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General Laws

Section 129C. No person, other than a licensed dealer or one who has been issued a license to carry a pistol or revolver or an exempt person as hereinafter described, shall own or possess any firearm, rifle, shotgun or ammunition unless he has been issued a firearm identification card by the licensing authority pursuant to the provisions of section one hundred and twenty-nine B.

No person shall sell, give away, loan or otherwise transfer a rifle or shotgun or ammunition other than (a) by operation of law, or (b) to an exempt person as hereinafter described, or (c) to a licensed dealer, or (d) to a person who displays his firearm identification card, or license to carry a pistol or revolver.

A seller shall, within seven days, report all such transfers to the commissioner of the department of criminal justice information services according to the provisions set forth in section one hundred and twenty-eight A, and in the case of loss, theft or recovery of any firearm, rifle, shotgun or machine gun, a similar report shall be made forthwith to both the commissioner of the department of criminal justice information services and the licensing authority in the city or town where the owner resides. Failure to so report shall be cause for suspension or permanent revocation of such person’s firearm identification card or license to carry firearms, or both, and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for a first offense and by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for a second offense.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to the following exempted persons and uses:

(a) Any device used exclusively for signalling or distress use and required or recommended by the United States Coast Guard or the Interstate Commerce Commission, or for the firing of stud cartridges, explosive rivets or similar industrial ammunition;

(b) Federally licensed firearms manufacturers or wholesale dealers, or persons employed by them or by licensed dealers, or on their behalf, when possession of firearms, rifles or shotguns is necessary for manufacture, display, storage, transport, installation, inspection or testing;

(c) To a person voluntarily surrendering a firearm, rifle or shotgun and ammunition therefor to a licensing authority, the colonel of the state police or his designee if prior written notice has been given by said person to the licensing authority or the colonel of the state police, stating the place and approximate time of said surrender;

(d) The regular and ordinary transport of firearms, rifles or shotguns as merchandise by any common carrier;

(e) Possession by retail customers for the purpose of firing at duly licensed target concessions at amusement parks, piers and similar locations, provided that the firearms, rifles or shotguns to be so used are firmly chained or affixed to the counter and that the proprietor is in possession of a firearm identification card or license to carry firearms;

(f) Possession of rifles and shotguns and ammunition therefor by nonresident hunters with valid nonresident hunting licenses during hunting season;

(g) Possession of rifles and shotguns and ammunition therefor by nonresidents while on a firing or shooting range;

(h) Possession of rifles and shotguns and ammunition therefor by nonresidents traveling in or through the commonwealth, providing that any rifles or shotguns are unloaded and enclosed in a case;

(i) Possession of rifles and shotguns by nonresidents while at a firearm showing or display organized by a regularly existing gun collectors’ club or association;

(j) Any resident of the commonwealth returning after having been absent from the commonwealth for not less than 180 consecutive days or any new resident moving into the commonwealth, with respect to any firearm, rifle or shotgun and any ammunition therefor then in his possession, for 60 days after such return or entry into the commonwealth;

(k) Any person under the age of fifteen with respect to the use of a rifle or shotgun by such person in hunting or target shooting, provided that such use is otherwise permitted by law and is under the immediate supervision of a person holding a firearm identification card or a license to carry firearms, or a duly commissioned officer, noncommissioned officer or enlisted member of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard, or the National Guard or military service of the commonwealth or reserve components thereof, while in the performance of his duty;

(l) The possession or utilization of any rifle or shotgun during the course of any television, movie, stage or other similar theatrical production, or by a professional photographer or writer for examination purposes in the pursuit of his profession, providing such possession or utilization is under the immediate supervision of a holder of a firearm identification card or a license to carry firearms;

(m) The temporary holding, handling or firing of a firearm for examination, trial or instruction in the presence of a holder of a license to carry firearms, or the temporary holding, handling or firing of a rifle or shotgun for examination, trial or instruction in the presence of a holder of a firearm identification card, or where such holding, handling or firing is for a lawful purpose;

(n) The transfer of a firearm, rifle or shotgun upon the death of an owner to his heir or legatee shall be subject to the provisions of this section, provided that said heir or legatee shall within one hundred and eighty days of such transfer, obtain a firearm identification card or a license to carry firearms if not otherwise an exempt person who is qualified to receive such or apply to the licensing authority for such further limited period as may be necessary for the disposition of such firearm, rifle or shotgun;

(o) Persons in the military or other service of any state or of the United States, and police officers and other peace officers of any jurisdiction, in the performance of their official duty or when duly authorized to possess them;

(p) Carrying or possession by residents or nonresidents of so-called black powder rifles, shotguns, and ammunition therefor as described in such paragraphs (A) and (B) of the third paragraph of section 121, and the carrying or possession of conventional rifles, shotguns, and ammunition therefor by nonresidents who meet the requirements for such carrying or possession in the state in which they reside.

[There is no clause (q).]

(r) Possession by a veteran’s organization chartered by the Congress of the United States, chartered by the commonwealth or recognized as a nonprofit tax-exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service and possession by the members of any such organization when on official parade duty or ceremonial occasions.

(s) Possession by federal, state and local historical societies, museums, and institutional collections open to the public, provided such firearms, rifles or shotguns are unloaded, properly housed and secured from unauthorized handling;

(t) the possession of firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns and ammunition, by banks or institutional lenders, or their agents, servants or employees, when the same are possessed as collateral for a secured commercial transaction or as a result of a default under a secured commercial transaction.

(u) Any nonresident who is eighteen years of age or older at the time of acquiring a rifle or shotgun from a licensed firearms dealer; provided, however, that such nonresident must hold a valid firearms license from his state of residence; provided, further, that the licensing requirements of such nonresident’s state of residence are as stringent as the requirements of the commonwealth for a firearm identification card, as determined by the colonel of the state police who shall, annually, publish a list of those states whose requirements comply with the provisions of this clause.

Any person, exempted by clauses (o), (p) and (q), purchasing a rifle or shotgun or ammunition therefor shall submit to the seller such full and clear proof of identification, including shield number, serial number, military or governmental order or authorization, military or other official identification, other state firearms license, or proof of nonresidence, as may be applicable.

Nothing in this section shall permit the sale of rifles or shotguns or ammunition therefor to a minor under the age of eighteen in violation of section one hundred and thirty nor may any firearm be sold to a person under the age of 21 nor to any person who is not licensed to carry firearms under section one hundred and thirty-one unless he presents a valid firearm identification card and a permit to purchase issued under section one hundred and thirty-one A, or presents such permit to purchase and is a properly documented exempt person as hereinbefore described.

Nothing in this section shall permit the sale or transfer of any large capacity rifle or shotgun or large capacity feeding device therefor to any person not in possession of a Class A or Class B license to carry firearms issued under section 131, or of any large capacity firearm or large capacity feeding device therefor to any person not in possession of a Class A license to carry firearms issued under section 131.

The possession of a firearm identification card issued under section one hundred and twenty-nine B shall not entitle any person to carry a firearm in violation of section ten of chapter two hundred and sixty-nine and, the possession of a firearm identification card issued under section 129B shall not entitle any person to possess any large capacity rifle or shotgun or large capacity feeding device therefor in violation of subsection (m) of said section 10 of said chapter 269.

Any person who, while not being within the limits of his own property or residence, or such person whose property or residence is under lawful search, and who is not exempt under this section, shall on demand of a police officer or other law enforcement officer, exhibit his license to carry firearms, or his firearm identification card or receipt for fee paid for such card, or, after January first, nineteen hundred and seventy, exhibit a valid hunting license issued to him which shall bear the number officially inscribed of such license to carry or card if any. Upon failure to do so such person may be required to surrender to such officer said firearm, rifle or shotgun which shall be taken into custody as under the provisions of section one hundred and twenty-nine D, except that such firearm, rifle or shotgun shall be returned forthwith upon presentation within thirty days of said license to carry firearms, firearm identification card or receipt for fee paid for such card or hunting license as hereinbefore described. Any person subject to the conditions of this paragraph may, even though no firearm, rifle or shotgun was surrendered, be required to produce within thirty days said license to carry firearms, firearm identification card or receipt for fee paid for such card, or said hunting license, failing which the conditions of section one hundred and twenty-nine D will apply. Nothing in this section shall prevent any person from being prosecuted for any violation of this chapter.

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