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Can You Shoot on Your Property in Massachusetts?

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Being conversant with the gun laws in your state places you in a better position to handle your weapon while protecting your safety and that of others.

Many shooting enthusiasts would love to enjoy shooting even from the comfort of their home but this may not be possible depending on where you live. Massachusetts tends to have strict gun laws and thus, knowing the limits of shooting on your property can help you stay within the legal boundaries.

Can You Shoot On Your Property in Massachusetts?

Yes, you can shoot on your property in Massachusetts provided you are not within 500 feet of a dwelling. It is illegal to fire a weapon, whether a rifle, firearm or shotgun, under 500 feet away from a house or building in use.

This law not only applies to live shots but also to blanks. The law is meant for the protection of those who live and use the building not only during the day but 24/7.

man sighting rifle

Before you start enjoying shooting within your property, you need to ensure that you are on the right side of the law.

The top three things to pay attention to are:

  • Town laws
  • Gun laws
  • Fines

Town laws

Most of the laws available on shooting on private property in Massachusetts revolve around hunting. Since the State laws are not specific, some towns may have their own bylaws with regards to this matter. Thus, it is important to find out if there are any at the local sheriff’s office and which shooting activity they apply to.

For example, according to mass.gov, you need to find out who owns the land and ask their permission first if you want to go hunting. Otherwise, you may be considered a trespasser and the owner may take action against you.

Written permission is better as you will have proof of communication with the owner. If you are the owner, you reserve the right of admission.

person sitting down cuffed by authorities

Gun laws

Despite the fact that you will be shooting within your own property, it is important to still adhere to the basic safety handling of firearms and keep up with the current gun laws of the state. This is so that you are not at risk of prosecution should the police receive any complaints from the neighbors. According to an article by The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, it is illegal to keep an unlicensed weapon at home, whether it is a rifle, handgun, or shotgun.

It is important that you also keep in touch with the local noise ordinances. In Massachusetts, unreasonable noise is that which exceeds 50dBa between 11.00pm and 7.00am or 70dBa at other times. This is when measured from the lot line or the nearest affected house. Having this information will help you choose the right weapons.

Fines

Due to the strictness of its gun laws, Massachusetts takes defiance of these laws quite seriously. In some instances, you may end up being slapped with a fine, while in other situations, you may face mandatory prison time. For instance, if you are found in possession of an unlicensed firearm in your residence, you may face up to 2 years of imprisonment.

If you fire your weapon less than 500 feet away from a dwelling or inhabited building, you could be slapped with a fine of between $50 and $100 or jail time of up to 3 months. You could even end up facing both. Breaking of the noise ordinance rule could get you a fine of up to $300 depending on how many times you have done it and how serious the violation was.

person wearing a mask holding a rifle

Conclusion

Shooting on your property in Massachusetts is allowed provided the city or county you reside in doesn’t have its own restrictions. However, to enjoy your sport, you need to ensure you stay up to date with the gun laws and how they affect you.

If you are having difficulties complying with the minimum requirements, you can always visit the state’s wide choices of shooting ranges This is so as to avoid exorbitant fines and even jail time.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created KeepGunsSafe.com with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.