G.L. c. 140, §§ 131L is the statute that addresses firearms storage requirements in Massachusetts It is actually very straightforward in what it requires of gun owners that are not in direct control of their firearm and are not transporting firearms to keep them securely locked. This means that guns which are unattended must be secured in a locked container, or equipped with cable/trigger guard/mechanical lock.
That’s it. There is no requirement that it be in a safe, unloaded, the bolt removed, separate from the ammunition or any of the many other popular myths propagated on the internet. While some of those suggestions may seem logical or even obvious, they are not required by the law.
The Penalties for failing to secure a firearm not under your direct control, that you aren’t transporting, can be severe. And they vary depending on the type of firearm and who may have potentially accessed it, even if such access did not occur. Unsecured storage of non-large capacity rifles, shotguns or firearms is a misdemeanor and improper storage of high capacity (more than 10 rounds) firearms, rifles, or shotguns is a felony.
Note that none of the provisions relating to storage of firearms pertains to guns that are matchlock, flintlock, percussion or other designs that are pre-1899, including replicas, so long as they do not shoot modern ammo. Therefore, pre-1899 firearms that do shoot modern metallic cartridge ammo do need to be secured, despite the law treating them differently in other regards.
Attorney Jesse C. Cohen has been very successful in defending his clients in unsecured storage cases.
This article was written by By Marcus Dilloff and posted by Attorney Cohen.