In my state of Massachusetts, before being able to purchase any firearms, you must obtain a Firearms Identification (FID) license or a License to Carry (LTC).

Suppose that someone is in the process for applying for an FID, which according to our general law (140 S 129B) is a "shall issue" license.

Suppose that this person was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States at a very young age. Once the applicant's parents obtained citizenship through naturalization, the applicant was also given citizenship because s/he was under 18 and their child. The applicant's clearest proof of citizenship is having a US passport.

A town official tells the applicant that because s/he was born in Germany, they required a certificate of naturalization. When asked if a passport would be accepted instead, the police officer strangely stated that it could not be accepted because a passport has an expiry date. Furthermore, the police department's page for firearms licensing states:

For a Firearms Identification Permit (FID):


A naturalized citizen within the above age restrictions (applicant must present proof of naturalization); and ...

There is the option of filing for a Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600), however the average processing time for these applications is over a year. Everyone has a right to bear arms guaranteed by the second amendment and this is a "shall issue" firearms license. It seems quite insane to me that a person would need proof of naturalization despite being a US citizen.

Is this legal? Can the applicant do anything besides applying for an N-600?

  • Ask a local lawyer. Try to find one that specializes in firearm law.
    – Ryan_L
    Jun 28, 2021 at 17:01
  • How did you get a passport without proof of citizenship?
    – Dale M
    Jun 28, 2021 at 22:32
  • 1
    @DaleM I believe my parents just applied for the DS-11 providing Proof of Derived Citizenship (all the things I'd need for N-600).
    – Rob Gates
    Jun 28, 2021 at 23:37
  • @DaleM proof of citizenship in a case such as this would be the applicant's birth certificate, a parent's naturalization certificate, the applicant's green card (if it is available; or other evidence of the applicant's permanent resident status if it is not, as in this case), and evidence that the applicant resided in the physical custody of the naturalized parent at some point between the parent's naturalization and the applicant's 18th birthday. Clearly the town's guidance should be changed to say "or other evidence of US citizenship."
    – phoog
    Jun 29, 2021 at 9:50
  • The N-600 also has a fairly hefty fee, which is presently $1,170. (Also, what about US citizens born abroad who are US citizens from birth through US citizen parents? They also cannot present a naturalization certificate.)
    – phoog
    Jun 29, 2021 at 9:55

1 Answer 1


The police are mistaken because they don't understand immigration law.

Usually, the first step to resolve this problem would be to explain the situation in a letter to or telephone call with the town attorney, elevating it from a police officer who has no training in citizenship and naturalization paperwork, to an attorney, who should either know better, or should be able to find out more easily.

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