Unlike licenses to Carry Firearms, the issuance of which is discretionary, Firearms Identification Cards shall be issued to those applicants who are not statutorily disqualified. This means that a Massachusetts licensing office cannot refuse to grant you a Firearms Identification (FID) Card based on an alleged lack of suitability. The issuance of Firearms Identification Cards in Massachusetts is governed by G.L. c. 140 Sec. 129B.
Persons confined to any hospital or institution because of mental illness are permanently disqualified from being issued FID cards, unless the person presents a sworn statement from a physician who is familiar with the person’s mental health history and who certifies that the person is safe to possess firearms.
Likewise, those who are or have been under treatment for or confinement for drug addiction or habitual drunkenness are prohibited from holding Firearms Identification Cards unless such a person presents an affidavit from a physician who certifies that the applicant is cured of the disqualifying condition. In such cases, there is a 5 year waiting period.
Applicants who are not of sufficient age or who have current arrest warrants or active G.L. c. 209A restraining orders issued against them cannot be issued FID cards.
Those who have been adjudicated youthful offenders for designated offenses or convicted of felonies, violent crimes, misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment for more than two years, weapons violations, or drug offenses are statutorily disqualified from being issued either a License to Carry Firearms or a Firearms Identification Card under Massachusetts law. However, except for drug trafficking and violent crimes, 5 years after conviction or release from confinement or supervision, a person’s ability to possess a non-large capacity rifle or shotgun will be restored and such a person can legally apply for and be issued an FID card.
There are No Other Conditions Allowed by law when it comes to Firearms Identification Cards in Massachusetts. Unlike licenses to carry, these FID cards allow the holder to lawfully possess non-high capacity rifles and shotguns. They do not allow holders to carry handguns, which require licenses to carry.
Restricted Firearms Identification Cards are also available they allow the holder to carry mace, OC spray, and/or pepper spray which are technically classified as ammunition under Massachusetts Law.
FID cards used to be valid for life. However, they now are valid for a maximum of 6 years. However, anyone over 70 years of age is exempt from paying the renewal fee.