Massachusetts G.L. c. 140, § 131M: Unlawful Possession of an Assault Weapon or Large Capacity Feeding Device

The crime of unlawful possession of an assault weapon or large capacity feeding device is governed by General Laws chapter 140, section 131M. That statute provides as follows:

“No person shall sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. Whoever not being licensed under the provisions of section 122 violates the provisions of this section shall be punished, for a first offense, by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for a second offense, by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $15,000 or by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 15 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

Massachusetts General Laws chapter 140, section 121 defines the terms “assault weapons” and “large capacity feeding device.” Under the statute, “assault weapons” include:

  • Avtomat Kalashnikov (AK) (all models)
  • Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil
  • Beretta Ar70
  • Colt AR15
  • Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR and FNC
  • SWD M10, M11, M11/9 and M12
  • Steyr AUG
  • INTRATEC TEC9, TECDC9, TEC22
  • Revolving cylinder shotguns, such as the Striker 12 or Street Sweeper

That statute provides that the term “assault weapon” does not include:

  • Any weapons or replicas or duplicates of such weapons specified in appendix A to 18 U.S.C. section 922 as appearing in such appendix on September 13, 1994, as such weapons were manufactured on October 1, 1993

  • Any weapon that is operated by manual bolt, pump, lever or slide action

  • Any weapon that has been rendered permanently inoperable or otherwise rendered permanently unable to be designated a semiautomatic assault weapon

  • Any weapon that was manufactured before the year 1899

  • Any weapon that is an antique or relic, theatrical prop or other weapon that is not capable of firing a projectile and which is not intended for use as a functional weapon and cannot be readily modified through a combination of available parts into an operable assault weapon

  • Any semiautomatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition

  • Any semiautomatic shotgun that cannot hold more than five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine.

A “large capacity feeding device is defined by G.L.c. 140, section 121 as a “fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip or similar device capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than ten rounds of ammunition or more than five shotgun shells; or (ii) a large capacity ammunition feeding device as defined in the federal Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(31) as appearing in such section on September 13, 1994.” The term “large capacity feeding device” does not include “an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with,.22 caliber ammunition.”

The provisions of G.L.c. 140, section 131M do not apply to possession of assault weapons of large capacity feeding devices by law enforcement or persons retired from law enforcement who aren’t otherwise prohibited from receiving such devices.

Related Offenses

Offenses that are similar or related to unlawful possession of an assault weapon or large capacity feeding device, G.L.c. 140, section 131M, include:

  • G. L. c. 269, § 10(m)(unlawful possession of a large capacity feeding device)
  • G. L. c. 269, § 10(m) (unlawful possession of a large capacity weapon)
  • G. L. c. 269, § 10(h) (unlawful possession of ammunition)
Defenses to Unlawful Possession of an Assault Weapon or Large Capacity Feeding Device Charges

An experienced criminal lawyer will thoughtfully evaluate each case to establish the best possible defense. One way to defend against gun and weapons charges is to file a motion to suppress evidence, arguing that police activity violated the defendant’s constitutional rights. Other defenses to these charges may involve argument that the item did not fit the statutory definition of an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device or that the defendant did not sell or possess the item. A knowledgeable criminal attorney will explore the case from all angles and aggressively protect your rights.

Penalties

For a first offense, unlawful possession of an assault weapon or large capacity feeding device is punishable by a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 or by imprisonment for at least one year and up to ten years, or both such fine and imprisonment. For a second offense, this crime is punishable by a fine of at least $5,000 and up to $15,000 or by imprisonment for at least 5 years and up to 15 years, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Massachusetts Gun Crimes Defense Attorney (617) 263-6800

For decades, Stephen Neyman has been one of Massachusetts’ top criminal defense attorneys. He is committed to achieving the best possible results for his clients. Attorney Neyman is an aggressive and experienced criminal lawyer with a track record of success. He practices in courts throughout Massachusetts. If you or someone you know has been charged with unlawful possession of an assault weapon or large capacity feeding device or any other crime in Massachusetts, contact Attorney Neyman today. You can reach his office by calling (617) 263-6800 or by completing the online contact form.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
We went to trial and won. He saved me fifteen years mandatory in state prison for this case.
★★★★★
I hired him and he got the case dismissed before I had to go into a courtroom. My school never found out and if they had I would have lost my academic scholarships. He really saved my college career. Melissa C. Cold Spring, New York, October 2013
★★★★★
My union rep told me to call Steve Neyman. From the get go I felt comfortable with him. He took the time to talk to me about my case whenever I needed .... He even gave me his personal cell number and took all my calls. We won the case and I kept my job. Bart L. S.
★★★★★
The best criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts. Takes all of his client's calls at any time of the day or night. He was always there for me and my family. Steve saved my life. Jacquille D. Brockton, Massachusetts
★★★★★
In less than two months Stephen Neyman got my old conviction vacated. I now have no criminal record. Paul W. Boston, Massachusetts