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Old July 12, 2012, 07:41 PM   #1
North East Redneck
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Interesting change in Mass law

In April of this year, the court case of Commonwealth vs. Jefferson, determined that firearms manufactured before the year 1900, including blackpowder handguns are exempt from G.L. c. 140, 131, this is a reversal of Commonwealth vs. Bibby from 2002. In which the court found that blackpowder handguns were considered to be firearms under c. 140, 121. This meant that you needed to legally have an LTC to posses said firearms outside of your home in agreement with c. 269 10 (a).
c. 140 131 covers licences to carry firearms, 131 does not apply to firearms made prior to 1900. Therefore a firearm made before 1900 is not restricted by an LTC, under the Commonwealth vs. Jefferson ruling. You must however have at least an FID to posses the powder and cap used for a C&B revolver, also you must posses at least an FID to have any cartridge ammunition.
Does this mean you can carry a Ruger Old Army or an Italian repro of an 1800's revolver? Or does it apply only to a firearm actually produced prior to 1900? Like most gun laws in mass, it is written to be open ended and a true conclusion is open to opinion. If you have an LTC with restrictions on it, I would recomend you contact your issuing officer for clarification before violating the terms of your permit.

Yup, mass is insane, if you love your freedom, dont move here. Im stuck for awhile, job and wife and (step)kid........
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Old July 13, 2012, 12:05 AM   #2
kilimanjaro
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I would think that 'manufactured before 1900' means exactly that. A modern reproduction or knock-off is not manufactured before 1900, but many years later.

Sounds though, like a C96 Mauser Broomhandle made before 1900, or a 1899 Krag rifle would be in compliance.
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Old July 13, 2012, 09:37 AM   #3
Gary L. Griffiths
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Not being a lawyer (but being a retired Fed) I would think you'd have trouble with any cartridge weapon, not because of the age, but because of the requirements on ammunition.

BTW, you'd have to be careful with the '98 and '99 Krags -- some '98 rifles and many of the '99 carbines were actually manufactured after 1900.

I would think the only way you would be legal would be to carry a cap-and-ball revolver actually manufactured prior to 1900 (or more likely, prior to 1873 when cartridge revolvers pretty quickly supplanted cap-and-balls).
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Old July 13, 2012, 07:41 PM   #4
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Gary, you may be totally correct. But even before this ruling, Mass law said that repros were exempt from firearms laws. IE; a person with no FID or LTC could purchase any blackpowder weapon, long arms were allowed for hunting, hand guns could be lawfully possesed as long as they didnt leave the house. Only an FID is required to possess cartridge ammo, no licence is needed to own BP, caps etc. However at least an FID is required to purchase BP and caps. Balls, sabots and conicals fall into that gray area where one person tells you no, cannot buy, next LEO you ask says its ok. I say use caution and stick the letter of the law.
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Old July 13, 2012, 10:43 PM   #5
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Just get out and leave them to their FID and such BS
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Old July 13, 2012, 11:14 PM   #6
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Just get out and leave them to their FID and such BS
"Getting out" is often easier said than done. Uprooting a career and a family just because of unjust gun laws isn't something most folks can undertake.

Far more admirable is the course of staying and working to reform the laws.
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Old July 14, 2012, 11:17 PM   #7
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Tom, you are correct. It really isn't that easy to uproot a family and move away from friends and family. If the laws get much worse moving may become easier to do. But at this time I will continue to vote for the few people who run for office that actually care about individual freedoms.
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Old July 14, 2012, 11:21 PM   #8
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Langenc- If only it was that easy, I would have already.
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Old July 15, 2012, 11:28 AM   #9
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Order, Counter Order, Disorder...

Based on what you said, there has been no change in the law, only a change in the court's interpretation of the law.

This is a risky thing, simply because when one court overturns another's decision, another court at a later time can overrule court#2's decision, and precedent changes, yet again.

And, horribly all it may take is someone obeying the (current) law, and having some zealous police/prosecutor take it back to court, where the court may rule differently than current law.

It shouldn't happen, but lots of things that shouldn't happen do...
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Old July 17, 2012, 09:20 PM   #10
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And, horribly all it may take is someone obeying the (current) law, and having some zealous police/prosecutor take it back to court, where the court may rule differently than current law.

It shouldn't happen, but lots of things that shouldn't happen do...
IMO, if the conduct clearly fell within the conduct allowed by precedent from the state's highest court, then a change in interpretation could be applied only prospectively. Otherwise, there would be an ex post facto problem and, possibly, a void for vagueness issue. I recognize that a person's life could still be ruined while sorting all that out.
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Old July 24, 2012, 08:01 PM   #11
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44 AMP-
Good point, interpretation is the key here, most of the time the law will decide against the gun owner.

KyJim-
Most of the gun related laws here are written so that any infraction, implied or stated, leave an open end for each case to be decided based on the individuals involved in the particular case. Justice isn't blind here, it changes based on the prosecutor and local court officials. Never had to deal with it personally, but the local news tells me what is good for one is not good for another.
I have no inclination to test this court ruling, I posted it to see how others that are knowledgeble felt about it.
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