Sunday, January 27, 2013

Private sales of firearms in Massachusetts are closely regulated

The common perception about private sales of firearms in Massachusetts is that they skirt around the requirement to have a background check. Most people believe there is no control over these transactions, resulting in the often misunderstood "gun show loophole."

First of all, the lion's share of sales at gun shows are made by licensed dealers who must run background checks on those sales on the spot. For the sales that happen between private citizens, whether at a gun show or not, there are tight controls.

Within seven days of a private sale, Form FA-10 must be filed with the state. It's the same form that licensed dealers send to the state. On that form, the buyer and seller must record their license numbers (firearms ID card or license-to-carry) and information about the firearm exchanged.

There is no requirement to run an instant background check, but here's where license monitoring comes in. As an FID card or LTC holder, a person is subject to having his/her firearms confiscated and license suspended or revoked if arrested for committing a wide range of crimes. As an example, police have the authority to confiscate weapons and suspend/revoke a license in cases of alleged domestic abuse. Even if charges are dropped, a police chief may decide that, for LTC holders, the suitability of the person to carry a firearm has been breached and a license can be revoked.

A private sale is illegal if either of the parties has a suspended or revoked licensed, or no license at all. The state police will quickly take action upon receiving an FA-10 which has a license number flagged for suspension or revocation or which fails to match the database of clean licenses.

Additionally, a seller cannot sell more than four firearms in a calendar year. That is to prevent people from becoming unlicensed dealers.

One might argue that these requirements would be ineffective for a person intent on purchasing a firearm to commit a crime. That's true, of course. A person could put a fictitious license number, name and address on the FA-10. A buyer with a suspended license could put legitimate information on the form and commit the crime within seven days. There are many ways that a person can obtain a firearm by illegal means, including purchasing one "on the street" without bothering to fill out a form. The key here is that all of these scenarios are already against the law.

Do we need to close the "gun show loophole" and require instant background checks for all sales? That will be debated this year on Beacon Hill and I'll be listening to the arguments carefully. I welcome your input.


  1. You answered your own question. The FID or LTC number has to be on the FA 10. A background check has already been done.

  2. Finger printing is an important step in reducing private sale fraud. The state now has finger prints on file for licensing. Require all private sales to need the finger print validation. Its a simple USB attachment to a desktop. Have the state manage the website for the sale, log in, make the sale, match the print and now the seller is as liable without the waiting period. The sale can be denied by the state on the spot. Obviously, people could still get around the system but it would put more on the seller at the time of purchase.

  3. Doesn’t anybody else see the problem with the “Gun SHOW” concept? What exactly is the star of the SHOW, some device that can kill 30 people in 15 seconds? I’ve never been to one, do they do live demos? Do they actually make guns louder than they need to be for showmanship? Have they come up with the double barrel gun yet that points one barrel at the victum and one barrel at their own head to kill themselves and the victim with one pull of the trigger?….This issue is the culture we live in. As for background checks, if somebody wants a gun they are going to get a gun plain and simple. I can’t believe both sides of this argument target the 2nd Amendment as the issue. 2nd amendment as I read it is all about the right of the citizens to arm themselves and form a militia. So what type of guns are we talking about the realisticly go up against the likes of the US Military or other authoritative power of competent strength. I tell ya, assault weapons aren’t going to stop a third and fourth wave of drone attacks. I guess my question is what types instruments of death do we need to properly arm yourself against an out of control US government? Are they still making those flame throwers because that one there can do some serious damage. Why doesn’t the second amendment cover all war instruments for appropriate venues (oops I mean theaters). On that note what body of law would have authority over what theaters would need a flame throwers and what theaters would need say a few garden variety chemical weapons. Lets face it folks, if anyone is really going form a militia and compete against the US military do we really think there are going conform to the constraints of the US Constitution? Really!! Sorry to go off Randy but I have to say, both sides have been hijacking this 2nd amendment thing way too long. Nobody in power wants to stand up and say hey if we really want to honor the intent of this 2nd Amendment than tanks should be allowed in our driveways just as any other device the US Military has. The issue is twofold. Our culture promotes violence and our culture makes it very easy for any would be assaisan to go on a killing spree. That’s the issue, some new law isn’t going to change that. Our culture has to change. Take away the guns and the numbers may go down a bit but some asshole will fire boom a school, or car boom a church. Why do you think the US doesn’t really have to many car bombs going off…Answer-would be assassins don’t really need to go to that trouble. If we really had an enforceable right to form militia and stop an out of control government why hasn’t it happen? 60 thousand dead in Vietnam, Regan selling true 2nd amendment arms to Iran, a budget crisis that has already bankrupted our kids.. When exactly is this militia going to be form to stop an out of control government? How much more out of control is it going to get. Violence is everywhere in this culture. We 2 weeks into the Hockey season now, isn’t about time we saw one of those as soon as the game starts off go the gloves fights?….The culture has to change. Violence has to be something that people get disgusted by, not entertained by. I'm Dan Bell and I approve this message.

  4. Dan if you don't want to have a gun that's fine. You however do not understand the constitution or the bill of rights let alone the second amendment. You might want to try reading Federalist 28 and 46 written by Hamilton and Madison along with the individual letters of ratification which were virtually identical in the demand of rights retained by the people. The Bill of rights is comprised of amendments made up from the letters of ratification as written by Madison. Madison didn't think a bill of rights was needed but he was prevailed upon to write it anyway. The language he used was an attempt to compile the language contained in the letters. It makes it sound like the only purpose of the 2nd amendment is a Militia. These rights however are natural rights retained by the citizens from the government. The government did not grant us these rights. Among those natural rights is a right to self defense and being armed for that purpose. Heller vs DC ruled that in 2008. McDonald vs Chicago affirmed that right in 2010. That said what you don't have a right to do is use a gun to rob a package store, or invade a home or commit a drug crime. That is the source of over 98% of all the gun violence in this country. The gun control crowd never wants to go after these folks for some reason. The target is always the legal gun owner. Why? Gun Control has been a crown jewel for the progressive movement for years. Gun crime gives them ammuntion to go after the guns, not the criminals. As far as militias forming in modern times, up until recently we have had a government that understood it's bounds. Most recently with daily intrusions into our lives ranging from how much water we can use to flush a poop, to what kind of light bulb we can use, how and what we eat to what kind of health care we must buy people across this country are realizing enough is enough. Maybe not here in Ma. where people worship at the alter of big government; but elsewhere oh yeah!

  5. Hello Randy thanks again for your blog.
    FYI This is on the TOS front page.
    This is the only place I have seen it.
    It could be an open meeting that may not have been noticed properly. I do commend the new planner Nate Jones for having such a meeting as this was not done by the former planner, but I feel the public should know about it and know what the current proposals are. I have no clue what the changes to the zoning bylaws are as they have not been made public to the best of my knowledge. also note this is at the town hall and on a wed, not the regular planning or zoning meeting times.

    Proposed Zoning Amendments

    The Office of Planning and Development will be hosting a presentation and public forum regarding proposed zoning amendments for this Spring's Annual Town Meeting.

    The Public Forum will be held Wednesday February 6th at 6:30 PM in the upstairs auditorium of Town Hall.
    All members of the public are invited to attend and are encouraged to share feedback


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