Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Defending Against Firearm Possession Charges in Massachusetts

A man and woman in Pepperell were recently arrested in relationship to a large-scale firearm theft involving several semi-automatic weapons and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. The arrest occurred after law enforcement found two individuals with two outstanding New Hampshire warrants sleeping in a residence. The pair is currently being held pending arraignment. Additional investigation led Massachusetts law enforcement to a residence where 16 weapons were found, including three AR-15s, two AK-47s, four semi-automatic rifles, and numerous pistols. As a result of this additional finding, Massachusetts law enforcement has announced plans to file additional charges.

Massachusetts firearm laws are particularly strict, and being convicted for most gun or firearm crimes results in mandatory jail or prison sentences. These charges arise in a number of different criminal offenses including armed robbery and murder. In some situations, gun charges can also be initiated against individuals who are charged with the gun crimes independent of an offense. In either situation, it is a wise idea to understand some important details about these charges.

Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun Charge

Massachusetts law prohibits the possession of a machine gun except those owned by law enforcement. This law defines a machine gun as any weapon that is loaded or unloaded and capable of automatically or rapidly discharging shots by one continuous trigger activation.

A person who is convicted of unlawfully possessing a machine gun can face a maximum life sentence. The reason why these offenses result in particularly serious penalties is that machine guns are traditionally associated with very serious crimes.

One of the best ways to defend against these charges involves arguing that the certain criteria to satisfy the offense are not met. Many people charged with this offense create strong defenses by establishing that the firearm in question did not meet the definition of a “machine gun.”

Unlawful Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm or Feeding Device

Law in Massachusetts also prohibits the unlawful possession of a large capacity firearm or feeding device. A person who is convicted of this offense faces up to 10 years in prison. Law enforcement takes these offenses seriously because these weapons have the potential to do a substantial amount of damage.

Much like machine gun charges, many defenses to this law rely on establishing that firearms involved in an offense do not meet Massachusetts’ definition of a “large capacity weapon.”  These weapons include semi-automatic weapons with a fixed large capacity feeding device, semi-automatics capable of accepting detachable large capacity feeding devices, employing a rotating cylinder capable of accepting more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a rifle or firearm, or an assault weapon.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

No matter the Massachusetts criminal offense with you are charged, it is important to understand that the resulting penalties can be particularly serious. As a result, you should not hesitate to speak with a seasoned criminal defense attorney like Edward R Molari. Contact attorney Molari today to schedule an initial free consultation.