To participate in any training or activity involving firearms you must not
be a “Prohibited Person” as
defined by federal law:
The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), makes it
unlawful for certain categories of persons to ship, transport, receive,
or possess firearms or ammunition, to include any person:
- convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a
term exceeding one year;
- who is a fugitive from justice;
- who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
(as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified
at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
- who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed
to any mental institution;
- who is an illegal alien;
- who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable
- who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
- who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing,
stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate
- who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
The GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 992(n) also makes it unlawful for any person
under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term
exceeding one year to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition.
Further, the GCA at 18 U.S.C. § 922(d) makes it unlawful to sell
or otherwise dispose of firearms or ammunition to any person who is
prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms
Important explanations in English
- “possess” in this context means “have under
one’s control, hold, or touch”. This means it’s a
federal felony for a Prohibited Person to even touch a gun or ammunition,
even under direct supervision.
- “punishable” means the potential maximum penalty,
regardless of actual time served. e.g.: if you’re convicted of assault,
but you don’t serve any time, you’re still considered a “Prohibited
Person”, because the penalty could have been
up to 2½ years.
“crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” excludes
“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.”. (18 USC §
One quirk of Massachusetts law and drunk driving: In 1994
Massachusetts increased the maximum penalty for a first time DUI
conviction to 2½ years; the only state to have done so.
Therefore a Massachusetts drunk driving conviction occurring
after May 27, 1994 is a disqualifier, but a conviction before then,
(or from any other state) is not. If you have doubts, consult a
Another quirk of Massachusetts law is that many misdemeanors have
a maximum penalty of 2½ years, making them disqualifiers even though
they’re misdemeanors, not felonies. “Misdafellonies”.
- “unlawful user” includes medical marijuana; even with
a medical marijuana card. Pot is still illegal according to federal
law, despite being “legal” (decriminalized)
in several states. The ATF has determined that
possession of a medical marijuana card is prima face evidence of being
an unlawful user, and therefore a Prohibited Person.