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You might thank that in a severely gun rights-challenged state like Massachusetts, citizens who jump through the hoops necessary to obtain a permission slip to carry a concealed handgun would be few and very far between. And while the state’s onerous laws certainly take their toll (Indiana, a state with about the same population has almost twice the number of active permits), Bay State gun owners aren’t doing too badly, all things considered.

Massachusetts’ Commonwealth Second Amendment sends the following info:

We thought we’d share some of the insight gained from firearms licensing data provided to Comm2A under the Commonwealth’s public records law.  The ever-increasing number of Massachusetts gun owners stands in contrast to the claims of gun control advocates that fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns. 

As of January 8, 2018, there were 421,010 active firearms licenses in Massachusetts.  Just over 92% of these licenses are Class A licenses to carry.  FID cards make up about 7% of the overall number and the now obsolete Class B license to carry is about .5% of the total.  Although gun control legislation in 2014 eliminated the Class B LTC, the town of Hubbardston managed to issue a single Class B LTC in 2017. 

387,873 1,964 31,173 421,010
92% 0% 7% 100%

The issuing of new and renewal license continues at a healthy pace, often despite the less-than customer friendly approach of many licensing authorities. 

Licenses Issued by Year (New & Renewal)

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total
LTC/A 101,015 61,273 40,430 67,655 72,346 342,719
LTC/B 1,091 487 7 0 1 1,586
FID 7,587 6,025 3,187 3,970 4,545 25,314
Total 109,693 67,785 43,624 71,625 76,892 369,619

Restricted LTCs continue to be a contentious issue for many gun owners living in just a few cities and towns.  The overwhelming majority of LTCs are issued “Restrictions: None” allowing the license holder to carry a loaded, concealed gun in public.  Compared to most other states, it’s very hard to become a gun owner in Massachusetts. However, unlike other restrictive states like New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, etc., once a Massachusetts resident is able to own a gun, they’re able to carry it.  

Of the 76,892 LTCs issued in 2017, first time license holders were restricted at rate of 8.8% and individual renewing LTCs were restricted at a rate of just 2.2%.  Towns like Watertown and Winchester which are known for their policies of restricting virtually all non-law enforcement license holders, restrict renewal licenses and a much lower rate than they apply to new license. 

We’re unable to separate licenses issued to law enforcement personnel from those issued to members of the public at large. This is probably not a significant distinction in most of the state. However, in a city like Boston with very low rates of firearms ownership and a large police force, it’s safe to assume that a large number of the unrestricted LTCs issued by the Boston Police Department are issued to police officers.

The complete town-by-town breakdown of LTCs issued in 2017 can be found here:  2017 LTC Scorecard.

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  1. There is still the absolute control that CLEOs have over their fiefdom. And, to quote Stinky from “Hey, Arnold!”: that bites.

    As a previous MA prisoner, I was surprised at the things I was required to do and sign. And the answer could still be “no” and I would lose the fee.

  2. Been here 50 years. It’s a little involved but not impossible to get an LTC here. It all depends upon the police chief. If he or she likes you you’re golden. If not, you better plan on moving to another town if you want a permit.

    • You nailed it, Rad Man. I’ve lived in two towns in MA for the last decade. Both were “green” on the Northeast Shooters map, which means that the Chief LEO, who issues the licenses, is not an obstructionist and that people who meet the minimum quals will get their unrestricted LTC.

      There are other towns where the Chief is a pompous @ssh0le and only cops, judges and other pols can get an unrestricted license. For us mundanes, those towns are effectively no-issue and the Second Amendment does not apply.

      If you reside in a “green” town, you will have no trouble getting an unrestricted LTC if you meet the requirements: clean record, $100 payment for six years and a four hour class.

      • My neighbor’s from Watertown, lifelong resident, retired municipal employee,
        model citizen. The chief gave him a hard time about a renewal. Changed his residency to his Cape house, smooth sailing.

        • And THIS is the problem…one man in charge of a whole town or cities rights. Thats why I moved.

      • This behavior is common is may issue states. A newcomer who wants a permit should check with the state gun owners’ organization before committing to a place to live. Which side of a city or county border you live on can determine whether your application is successful.

        You also need to learn whether the local prosecutor considers the circumstances in self defense shootings or automatically charges the defender. In the latter case, good legal insurance is effectively mandatory.

  3. Keep on truckin’ Ralph…I have to go through Chicago in a few days. I can’t believe I used to live there and spent many nights in the clubs. Massachusetts sounds quite similar…

    • The laws may be liberal, but just step into Bakersfield – it is more like Tulsa or many cities in Texas than they are themselves.

  4. I was the first of my 20-something year old friends to get an LTC 4 years ago. Now almost all of them either have an LTC or are in the process of getting one. Guns are cool, and so is sticking it to a generation of corrupt politicians who want to tell us how irresponsible we are.

  5. Hey. Falsification of MA State documents is a crime under . . . blah blah blah.

    We feel for ya MA, but we don’t feel ya.

    If you’re being oppressed by your POS commie-lib (D) state, don’t be there when people come to eradicate it.

  6. There are not many red towns (aka you’ll get a restricted license where you can only target shoot or hunt, no conceal carry or open carry). In MA, you need a license just to possess guns and ammo.

    Every town will give you at least a restricted license. Only a dozen to 20 towns/cities will give you a restricted license. Those are towns near boston and a handful of the larger MA cities.

    90% of MA towns and cities are green (aka you’ll get a conceal carry license i.e unrestricted) You can carry in bars, there is no binding signage so no business can put up a no gun sign and have it mean anything unless they see your gun, then they can ask you to leave, nothing more. You can pretty much carry anywhere in MA except schools. There isn’t even a law against carrying in a courthouse but they all have metal detectors so they won’t let you in.

    It’s $100 for a danm license and I think it’s either 4 or 6 years. You need to take a firearm class but it’s only 3 hrs and there is no live fire requirement or anything else. Sit through the 3 hr class and fill out your license paperwork. Now out of state licenses, that is where the hurdles are. $100 each year and you need to apply in person at the state police location near boston. And they will probably give you a restricted license.

    • You raise a couple of great points.

      In places like TX and many other pro gun states there are significant restrictions on where you can carry, as well as binding signage.

      Ironically, in both MA and CT, there are no restrictions on carry in bars, churches, or anywhere else other than schools pretty much.

      Also, open carry is not illegal in MA or CT. Strange. Huh?

    • “Every town will give you at least a restricted license.” This statement is COMPLETLY false. I know from experience. The Chief of police in the town I grew up in only gives permits to family of law enforcement, SOME firefighters, PERIOD. Your only appeal is to the local courts where you KNOW the judge is not going to rule against him and for you. Also, if there is a change in the head L.E.O. you may not get that permit that you’ve had for 12 years renewed…just on the new guys say so. Sky high taxes and a ton of EXTRA laws and rules were more than excuse enough for me to move…a decision I have NEVER regreted making…even though it WOULD be nice to have the option to live in my hometown AND retain all of my constitutional rights. I guess thats just too much to ask.

  7. A lot of the info here in the comments section completely incorrect. While the CLEO is allowed legal discretion, since 2014, they have had to justify any denial, and there is finally a reasonable statutory means of appeal.

    If you live in a “red” town, you generally get jerked around waiting for an “interview” and the process is dragged on longer than the legally mandated max of 40 days. But you WILL get your LTC.

    One thing MA does allow that is inconvenient is for the issuing authority to put target and hunting restrictions on a LTC.

    However, violating the restrictions of a valid LTC is a non-criminal infraction. Hardly something that should keep someone from exercising their constitutionally protected natural right to self defense.

    In short, MA is far from great. But it is not even in the same league as places like NY, NJ, DC, or CA. Its an administrative process. Put the application, $100, and training credentials in one end, and a few months later out pops an LTC.

    • I should have said the comments are referencing old policies and are no longer correct, rather than “completely incorrect”. People don’t get hassled about applications anymore. The process is just discretely dragged out.

      And as many of you noted, LTCs are issued with restrictions.

  8. Pro rights folks are getting hammered in the press .
    Fight back in mass.
    Make your mark for rights at
    add others at;

    Permission to copy and paste this notice where ever you want.
    Save it as a link to your desk top.
    Spread the word on petitions to pro rights & gun owning friends today.
    Show them they have REALLY awoken the sleeping dog now and were not happy about it.
    Read the rules on petitions at the page. Get involved the right way.
    Its like pre voting on an issue. 100,000 at a time to get noticed.

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