2nd Amendment and Right to Bear Arms/Fed Gun check NCIS


I live in Mass and approx 14 years ago was convicted of larceny by check a misdemeanor and was sentenced to 2 years without jail time  stupid on my part ) .  I have found out that under the law I can obtain an FID card and possibly a TLC Class A or B license depending upon the local decision via the Police Chief in my town . Does this conviction disallow me from owning a rifle or a shotgun in Mass due to the Brady bill requiring a gun check ( NICS ) and a possible change in law due to fed law stating a 2 year sentence is classified as a Felony ?

Under federal law, a "prohibited person" may not possess or receive firearms or ammunition. Federal law considers one a "prohibited person" if he or she has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. The same is true for one who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. See 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n), and 27 CFR 478.32 for the full text of the law and associated regulation.

However, the term "crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year ... does not include any State offense classified by the laws of the State as a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less." See 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(20)(B).

If the Massachusetts larceny offense in question is a misdemeanor and punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years or less, then the conviction would be outside the definition of a prohibited person under federal law. If, however, the state offense is punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than two years, the conviction would make one prohibited from possessing or receiving firearms or ammunition.

Note that the sentence issued by the court is not determinative. What is determinative is the maximum penalty under the law that could have been imposed. Without knowing the precise Mass. statute at issue, I cannot definitively say whether a conviction under it makes one prohibited.  

2nd Amendment and Right to Bear Arms

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Robert P. Firriolo


General constitutional (Second Amendment) and federal firearm law inquiries. New York State and New York City laws and regulations on firearms. Use of force in self-defense. DISCLAIMER: While this site is called AllExperts and this field is captioned "Expertise," this individual is not holding himself out as an "expert" in any legal area of practice. Some jurisdictions require certain qualifications and/or certifications in order to use the label "expert" in connection with a law practice. Participation in this online service is not intended to state or imply "expert" qualifications in any jurisdiction.


Practicing firearms law attorney, including representation of individuals, gun clubs, sportsmen's organizations, shooting ranges, and businesses. Over 20 years of grassroots activism, including involvement in campaigns and elections; writing and editing articles, letters, press-releases, policy papers, and op-ed columns; interaction with firearm regulatory agencies; former board member and current legal advisor to the board of sportsmen's and firearm civil rights organizations; pro-bono counsel on select firearms-related legal cases; debated leaders of the gun-control lobby on national television. Lecturer on lawful use of deadly physical force and crime prevention.

Attorney at law. Extensive practice, independent study and research in this field. NRA-certified firearms instructor (rifle, pistol, shotgun, home firearm safety, personal protection) and Chief Range Safety Officer.

Awards and Honors
Martindale-Hubbell "AV" Peer-Review Rating.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.