In Massachusetts you can own short barreled rifles (SBRs), machine guns (if you have a machine gun license or “green card”), factory manufactured short barreled shotguns (SBSs) — theoretically anyway (see below), “Any Other Weapon” (AOWs), and Destructive Devices. Only law enforcement personnel (while acting in their official capacity) may possess silencers (suppressors). Below we’ll discuss some further details and caveats regarding ownership of NFA items in Massachusetts.
SBRs Are the Most Common NFA Firearm in Massachusetts
In Mass, the SBR is king — it is most common NFA firearm for a Massachusetts gun owner to make/acquire (whether individually or using a Massachusetts gun trust). In fact, due in large part to the restrictions imposed by the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and the Executive Office of Public Safety, our gun trust clients in Massachusetts generally make their own SBRs since lawfully acquiring an SBR in Massachusetts can be difficult. The effect of Maura Healey‘s decree unilaterally expanding the scope of the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban has complicated the process for making SBRs.
But it bears repeating (because we get asked this all the time): Yes, you can still build an SBR in Massachusetts!
An Important Note About Short Barreled Shotguns
As you may already know, it is unlawful to make a short barreled shotgun, as these are considered “sawed off shotguns”, which are prohibited under Massachusetts law. But complicating these further is this: the Massachusetts Attorney General has asserted that short barreled shotguns are actually handguns. Unfortunately, the ATF is presently accepting this interpretation. For this reason, unless and until a short barreled shotgun is added to the EOPS roster and complies with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s additional regulations (or comes to a different conclusion), short barreled shotguns are effectively prohibited in Massachusetts.
Using a Massachusetts Gun Trust Offers Benefits
In addition to sharing your NFA items with other Massachusetts gun trust trustees and enjoying estate planning benefits, a properly-drafted gun trust will allow your trust to acquire items not allowed in Massachusetts (which can stored and enjoyed in any state where they are legal to possess.
Here’s how: if a gun trust is used to make or acquire an NFA firearm, then a Massachusetts resident who has a close friend or family member in Maine or New Hampshire, can appoint that friend or family member as a trustee of the gun trust. This trustee can then acquire suppressors on behalf of the Massachusetts NFA trust, and which can be used and enjoyed by trustees in Maine or New Hampshire. Just keep in mind: the suppressor cannot enter the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This
Red Dog Legal is the Best Choice for Creating Your Massachusetts Gun Trust
Our Massachusetts NFA trusts have been used by countless clients in Massachusetts seeking one or more SBR tax stamps. Along the way, we’ve helped our clients address the Byzantine nature of Massachusetts firearms laws — including Form FA-10 reporting, the AWB, and more. And our gun trusts are designed specifically for Massachusetts (we don’t just swap out the state name like some of the nation-wide trust vendors or generalists with gun trust software). If you have questions about what can and can’t be done in Massachusetts, don’t hesitate to contact us!