An unfortunate scenario that often lands women in trouble with the law is when they unwittingly become involved in the illegal holding, supplying, or trafficking of weapons to those who are not permitted by law to have them. Many women find themselves pressured by family members, husbands, boyfriends, etc. to serve as a straw purchaser, someone who buys a gun or other weapon on behalf of someone else who is unable to purchase the gun or weapon themselves. If you supply or hold guns you face serious criminal legal problems.
Straw purchasing of weapons by women has long been a way for convicted criminals to get their hands on guns, especially in Massachusetts. For instance, the problem was so significant just a few years ago that a number of public safety organizations, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and the City of Boston, banded together to launch an education and leadership development program focused on raising awareness of this problem amongst women. Operation LIPSTICK – Ladies Involved In Putting a Stop to Inner City Killings – targeted at-risk women and girls and focused on educating them about the dangers of holding, buying, or concealing a weapon for a boyfriend, husband, family member, or friend who cannot obtain the weapon themselves.
Massachusetts Firearm Laws
Massachusetts law M.G.L. c140 Section 129c requires that only people with valid firearm identification cards can buy and possess firearms, and M.G.L. c140 Section 131 requires gun owners to carry either a Class A or Class B license. There are a number of restrictions on who is able to get a firearm and who is not. For instance:
- Under G.L. c140 Section 131(d)(i), anyone who is convicted under any state or federal jurisdiction cannot obtain a firearm.
- Under G.L. c140 Section 129c and 130, firearms cannot be provided to persons under the age of 21.
- Under G.L. c140 Section 130, firearms cannot be sold or supplied to aliens that do not have a permit card.
The law that often gets the women mentioned above in trouble is M.G.L c140 Section 131E(b), which makes it illegal for anyone to:
- Purchase a firearm for the unlawful use of another,
- Resell a firearm to an unlicensed individual, or
- Give a firearm to an unlicensed individual.
The penalties associated with buying, selling, or giving a firearm to someone who is prohibited from having a gun under the law are severe, with a fine of between $1,000 and $50,000 dollars or a jail sentence of between 2.5 years and 10 years.
Contact a Massachusetts Weapons Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with illegally providing a weapon or holding a weapon for someone who is not permitted to have a weapon, you will need to contact an experienced Massachusetts weapons defense attorney.