Gun crimes in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, are violent crimes committed with the use of firearms or an imitation gun. A gun crime has been committed when a victim has been shot, resulting in death or injuries. Even when no one was shot, the illegal firing of a gun, intimidating or threatening people with either a real gun or an imitation gun are categorized as gun crimes. This also includes the possession of an unlicensed gun.
Gun specific crimes in Suffolk County, as stated under Massachusetts Law, include:
- Unauthorized purchase of firearms: A person may be liable to up to 10 years imprisonment for purchasing a gun from an unlicensed dealer. A first-time offender may be subject to a minimum of $500 fine and a maximum of $1,000.
- Illegal sales, rental, or leasing of guns: Any person who sells, rents, or leases guns without a license is punishable by a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to a maximum of $10,000. Offenders can also face between 1 and 10 years imprisonment. In some cases, violators may face both fines and imprisonment.
- Providing false information while purchasing a gun: It is an offense to knowingly provide fictitious names, addresses, criminal records, or other incorrect details while buying a gun. A first offense is punishable by a fine between $500 and $1,000 or maximum imprisonment of 1 year. A repeat offender will face at least two years in prison and up to five years in the state prison.
- Failure to report loss or theft of gun or its recovery: A first-time offender who fails to report a lost gun or the recovery of a previously reported lost or stolen gun to the commissioner of the department of criminal justice information services and the licensing authority will be punished by a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum of $1,000. A second-time offender will face either a 1-5 years imprisonment or pay a fine between $2,500 and $7,500. A third or subsequent offender will pay a fine and serve a jail term. This offense can also lead to temporary or permanent revocation of the person’s FID card or License To Carry.
- Sales or furnishing of guns and other weapons to aliens or minors: It is an offense to sell or furnish a gun or ammunition to an 18 year old alien or above. Also, it is against the law to sell or provide a machine gun and ammunition to persons under age 21. The offender’s license may be revoked and they may be banned from re-applying for the license for ten years. The accused may also be imprisoned for 10 years or be punished by both a fine and maximum jail term of 2 and a half years.
- Possession of firearms while under the influence: Handling a firearm while under the influence of drugs or liquor is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 or by imprisonment in the house of correction for at least two and half years, or by both fine and imprisonment.
- Illegal carrying of Firearms: Except for people exempted under the Massachusetts Law Chapter 269 section 10, a conviction for carrying a gun without a license may result in a jail sentence of up to 18 months and up to 5 years.
- Carrying a rifle or shotgun on a public way: Carrying an unloaded rifle or shotgun on a public way attracts up to a $5,000 fine.
How many Gun Crimes are Committed with a Legally Obtained Firearm in Suffolk County?
The statistics for gun crimes committed in the whole of Massachusetts included Suffolk County. In 2019 the Commonwealth recorded
- 247 gun deaths
- 95 gun homicides
- 33 handgun homicides (Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] figures)
- 0 handgun homicides (Centers for Disease Control [CDC] figures)
- 0 long gun homicides (FBI and CDC report)
- 14 handgun suicides
- 12 long gun suicides
Who Can Possess a Gun in Suffolk County?
- Individuals with Firearm Identification (FID) card or License to Carry (LTC) may possess or carry firearms. An FID card gives holders the permit to purchase, possess, and transport non-large capacity rifles, ammunition, and shotguns. The LTC license permits the licensee to purchase, possess, transport, and carry large and non-large capacity handguns, shotguns, rifles, feeding devices, and ammunition. An LTC costs $100 and is valid for six years, renewable. New applicants for an LTC must be at least 21 years old.
- New FID applicants must be at least 18 years of age. However, persons between ages 14 and 17 may apply for an FID card with parental consent. 14-year-olds who apply for FID will have to wait until their 15th birthday to get their card. The FID cards are also valid for six years and cost $100 for persons 18 and older and $25 for individuals under 18 years.
- First-time applicants for firearm licenses are obligated to complete a Certified Firearms Safety Course or a Basic Hunter Education Course.
- Non-residents: Do not require a license to move their firearms in and around the Commonwealth, provided they are not loaded and are concealed in a case during the journey. They also do not require a firearm license to carry guns and ammunition provided that they have a valid Massachusetts non-resident hunting license.
A person is restricted from possessing a firearm if they;
- Have been convicted as a youthful offender or delinquent child for committing a felony, misdemeanor, violation of gun-related laws, violation of any law on controlled substances, or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in a court in Massachusetts.
- Have been committed to a hospital or other institution for mental illness, alcohol, or substance abuse. Unless the person, after five years of confinement, submits the firearms license application with an affidavit from a clinical psychologist that shows the applicant is in the right state to possess a firearm
- They are not legally and permanently residing in all jurisdictions across Massachusetts, including Suffolk County.
- They are a subject of an outstanding arrest warrant at the state or federal level.
- They were dishonorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States.
- They renounced their United States citizenship.
What if my Gun is Stolen and Used in a Crime in Suffolk County?
Anyone who loses their gun must immediately report the matter to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services Firearms Records Bureau (FRB). The owner of a lost gun can report the theft electronically on Massachusetts Gun Transaction Portal. On the portal, the person will need to input their FID/LTC License number and their pin.
If they failed to report the gun theft, and the gun was used in a crime, they may be charged with the crime of transfer of weapon, which is an unlawful act under Massachusetts law.
How Often is a Gun Used to Stop a Crime in Suffolk County?
Law enforcement officers have the power to use guns while performing their duties to protect lives and property as necessary and may use guns to stop a crime or during an arrest.
The Massachusetts law encourages residents to defend themselves with a gun or any other weapon when they perceive that their physical safety is in immediate danger. However, self-defense must be done reasonably. The court will weigh the necessity of the gun in self-defense against the level of perceived threat, and if the gun was deployed during
- Trespass of property
Consequences for Immigrants with Gun Crime Convictions
Immigrants convicted for the possession of firearms may be deported under 8 U.S.C. Subsection 1227 (a)(2)(c). Other gun crime convictions that may lead to deportation of an immigrant are possession of a machine gun, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, and possession of a firearm without the appropriate license. Additionally, an immigrant with a gun crime conviction may be denied naturalization.
Suffolk County Weapons and Firearms Violation Attorneys
A skilled criminal defense attorney has the experience and professional skills for defending and beating gun-related charges. The weapons and firearms violation attorneys can collect specific facts and general information that may be helpful in defending the charges against the defendant and may successfully secure an acquittal or mitigate the sentences for a conviction.
Gun Charge Legal Defense in Suffolk County
- It is legal to own a gun: The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution permits the rights of individuals to possess a firearm for self-defense.
- Self-defense: Self-defence is a common defense for certain gun charges in Suffolk County.
- Lack of possession: the defense may claim that the defendant was a mere passenger in a vehicle where weapons were found and did not have the power or control or possess the gun.
- Motions to suppress evidence: The defense may ask the court to exclude certain evidence on the grounds that they were collected by law enforcement in violation of the accused’s constitutional right and were collected outside of the officer’s legal duty.
- Knowledge of weapon: A lawyer can present facts that the accused was not aware of the presence of a gun in some cases.
Gun Enhancement Defenses
Committing a felony while armed with a gun will attract a gun enhancement sentence in addition to the standard penalty for the offense. Another gun enhancement crime is possessing a firearm during specific sex offenses.
Defenses to gun enhancement include:
- Self-defense: the defense may claim that the accused needed the gun to protect themselves.
- Defense of others: The accused may claim that the underlying intent for using or possessing the weapon to defend another person.
- The accused did not commit the underlying felony. If the court dismisses or acquits the accused of the underlying felony, the gun enhancement charge automatically fails.
- The defendant did not personally use the gun while the crime was being committed.
- The police found the gun during an illegal search.