Most adults living in Massachusetts can legally own a firearm if they want to do so. The process to obtain a license to own a gun is local and logical.

All people have the right to own a firearm. Those of us lucky or ambitious enough to be an American citizen have that God-given right protected by our federal constitution, and in most cases, our state constitution.

Owning a firearm is a serious responsibility and a deeply personal choice. Having a firearm isn't for everyone. Everyone has the right, but it isn't a decision to be made lightly. Owning a firearm for personal protection is fine. However, there is a whole world of recreation and enjoyment for gun enthusiasts.

Target shooting with pistols and rifles. Shooting clay disks on skeet and trap ranges with shotguns. Hunting a variety of animals and sharing in the well-earned food with friends and family. Collecting vintage weapons and their related history. In my experience, the folks you meet in the world of firearms are some of the best.

But first, a person has to get a license to own a firearm.

In Massachusetts, the chief of police in the city or town where a person resides is the granting authority. Pick up the phone and call your local police department (please use the non-emergency line) and ask to speak to the officer who handles firearms licenses.

You will be required to take a firearms safety course. This is a reasonable requirement and most firearm safety instructors are great. You will find the course valuable, interesting, and enjoyable.

You will also have to submit to a background check. You will fill out the paperwork, pay the fee, and your local police department will ship your information off to the federal government. You will finally have a story about being fingerprinted to tell at parties!

If you have any questions about the process, you can reach out to the Massachusetts Gun Owner's Action League. They are a great resource for gun-related education and fellowship.

Consider owning a legal firearm—it will open up a whole new world to you and your friends and family.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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