Unlicensed Carrying of a Firearm
In Massachusetts, a license to carry a firearm is separate from a license to possess a firearm. That means that you may lawfully own a gun, but carrying it on your person is a crime.
The law prohibiting carrying a gun without a license is designed to punish people the legislature deems particularly dangerous. The result is that the penalty for unlicensed carrying of a firearm includes a mandatory minimum, and assistant district attorneys are generally instructed to ask that the defendant be held for up to 90 days without bail, after a dangerousness hearing, as a matter of course in cases charging unlicensed carrying of a firearm.
Carrying a Loaded Firearm
Further, if the gun was loaded at the time of the alleged offense, the statute provides for a mandatory on-and-after sentence, which means that the additional punishment imposed based on the fact that gun was loaded must be served beginning on the end date of the punishment imposed based on the underlying possession or carrying charge.
Realistically, if someone is charged with carrying a gun, particularly if it is loaded, there is a very good chance that the Commonwealth will request that he or she be held without bail for up to 90 days pursuant to a dangerousness hearing. Such cases can be fought, but it is important to get started on preparing right away because time is against you.
Given the severity of the penalties described above, and the potential for other collateral consequences associated with a charge of carrying a firearm, if you or someone you know has been charged with a firearm offense, contact me to set up a free and confidential consultation.