In response to years of harsh firearms license denials and disqualifications in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Legislature passed Chapter 150 of the Acts of 2004 which enacted G.L. c. 140 § 130B, which created the Firearm Licensing Review Board. This 7 member Board has the authority to reinstate an individual’s rights to carry and possess firearms and a License to Carry Firearms (LTC) if the appellant prevents “clear and convincing evidence” that he or she is suitable to be issued a LTC. However, prevailing at the FLRB does not automatically mean that the applicant will be issued a license, it only removes the statutory disqualification, so that a Massachusetts Chief of Police or other licensing authority can issue a License to Carry if the licensing official so desires.
In order to meet this “clear and convincing” standard, the LTC applicant must candidly address the disqualifying convictions appearing on his or her criminal record. Attorney Cohen and his colleagues are all experienced firearms lawyers who have achieved excellent results at the FLRB. Their legal work has resulted in the removal of statutory disqualifying convictions and the issuance of Licenses to Carry Firearms, even when their clients have been previously denied by licensing authorities. Since the burden is on the petitioner to prove his case and convince two thirds of the members of the FLRB to grant relief and restore the petitioner’s firearms rights, hiring a lawyer is critical and it can often make the difference between winning and losing. Those who are denied relief at the FLRB have a very limited chance of review by appealing the denial to Superior Court pursuant to G.L. c. 30A. Therefore, the time to hire a lawyer is before and not after your FLRB hearing.
Unfortunately, the Firearm Licensing Review Board’s jurisdiction is limited to those criminal convictions which carried sentences of two-and-a-half years or less at the time the offenses were committed. Consequently, relief at the FLRB is not available for felony convictions. Likewise, the FLRB does not have the legal authority to review domestic assault & battery convictions, drug convictions, or criminal convictions involving firearms, weapons, or ammunition. Records containing multiple misdemeanor convictions will disqualify gun license applicants from FLRB relief, unless the multiple misdemeanor convictions all arose out of the same incident. Lastly, there is a waiting period of 5 years from the disqualifying conviction whereby a petitioner must wait at least five years from the date of conviction or release from incarceration or supervision, whichever is later, before applying for the reinstatement of his or her firearms rights by the FLRB.
Once the FLRB determines that a petitioner is a suitable person to hold a LTC or FID, the petitioner must file an Application for a License to Carry Firearms or Firearms Identification Card with his or her local police chief or the police chief in the community where he or she maintains a place of business.
The Firearm Licensing Review Board generally meets on a monthly basis at the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) which is located at 200 Arlington St., Suite 2200 in Chelsea, Massachusetts. There are no hearings conducted on a walk-in basis, as they must be scheduled in advance. In order to be successful at the FLRB, your application should contain substantial supporting documentation. Mass. Firearms Lawyer Jesse Cohen and his colleagues can assist you with the preparation and presentation of your FLRB appeal.