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Concealed Carry


This next little segment will illustrate the confusion that is out there in the law enforcement community, and in general, on weather you can carry handguns out in the open or not. I do not blame law enforcement for this confusion, I blame the legislature for drafting archaic laws that could confusTe Einstein!

I was in Plimouth Bay Outfitters in downtown Plymouth, and I could not help but overhear a conversation between a patron and one of the store keepers. They were discussing the purchase of a new pistol and the patron asked about weather it was required in this Commonwealth to carry concealed when in public? The storekeeper emphatically announced that if one was to carry in the open without a badge, that it was a felony and they would go to jail. The statement struck me as odd, as I had recently been on one of the interactive maps through www.usacarry , and had read that Massachusetts was an open carry state, and I had never found any law to the contrary.

Now I am not generally an advocate of open carry; I have always felt that it should be a surprise to those around me and especially my attacker that I am usually armed. Nonetheless, I have never found the statute that requires me to carry concealed. So I challenged the storekeeper for the source of their declaration. And although he was absolute in his resolve, he could not produce the Ma. General Law (MGL). I decided to  make some  phone calls starting with  my local police station and queried the on duty detective. He had no answer (although he was certain as well that it was an arrestable offense to carry open). So, being onto something, I called a few more police departments all with the same result.

By this point I decided to bump the issue up to the State Police, (they regulate the firearms laws for the state) and phoned the Bourne barracks first. The Trooper at the other end of my cell was pretty sure that open carry was prohibited and said he would arrest an individual carrying in the open, but could not find the specific MGL that supported the statement. He recommended that I call the State Police Headquarters in Framingham. The nice woman at the State Police Headquarters did not have a clue what I was talking about, but kindly referred me to the Firearms Record Bureau in Boston. After playing a few rounds of phone tag with an attorney name of Jason Guida, he answered the long and sought query. There is no specific written statute or law that prohibits open carry in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That technically makes us live in an open carry state. HOWEVER, as the local authority has the power to grant and revoke a license to carry, the wise gun toter would check with their local police chief before waltzing down Main Street with a .45 strapped to their thigh like Wyatt Earp……just to avoid unnecessary harassment and needless trips to the court house.

{Note} Law enforcement ‘perceptions/misconceptions’ are a funny thing, not in a laughing sort of way. In my class I tell people that it is a good practice to carry concealed because of the liberal culture here in Massachusetts, which for the most part is very much anti-gun, anti Second Amendment. Even though you would ultimately win in court because no one would be able to dig up the law against open carry, it would surely put you through headaches and monetary burdens that you could live without. Err on the side of caution, conceal that handgun unless you don’t mind spending your days in a courtroom…….

Mark Shean,  Knowledge through Experience

Former NRA Law Enforcement Firearm Instructor

About Me

Reviews  written 12-8-2009

One Response to “Gun Sense #15, Concealed or Not Concealed, That is the Question…”

  • windangyle6669 says:

    I did some research on the open carry in mass and it seems that you get a slightly different answer depending on where you look. I personally think carrying concealed is the best way. There are two sides though to the open/conceal carry. Carrying open may stop something from happening. For example I am a 5′ 1″ female- if a mugger saw my revolver straped to my hip he probably wont mug me. Another example is if a robber walks into a resteraunt with the intention to rob the patrons and sees that there are a few people eating dinner with guns on their hip he may reconsider his ill intent. On the flip side if someone knows you are carrying and sees your gun then not only is the element of suprise taking away but this criminal has the chance to use your own gun against you. I feel concealed is the best bet but I do understand both arguments. I do also believe that we have the right to choose which we prefer. If society wasnt so set on the trigger pulling the finger and that the gun turns us into heartless criminals then the whole argument wouldnt matter. But unfortunatly too many people have the belief that the gun will make us a criminal and that the gun somehow has a mind of its own and makes its owner commit a crime. It is not the gun that commits the crime and it is not the trigger that pulls the finger- it is the criminal with the gun that CHOOSES to commit a crime with the gun. That right there is a great reason for the law abiding citizens to be able to carry and protect them selves from the criminal. A gun can take a life or save a life depending on whos hand it is in the gun does not make the decision to pull its own trigger. Last I knew there are no rougue guns out there commiting crimes on their own. Always a pleasure to read your posts and thanks again for giving us a place to speak. Nelly NOTE: Your welcome Nelly, Mark

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