New Disqualifier for MA Firearms Licenses

The recently amended Massachusetts Firearms Law contains a new statute, G.L. c. 265, § 13N, which disqualifies a person from holding a firearms license upon a conviction for any misdemeanor offense which involves physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon when the actual or intended victim was a family or household member, as defined by G.L. c. 209A, § 1, of the person convicted.

For example, those convicted of Assault or Assault and Battery under G.L. c. 265, § 13A, involving a family or household member, and Domestic Assault or Assault and Battery under G.L. c. 265, § 13M will be statutorily disqualified from holding a firearms license or possessing firearms under Massachusetts law.

Judges will be required to make determinations about the relationship of the defendant and victim or intended victim for qualifying offenses, whether the conviction is entered as a result of a trial, or a plea, or conviction entered after a probation violation. As part of the plea procedure in qualifying cases, defendants must be advised in open court that “conviction on this offense, if it involves domestic abuse, may lead to disqualification from possession of firearms.”

Reports of convictions of qualifying offenses will be forwarded to the Department of Criminal Justice Information System for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) System.