antique firearm in NH and MA
April 4, 2014 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I'll be living and working in one of both. I want to buy a pepperbox revolver replica, because I always was fascinated by those , likely percussion based, and maybe take it to a shooting range once in a while. Do I need to fill out any kind of paperwork? What if I move from one state to another? What if I have the gun in my car as I cross state lines? Can I have the gun and ammunition with me in the car?
posted by spacefire to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
If you have the gun in your car as you cross state lines, as long as you are travelling from one place where it is legal to another place where it is legal, you will be protected by "Peaceable Journey" laws, as long as you don't dawdle along the way.
posted by corb at 12:11 PM on April 4, 2014

First, you need to determine if the gun you want to buy can be legally owned under Federal law. (i.e. how the BATF would classify it, since there are some regulations that make owning a pre-1898 firearm or replica easier) You then need to see if there are any laws in NH and Massachusetts pertaining to possession of it. Corb's comment left out an important caveat, in that the firearm must not be accessible to the driver to qualify for the safe-harbor provision available for travelling under federal law.
posted by dcjd at 12:19 PM on April 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

In General, all black powder firearms are not considered to be affected by the 1968 GCA law that say s you have to get a background check, etc. In fact you can mail order several different types of black powder, percussion fired revolvers to your door, I can't see why the pepperbox style would be any different.

However, this is Federal Law, and not state law and I have no idea how MA or NH handles it. Most states in the west don't have any additional laws (except for California) on black powder firearms, and legally, many aren't considered firearms at all. In fact,most states (and the Feds), consider any firearm, of any type, made before 1899, to not be a firearm at all even if they are designed to use smokeless powder cartridge ammunition.

And the 1986 FOPA (firearm owners protection act) only applies if you transiting a state with the gun in a locked case or locked up in the trunk and the gun is legally owned in both the departure and arrival state. New York regularly just ignores this law altogether and arrests you and charges you with a felony for any gun of any type while transiting the state.

Most state Attorney Generals offices are happy to answer any questions you might have about firearms, either over the phone, or a letter. I would do both, so you have a written letter should problems arise (your lawyer will LOVE you if you have one from the AG stating you weren't breaking the law should some cop arrest you).
posted by bartonlong at 1:51 PM on April 4, 2014

Whoa! MA has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. To have a handgun of any kind you need to get a permit, and that requires jumping through a lot of hoops. Depending on the town you live in, you might not be able to get a permit that is not very restrictive. FOPA, the law for travelers, doesn't apply in either the state of departure or the destination, so not relevant. There are links to gun law info on the northeastshooters forum.

NH, OTOH, has much less restriction, but I think you still need a permit. You would want a regular permit in your own state and a nonresident permit in the other.

All this is for normal guns. It may be different in some ways for antiques, but I doubt it.
posted by SemiSalt at 2:11 PM on April 4, 2014

These are three general resources I have used in the past:

Right to Interstate Transportation

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Interstate Transportation of Personally-Owned Firearms

Additionally the local Attorney General offices are great resources. Laws can change, quickly. To be safe, be prepared to take remarkable extra care in the transportation of your firearm, regardless of the advice provided.
posted by lstanley at 2:12 PM on April 4, 2014

In Massachusetts, firearm licensing is entirely up to the municipal police chief. Whether or not you can get a gun license is entirely up to what town you live in. If you're looking for places to live, it may be worth calling the town's police headquarters for more information.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:28 PM on April 4, 2014

Mass gun laws for non-residents if you're hanging out in MA.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:43 AM on April 5, 2014

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