Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yankee Laws

Specifically, those related to the VolksRepublik of Massachusetts. Is anyone familiar with them that can enlighten me? We're up visiting the In-Laws, and I had an interesting discussion with my Father-In-Law regarding gun rights here. My FIL owns a rifle, which he apparently cannot use in this state, with only shotguns being allowed, and a German P38, that his father brought back from WWII. Oddly enough, he also maintains a Concealed Weapons Permit, though I don't think that's exactly what they call them here, even though he doesn't carry or even own a carry gun, and that is the crux of my question.

My FIL tells me that the CWP, or whatever you call the local variant, is required of anyone in the state who owns a firearm of any sort. That it is not just a carry permit, but a permit that allows state residents to own firearms at all. He also informs me, that even the sale and purchase of airguns, from target pellet guns right on down to the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, is controlled, and restricted to those who own such permits. He does say that he's not certain about the permit being required to purchase the air guns, however, he does state that you can only purchase them at an actual gun store. No BB or Pellet weapons or accoutrement's in the local Wal-Mart or it's Yankee equivalent.

Can this really be true? Are the people of this unfortunate state required to obtain a permit before they can even own a weapon, much less carry it? Also, is it true about the restrictions on air-powered weapons? If so, how do little boys play at cowboys or army with out BB guns to fight off the enemy and their ever encroaching horde of soda cans and Neco wafers?

If anyone can enlighten and educate me on this, it would be greatly appreciated. I may have to reconsider how much time I let my girls spend with their grandparents up here in this bastion of liberal ignorance. I already have their first rifles picked out and the oldest isn't even three years old yet :p



Jay G said...

Hiya Casey, Jay G from MArooned here.

I'm stuck in MA for the time being, and have a more than passing familiarity with the insanity that are the MA gun laws...

Yes, it is true that you need a permit to own - yes, simply to own - any firearm *or* ammunition *or* ammunition component.

Yes. You read that right. If you do not have a MA LTC or FID, you are a FELON if you leave the range with a single .22LR casing stuck in the tread of your shoe...

No, you do not need a permit to buy or own an air gun. You do need to be over 18.

No, you do not have to buy air guns at a gun store; in fact I can't recall ever seeing an air gun at a gun store. You can find them at Wal-Marts that carry such sporting goods, Dick's, and Bass Pro Shops.

And it's perfectly legal to shoot a BB gun in your back yard. I know, because my son and I (and soon my daughter too) spend many hours knocking down cans in the back yard with his Red Ryder.


Jay G.

cw said...

Jay is pretty much right.

There are a couple of arguments that could be made for fired .22LR cases to be outside the definition of 'ammunition' in c. 269 s 10(h), which is the statute that makes possession of ammunition in Massachusetts without at least an FID a crime. First, it's not really practical to reload fired rimfire cases (although it is possible). Second, the statutory definition (in c. 140, s. 121) that specifically includes bullets, primers, powder and cases in the definition of 'ammunition' applies to sections 122 to 131P of c. 140, rather than the criminal provisions of c. 269.

The last time I looked, which was several years ago, there was no reported MA case addressing the statutory language argument. Certainly prosecutions based on unlicensed posession of fired cases are very rare. I have never heard of one.

While it is fine for the kids to plink with BB guns in Jay's back yard, there are restrictions on where and in what circumstances a minor can posess a BB gun under c. 269 s. 12B.

The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. ...
— Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, article XVII (1780)