Hanscom legal office outlines privately-owned firearm policy

  • Published
  • By Katelyn Stemrich, Legal Intern
  • 66th Air Base Group, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Due to numerous questions regarding base firearm policy, the Hanscom Legal Office is outlining guidance and best practices for residents and visitors.

According to Massachusetts law, any person possessing handguns, large-capacity rifles, and/or shotguns must have a Class A License to Carry.

Individuals seeking to acquire an LTC must complete the Basic Firearms Safety Course. Then, they must submit their certificate, along with an application and fee, to the Firearms Records Bureau. Bureau personnel will then conduct background checks and a Department of Mental Health review. Processing a LTC may take up to 90 days.

LTCs are not transferable, and Massachusetts does not honor other state’s licenses. However, federal law allows those traveling through the Commonwealth to transport firearms, provided they are lawfully possessed in both the state of origin and destination. Handguns must be unloaded and secured in a separate compartment, and rifles and shotguns must be unloaded and in a secure container.

Massachusetts law imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 18 months in jail for illegally carrying a firearm, even for a first offense.

Once an LTC is obtained, loaded or unloaded handguns may be transported on the person of the license-holder or under their direct control while in a vehicle. If the handgun is not under their direct control, it must be unloaded and in a secure container, or secured with a trigger lock. Large-capacity rifles and shotguns must be unloaded and in a secure container. For these weapons, trigger locks do not satisfy the securing requirement.

Tech Sgt. Luis Veliz, the Security Forces Squadron physical security non-commissioned officer in charge, provided additional tips and insight on this topic.

“When transporting firearms, remember that rifles and shotguns should be unloaded in the trunk of the vehicle, cleared and safe, with the breech open,” he said. “If you don’t have a trunk, the firearm must be unloaded, out of arms reach, and within a secure container. We also recommend these weapons be equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device.”

When arriving at Hanscom, firearms must be declared to the entry controller and immediately registered with the 66th Security Forces Squadron at building 1725. Those living on-base must store their personally-owned firearms in a secure container at their residence or at the SFS armory. Individuals residing in dormitories must store all firearms at the SFS armory.

Open carry is not permitted at Hanscom, and concealed carry is only permitted by authorized law enforcement or qualified Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act cardholders. According to officials, POFs should never be stowed in any manner as to appear to be a concealed weapon, and possession of a POF or ammunition is never permitted in the work center, common areas on base, dorms, and storage areas. For off-base residents, firearms must be registered with the local police department in the town where you reside.

For more information on transporting firearms in Massachusetts, or to obtain the LTC application, please refer to the Firearms license frequently asked questions, Applying for a firearms license, or Gun Ownership in Massachusetts at Mass.Gov.

To register your firearm at Hanscom, or for additional information, call SFS at 781-225-5605 or e-mail them at Hanscom.Police.Services@us.af.mil.