Do You Need a Gun Permit to Shoot at a Gun Range in Massachusetts?

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Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. They were implemented in order to reduce crime and violence. The laws in place enable the authorities to keep track of all gun owners and prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands.

All these measures were put in place in a bid to reduce gun-related deaths.

Do You Need a Gun Permit to Shoot at a Gun Range in Massachusetts?

Yes, you need a permit to shoot at a gun range in Massachusetts in some cases, in the form of a firearms license. This is because of the strict gun laws of the state. Most shooting ranges ask for firearm licenses in order to allow you to shoot at their facilities.


According to, these licenses are issued to Massachusetts residents who are 15 years old or older who need to carry or use a firearm. These firearms are issued by the local police department.

The top three things to pay attention to are:

  • Firearms licenses
  • Gun laws
  • Unauthorized weapons

Firearms Licenses

There are various firearms licenses that one can get in the state of Massachusetts for different purposes. For the ranges that require shooters to have a firearms license, you can get the license at the facility after some classes or you can get it at another accredited facility. These licenses are required to buy any ammunition at all.

In order to maintain a valid license, you need to follow the laws. According to the Giffords Law Center, the license can be revoked if the person is deemed unfit to carry the weapon. The best way to go about this is to find out the requirements of the range you plan to visit beforehand.

Man aiming to shoot, wondering if he needs a gun permit at a gun range in Massachusetts

Range Laws

Most ranges have their own rules which need to be followed to the letter thanks to the strict gun laws of Massachusetts. For example, despite needing a firearms license, shooters are required to be supervised by range safety officers at all times. If you have a problem with your weapon, only a range safety officer is allowed to help you.

In some ranges, no loaded guns are allowed in the common areas for safety reasons. Also, only one shooter is allowed in the shooter’s box unless it’s a child being supervised by an instructor. Furthermore, if you need any firearm instruction while at the range, some ranges only allow this from their own instructors.

This is to keep training standardized in accordance with the range rules.

Unauthorized Weapons

Due to its stringent gun laws, some weapons are not permitted in Massachusetts. This means that you can neither possess them, transport them in a range backpack or a gun case, nor shoot them at the range. According to an article by, some of the weapons banned by the Attorney General’s Office in 2016 include:

  • All AK models
  • Beretta Ar70
  • Revolving cylinder shotguns
  • Colt AR-15
  • Action Israeli Military arms
  • Steyr AUG
  • Switch Fullscreen
Close up of a handgun

Some ranges may also include a list of their own banned guns such as high-impact automatic or semi-automatic machines. It all depends on whether the range facilities can handle the impact or not. Make sure to call beforehand if you have any doubts to confirm whether your weapon is allowed.


When going shooting at a gun range in Massachusetts, you need to be especially cautious due to the strict gun laws. One mistake or assumption could land you on the wrong side of the law. The best way to go about it would be to call the specific range you want to visit ahead to find out the fine details.

This will prevent you from making a trip to the facility only to be turned away for one reason or another.

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