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Carrying a Firearm and Related Gun Crimes

Massachusetts gun laws are among the most severe in the country. Carrying a firearm carries a mandatory minimum 18-month jail sentence. Many other gun crimes carry mandatory minimum prison or jail sentences. Massachusetts gun laws are detailed and complex. Attorney Chris Spring has extensive experience in litigating gun cases.

Elements of Carrying a Firearm

A defendant will be found guilty of carrying a firearm if the Commonwealth can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The defendant had possession of a firearm (gun) on his person, or possessed a gun in his car (and had control of the gun);
  2. The gun satisfied the legal definition of a “firearm;”
  3. The defendant possessed the gun knowingly and intentionally; and
  4. The defendant was not present in his home or business.

A “firearm” is defined as any revolver, pistol, or other weapon that is capable of shooting a bullet or shot, and has a barrel length shorter than 16 inches.

Possession of a firearm is a less-serious charge that applies when a defendant illegally possesses a firearm at his place of business or in his home.

Possession of ammunition will be charged when a defendant possesses bullets without an FID card.

Possession of a stun gun or chemical mace is also prohibited by Massachusetts law, although the potential penalties are not as severe as possession of a firearm.

There are more serious punishments in cases where a defendant has possession of a weapon such as a gun with a defaced serial number, a sawed-off shotgun, or a high-capacity firearm.

Common Defenses and Defense Strategies

Gun cases can be defended in a variety of ways.

Licensing

It is not automatically illegal to carry or possess a gun in Massachusetts. You can obtain an FID (firearm identification) card or an LTC (license to carry) that will allow you to possess or carry a gun. If you previously had a license to possess or carry a gun and the license expired, under some circumstances the criminal charge will become a civil violation. The gun laws are very complicated and you need someone with extensive experience in litigating these types of issues. Attorney Spring has the necessary experience.

Firearms in Cars

It is insufficient for the Commonwealth to prove simply that the defendant was in the same car as a gun. The Commonwealth must prove that the defendant knew the gun was present and the defendant had the power to exercise control over the gun. Attorney Spring has extensive experience filing pretrial motions to dismiss gun charges where the police report or the grand jury minutes do not establish a credible link between his clients and guns found in cars.

Suppression Issues

Because most guns are recovered without a warrant either from the defendant’s person or from a car, a motion to suppress the gun will often be filed prior to trial. Attorney Spring has litigated hundreds of motions to suppress in his career.

We Can Help

Given the serious consequences that result from a conviction for gun crimes, it is essential that you have a Middlesex County criminal defense attorney who is experienced in trying these types of cases. Attorney Spring prosecuted all types of gun and drug cases ranging from drug trafficking to distribution of drugs earlier in his career when he was serving as an assistant district attorney. Since founding Spring & Spring, he has successfully defended clients who have been charged with every type of gun offense in Massachusetts.