun crimes and is available 24/7.  To schedule a Free Consultation, Contact Us Online or call 617-325-9500.