Massachusetts airgun silencer laws?

Forums Other Parts, Accessories, & Equipment Massachusetts airgun silencer laws?

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    R_M_F
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    Does anyone know or have a link to the definitive laws relating to the ownership and use of airgun suppressors/silencers in the state of Massachusetts by any chance, especially detachable ones i.e not built into the air rifle itself? Can't seem to find a firm answer on this. Many thanks, Bob

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    DeutschKSK
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    I live in the 7th layer of hell, (Worcester) anytime I’ve ran into the law with Airguns they never gave me any problems with my gear. Had suppressors and all..

    Matt

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    BigTinBoat
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    Most times when you can't find a law or statute that "Prohibits" something it is generally allowed. Laws usually don't dictate what you "can" do, they dictate what you "can not" do.

    If you don't see any restriction on air gun silencers, or you don't see any "definitions" in the law that list air guns as "firearms", then they are likely not covered by the law and would not be prohibited.

    A quick search only turns up the below in reference to Mass (State) Law. Only thing I could see that would stop you would be if any local/town ordinances prohibit them.

    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter269/Section12B

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    R_M_F
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    Thanks @deutschksk and @bigtinboat. I've heard something similar too that they are OK but then someone else say otherwise. It's annoying that there isn't a "yes this is OK" statute as you say so it leaves it a little up in the air. I've found this statute (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter269/Section10A) which states "any gun" so I guess technically that could apply. 

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    FrankinFairfield
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    Move..

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    ptthere
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    FrankinFairfield

    Move..

    ^^^ This. I've lived in the NE twice. Never again.

    That said, I try to keep up to date on firearms laws state-state as I am in a situation where I need to know each state's laws in real-time if I travel. Airguns on the other hand have been ruled by the Supreme Court as "NOT" firearms, so airgun accessories become free from legal issues in this regard. However…

    That is not to say that a LEO wouldn't sweat you on it during a traffic-stop or similar encounter. By the letter of the law, it should be legal. But if you have a suppressor that is threaded the same way for an airgun that would match up to barrel-threading in your 9mm in the same trunk, a liberal state like MA may give you problems in court. It may be overturned later but you will go through a nightmare.

    Laws are a slippery slope, but basically if a State does not have a law on the books for it, you are good. Just don't take it to the shopping mall.

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    R_M_F
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    Thanks for the input. I'm coming from the UK and was limited to 12ft/lbs on an airgun, so living in MA and it's airgun laws feels like a breeze. Shooting isn't a top priority, so happy to go without the silencer and I love New England for everything else, so I can't complain there! Just don't want to do 5 years in the slammer for getting an airgun silencer or go bankrupt defending myself in court! 

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by R_M_F.
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    Bogview
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    Cape Cod here.  In Massachusetts an airgun is not a firearm. Firearms laws do not apply.

    Maybe better to sell your 12FP there and get something here with umph.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Bogview.
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    R_M_F
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    Oh I’ve got a FX Crown in .25 that’s putting out 56ft/lbs (I’m just outside Boston) and have a little something in the works to take it up to 68ft/lbs with the slugs (slug liner in the mail) so I’m happy with that and the range. 12ft/lbs was plenty of fun though!! Airguns I know are not treated as firearms and require no FID or LTC but with a detachable silencer (i.e.DonnyFL) I wondered how that might be construed by law enforcement as an individual piece. 

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by R_M_F.
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    acs
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    R_M_F

    I've found this statute (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter269/Section10A) which states "any gun" so I guess technically that could apply. 

      " any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearm "

    I believe SCOTUS has ruled airguns are not firearms.

    Directly from the Mass law you linked, in the law it says "or other firearm" thus categorizing their previous 3 words of "any gun, revolver, pistol", meaning the former are firearms in their definition, for the purpose of this law.

    Very surprisingly for Mass, I believe this law was written poorly by legislators that had no clue silenced air rifles even existed, and if challenged if would eventually be amended with the word firearm substituted for the word gun. Lots of 'guns', glue guns, nail guns, staple guns, airguns speargun, etc…

    If silenced air rifles were illegal in Mass,, Walmart couldn't sell/advertise them in their Mass stores… And Walmart does sell/advertise many of them in their Mass stores.

    jmo

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    R_M_F
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    Jmo I think you’re right about not knowing much about air rifles at the time this was written. Half the guys at the range I go to are surprised that I’m sticking a target at 100 yards let alone 200 when I shoot the air rifle there. 

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    acs
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    with a detachable silencer (i.e.DonnyFL) I wondered how that might be construed by law enforcement as an individual piece. 

    All depends on the context of the situation/intended use, imo. As others have said,, by all means do not have a detachable device that could be misconstrued as illegal hanging around off your airgun becoming a possibility of being installed on a real firearm. If found under your seat with no air rifle present, that would be a problem for a Mass state trooper if he knew what it was and you had no proof of its intended purpose, you'd be taking a ride more than likely.  If it was in your air rifle case next to your FX, not a problem imo.  Otoh, if it was found with no airgun around, and also in your possession was your glock with a threaded barrel and you with no Mass pistol permit, then you'd be posting from the greybar hotel in Concord, for half a decade, not the 1 year mandatory pistol violation.

    jmo

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by acs.
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    R_M_F
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    Jmo, yeah that's my concern, is having it viewed not as part of the air rifle (which isn't a firearm), but itself as an individual mechanism, capable of knocking some decibels off an actual firearm discharge, even if it is just the one shot before it potentially blows the silencer apart. Just having "for airgun use only" printed down the side doesn't mean it can't screw onto a firearm an become a firearm silencer, right? For now it might be a play it safe, sort of deal, rather than a 5 year vacation in the slammer!

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    BigTinBoat
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    According to Mass Law airguns meet the DEFINITION of a Firearm, Rifle or Shotgun depending on their length and barrel. So if found with a silencer on one there is a very good likely hood that a prick of an LEO could cite you.

    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter140/Section121

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    acs
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    Interesting discusion…

    My bet, knowing Mass legislation wording/loopholes, at the head of that section you linked to is the context' that allows Mass Walmarts to sell silenced air rifles…

    " Section 121. As used in sections 122 to 131Q, inclusive, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:? "

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by acs.
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    STO
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    My condolences on your residency. 

    What little I can contribute to this discussion is that the original federal court precedent, that clarified airgun moderators aren't silencers and blew the market wide open for us here stateside, was People vs. Michael Crooker. If memory serves, this occurred in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Obviously that is federal, not state, law however it is worth noting he wasn't subsequently prosecuted by the state on these charges. 

    I hope that is at least an interesting anecdote, if not entirely helpful. 

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by STO.
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    R_M_F
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    Thanks @sto, that is an interesting point! I wasn't aware that he was MA based, so maybe that does point in the direction of them being OK. I may take a trip down to the local law enforcement establishment and run it past them or at least see if they can point me in the direction of something concrete. Feels like a roll of the dice at the moment.

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    ptthere
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    STO

    My condolences on your residency. 

    What little I can contribute to this discussion is that the original federal court precedent, that clarified airgun moderators aren't silencers and blew the market wide open for us here stateside, was People vs. Michael Crooker. If memory serves, this occurred in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Obviously that is federal, not state, law however it is worth noting he wasn't subsequently prosecuted by the state on these charges. 

    I hope that is at least an interesting anecdote, if not entirely helpful. 

    Was that the guy who was convicted of "armed robery with a firearm" only to be overturned later by the high court because he used a pellet gun (which the SCOTUS ruled is not a firearm)?

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    acs
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    ptthere

     

    Was that the guy who was convicted of "armed robery with a firearm" only to be overturned later by the high court because he used a pellet gun (which the SCOTUS ruled is not a firearm)?

    No, it was exactly what this thread is about and in Mass. And Crooker was acquitted of the silencer charge setting a precedent for air gun silencers. Seems you're good to go R_M_F, air gun silencers are legal even in Mass.

    Thanks for that info STO. Very interesting read….

    https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-1st-circuit/1527670.html

    "The conviction is reversed and the case remanded for the entry of a judgment of acquittal.

    It is so ordered."

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by acs.
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    BigTinBoat
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    acs

    ptthere

     

    Was that the guy who was convicted of "armed robery with a firearm" only to be overturned later by the high court because he used a pellet gun (which the SCOTUS ruled is not a firearm)?

    No, it was exactly what this thread is about and in Mass. And Crooker was acquitted of the silencer charge setting a precedent for air gun silencers. Seems you're good to go R_M_F, air gun silencers are legal even in Mass.

    Thanks for that info STO. Very interesting read….

    https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-1st-circuit/1527670.html

    Not quite exactly. THIS thread is asking about the laws in a specific STATE

    Right from your link………………" The federal statute under which Crooker was charged "

     

    TO THE OP – Remember that Legal advise is generally only worth as much as you are willing to pay for it.

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