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Massachusetts: What's the difference between an LTC & an FID

Updated: May 23

Understanding the Key Differences Between LTC and FID in Massachusetts

Massachusetts residents who are interested in understanding their rights and responsibilities when it comes to firearm ownership need to be familiar with two different types of licenses: the License to Carry (LTC) and the Firearms Identification Card (FID). In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the three main differences between these two licenses: what you're allowed to purchase and possess, how you may carry and transport firearms, and the age requirements for each license. Plus, we'll address commonly asked questions such as "What guns can you get with an FID card in MA?" and delve into the nuances that distinguish LTC from FID in MA.

Purchase & Possession: LTC vs. FID

Large Capacity Weapons

One of the most significant distinctions between an LTC and an FID is the ability to purchase and possess large-capacity weapons. As an LTC holder, you are granted the right to own semi-automatic firearms capable of accepting a detachable magazine and firearms that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. To help you determine if a firearm is considered large capacity, we have created a helpful assessment tool. [Put link here] where our assessment will guide you through the process.


LTC holders have the privilege of purchasing handguns and the associated ammunition. This classification is broad and includes firearms classified as "pistols" by the ATF. A notable example is the Mauser MP40, which, despite its size, is classified as a pistol in its stockless configuration. In contrast, individuals with an FID are prohibited from owning

Pistols/Handguns, restricting them to less versatile options.

Carrying & Transportation: What Are You Allowed to Do With Your Firearms?

LTC holders benefit from the flexibility to carry their firearms openly or concealed in various settings, whereas FID holders face restrictions. If you have an FID, you are only permitted to keep your firearms at home, transport them in your car, and use them for specified sporting activities such as target shooting or hunting. It's essential for FID holders to understand these limitations to ensure they remain in compliance with state laws.

Age Requirements: Eligibility for LTC and FID

Massachusetts law stipulates clear age requirements for obtaining an FID or LTC. You can apply for an FID at the age of 15 with parental consent and become eligible for an LTC at 21. Understanding these age-based restrictions is vital when planning for firearm ownership in the state.

What Are Some Good Options for FID Holders?

Despite the restrictions, FID holders in Massachusetts have a variety of firearm options. Fixed magazine rifles with a 10-round capacity or less, such as variants of the SKS, AR-15, and AK-47, are permissible. Semi-automatic shotguns, including the Benelli M2 and M4, also remain popular choices among FID holders due to their compliance with state regulations.

The Process to Obtaining a License: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying for an LTC or FID involves a few critical steps. Initially, applicants must complete a basic firearms safety course to receive a certificate. The next move is to submit this certificate, along with the application and fee, to the local police department. The standard processing time ranges from 45 to 60 days. For a detailed walk-through of acquiring your LTC in Massachusetts, refer to our in-depth article. [Insert link here]

FID vs. LTC: Is One Better Than the Other if You're Over 21?

There has been much debate and confusion regarding whether to apply for an FID over an LTC, especially for those over 21. As of 2024, if you're 21 or older, there's no advantage to obtaining an FID instead of an LTC. Both licenses require the same safety course, the applications cost an equal amount, and any criminal history will affect your eligibility for either license similarly. Choosing an LTC is a sensible choice as it confers broader rights and capabilities.


Massachusetts residents must navigate a complex landscape when it comes to firearms licensing. From understanding what guns you can obtain with an FID card to recognizing the benefits of an LTC, this guide provides the information necessary to make informed decisions. Remember to consider your specific situation, including age and firearm usage plans when selecting a license type that's right for you. Stay informed, and exercise your rights responsibly.

Lets Compare

Obtaining a firearm in Massachusetts is a more laborious process than in other states, but with the right steps, you can get yours within a months. Below is a comparison chart that can hopefully better illustrate the limitations of either license.




Age Requirement



Concealed/Open Carry



Possess a Handgun



Possess a Shotgun



Possess a Rifle



Large Capacity Firearms



Purchase Ammunition



Purchase Handgun Ammunition



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