Ballin Law


Firearms are a significant cause of death and serious injury in the U.S.  According to the National Safety Council, 48,222 people were killed by firearms in the U.S. in 2022.  Of these, 56% of deaths related to firearms were suicides, 41% were homicides, and about 1% were preventable or accidental.

Massachusetts law regulates the ownership and possession of firearms in a variety of ways.  Anyone who owns or possesses any firearm is required by law to obtain either a license to carry or a firearms ID card from their local police department.  This law requires the police to screen all applicants and refuse to issue a license to carry or ID card to various classes of persons, including convicted felons and persons who have committed crimes of domestic violence.  The licensing requirement has the added benefit of allowing police officers and other first responders to know whether firearms are present at a home that they must respond to. 


Another way that Massachusetts seeks to reduce deaths and injuries involving firearms is to require that guns be stored safely and securely when not in use, so that the guns do not end up in the wrong hands.  Massachusetts law requires all gun owners to store their firearms safely.  By statute, firearms that are not in use must be “secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner.” 

Any gun owner who violates this law is potentially subject to serious criminal penalties, including a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $7,500 or by imprisonment for up to 1 ½ years, or both.  There are enhanced penalties that apply to unsafe storage of large capacity weapon or weapons stored in an unlocked location where a minor could have access to it, including mandatory prison time if convicted.

Gun owners can also be subject to civil liability for unsafe storage of firearms.  In one case, a parent left a large gun collection unlocked in her home where she and her adult son lived.  The gun owner knew that her son had a history of violence and mental illness.  The son took one of the firearms from the house and was involved in a shoot-out with police in which an officer was killed.  The Supreme Judicial Court held that the gun owner was negligent for failing to keep the guns securely locked and inaccessible to the son, because it was reasonably foreseeable that the son might take one of the guns and injure someone.  The gun owner could be found liable for the wrongful death of the police officer.

In another case that our firm handled, we were able to recover $500,000 for a police officer who was shot while responding to a 911 call.  We obtained that settlement from the insurance company for the shooter’s father, who was convicted of failing to store the firearm safely.  Details of that case are available here.

If anyone you know has been injured by a firearm that was not stored securely and ended up stolen or otherwise in the hands of someone other than the person licensed to own or carry the gun, please contact us to learn more about your right to obtain compensation for your injuries.

These cases are handled on a contingent fee basis which means no money is owed unless we are successful in collecting money compensation on the case.  Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation. 

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