Some helpful information for those seeking a Massachusetts License to Carry a firearm.
Even with the 2014 changes in Massachusetts firearms law, M.G.L. Chapter 140, §129B still states “the licensing authority shall issue if it appears that the applicant is not a prohibited person.” However, while the FID Card is a “shall Issue” license, a new (although somewhat complicated) procedure does exist to deny or suspend for suitability.
To deny or suspend the FID Card for suitability, the licensing authority may file a petition with the court. Said petition must be accompanied by written notice to the applicant describing the evidence in the petition, and such petition must be based on specific reasons outlined in the statute. If a petition to deny is filed, the court has 90 days to hold a hearing and the petition shall stay the issuance or renewal of the card. Upon filing a petition to suspend or revoke, the court has 15 days to determine if there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that the applicant is unsuitable. The card is suspended upon filing of the petition until a determination is made by the court. If the court determines there is insufficient evidence for such finding, the licensing authority may not file another petition on that cardholder or applicant for 75 days. If there court determines there is sufficient evidence for a finding of unsuitability, it shall hold a hearing within 75 days.
Basis for determination of unsuitability:
Reliable, articulable, and credible information that the applicant has exhibited or engaged in behavior to suggest the applicant could potentially create a risk to public safety; or
Existing factors that suggest that the applicant could potentially create a risk to public safety.
The court has 90 days to make a determination if the cardholder or applicant HAS exhibited or engaged in behavior that could create a risk to public safety
The court has 75 to make a determination if the cardholder or applicant COULD potentially create a risk to public safety.
If no determination is made within the specified time period, the court shall enter a judgment that the applicant is suitable.
Effective 1/1/14 there are new standards for denying, suspending or revoking an LTC for unsuitability. The licensing authority may deny the application or renewal of a license to carry, or suspend or revoke a license issued under this section if, in a reasonable exercise of discretion, the licensing authority determines that the applicant or licensee is unsuitable to be issued or to continue to hold a license to carry.
A determination of unsuitability shall be based on:
Reliable and credible information that the applicant or licensee HAS exhibited or engaged in behavior that suggests that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee may create a risk to public safety; or
Existing factors that suggest that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee MAY create a risk to public safety.
Aggrieved person right to appeal
Within 90 days of the denial, suspension or revocation
Within 90 days after the expiration of the time limit for the licensing authority to respond to the applicant
Any time after a restriction is placed on the license.
If after a hearing the court finds there is no reasonable grounds for the denial, revocation, suspension or restriction, and the petitioner is not prohibited by law from possessing the license, the justice may order the license to be issued or the restriction to be removed.