How Much Jail Time for a Gun Charge?

Facing gun charges and wondering how much jail time for a gun charge? Let’s break it down. 

While the Second Amendment protects a citizen’s right to bear arms, the law also allows states to regulate gun ownership and use. Massachusetts gun laws are particularly strict and penalties for being found to be unlawfully in possession of a gun or in possession of an illegal gun can be severe, even for a first-time offense, leaving many to ask: how much jail time for a gun charge? 

If you have been arrested for unlawfully carrying a firearm and are wondering how to proceed, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg today to discuss the details of your case: online or by phone: 978-221-2503 (Lowell), 617-431-2701 (Belmont).

In Massachusetts, a Firearm Identification Card (FID) is required to possess any gun, while possession of a handgun requires an additional License to Carry (LIC). Additional restrictions on how and where a person can carry and use a firearm exist even for gun owners with an FID and/or LIC. Licensing and registration requirements differ for conceal carry vs. open carry, and for different types of firearms and firearm capacities. It is imperative for gun owners to understand these nuances to avoid adverse consequences like jail time. 

So, how much jail time for a gun charge? 

The length of jail time for someone convicted of a gun charge depends on the type of charge, as well as other factors, and can range from 18 months to life. In Massachusetts, many gun crimes carry mandatory minimum sentences. In other words: the absolute minimum sentence a judge can serve a person convicted of a gun crime, regardless of their criminal history or context. 

Illegal carrying of a firearm can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 18 months. 

Possession of an unlicensed firearm is punishable by up to 2 years and a fine, which varies depending on whether it is a first or repeat offense. 

Punishment for possession of a rifle or a shotgun in a public way depends on whether the rifle or shotgun is loaded, being used for hunting by an owner who possesses a valid hunting license, and its capacity.  Carrying an unloaded rifle or shotgun in a public way is punishable by a fine, whereas carrying a loaded large-capacity rifle or shotgun in a public way is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Possession of an illegal firearm such as a sawed-off shotgun or a machine gun carries a maximum punishment of life in prison with a minimum of 18 months to serve. 

Possession of a firearm while found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a misdemeanor in Massachusetts punishable by up to two and a half years in jail and a heavy fine, even if the person is licensed to carry that firearm. 

Possession of a firearm while committing or attempting to commit a felony carries a 5-year mandatory minimum. If the firearm is an illegal firearm the consequences become more severe.

Massachusetts is one of the strictest states in the nation when it comes to how much jail time for a gun charge. For this reason, it is important to secure strong legal defense early to protect your future. 

Hire a defense attorney today

An experienced defense attorney can carefully scrutinize the prosecution’s claims and come up with the best defense strategy to help you fight your case. We are committed to defending your right against unlawful search and seizure and have the resources and experience to stand with you to stop or win your case. 

Don’t take chances with how much jail time for a gun charge — call Keren Goldenberg to get advice on your case today. 

The Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg are conveniently located in Lowell and Belmont, Massachusetts at the following locations:

The Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg

97 Central St. #403

Lowell, MA 01852


The Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg

19A Alexander Ave.

Belmont, MA 02478