Unlawful Possession of an Assault Weapon or Large Capacity Feeding Device

Massachusetts has strong gun laws and low gun ownership rates, and the Commonwealth takes gun law violations of very seriously. The crime of unlawful possession of an assault weapon or large capacity feeding device carries a punishment of at least one year and up to ten years in prison for a first offense. If you have been charged with this or any other gun crime in Massachusetts, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What is “Unlawful Possession”?

The crime of unlawful possession of an assault weapon is governed by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 140, section 131M, which prohibits sale, offers to sell, transfer, or possession of an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. In law, the term “possession” is a more complex one. A person can “possess” an item even where he or she has no physical contact with the item, provided that he or she had knowledge of the item and the ability to exercise control over it.

What is an “Assault Weapon”?

The statutory definition of “assault weapons” set forth in section 121 of Generals Laws chapter 140 includes revolving cylinder shotguns, all Avtomat Kalashnikov (AK) models, and several specific gun models, such as Beretta Ar70 and Colt AR15. Replicas, permanently inoperable weapons, weapons made before 1899, antiques, relics, and props are not “assault weapons” under the statutory definition.

What is a “Large Capacity Feeding Device”?

The term “large capacity feeding device” is also defined by statute. A “large capacity feeding device” is one that can be readily converted to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition or more than 5 shotgun shells or one that comes within the definition set forth in the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. An attached tubular device that is capable of operating only with .22 caliber ammunition is not a “large capacity feeding device.”

What Sentence do I Face if Convicted of Unlawful Possession of an Assault Weapon or Large Capacity Feeding Device?

Again, this crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for at least one year and/or a fine of at least $1,000. A first offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A second offense is punishable by imprisonment for at least 5 years and up to 15 years.

How can I Defend Against a Charge of Unlawful Possession of an Assault Weapon or Large Capacity Feeding Device?

An experienced gun crimes lawyer will begin building a defense after carefully examining and investigating all of the facts of the case. Filing a motion to suppress evidence may be a defense option. If the police committed a constitutional violation in the course of the search or seizure, then the government cannot use the illegally seized evidence against you. Lack of possession or lack of knowledge of the firearm may be argued, particularly in a situation where the weapon is found inside of a vehicle or inside of a home with multiple occupants. A defense might also involve argument that the firearm fails to meet the definition of “assault weapon” or “large capacity feeding device.”

Massachusetts Gun Crimes Defense Attorney (617) 263-6800

If you or someone you know has been charged with unlawful possession of an assault weapon or large capacity feeding device in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. today. Attorney Stephen Neyman has decades of experience defending persons accused of weapons offenses. A top Boston-based lawyer, he practices in courts all throughout Massachusetts. You can reach Attorney Neyman by calling (617) 263-6800 or by contacting him online.

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