Billerica Safe storage case

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stinx

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All things aside ,the gun owner in this case used poor judgment in my opinion.



on weapons storage in Billerica case
By Lisa Redmond, [email protected]
Posted: 03/02/2009 07:29:51 AM EST


LOWELL -- Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone is challenging a Lowell District Court ruling -- and a U.S. Supreme Court decision -- that could put less responsibility on gun owners to secure their weapons when not in use and in storage.

Leone is directing prosecutors to fight, in state Appeals Court, the dismissal of a gun-storage case against a Billerica man who kept an unlocked semiautomatic hunting rifle under his bed where it could be accessed by his teenage son.

"Gun-storage laws are put in place to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands and to protect people from accidental shootings, particularly children,'' Leone said.

"In this case, we argue that current Massachusetts law works to assure that firearms are secured so that only the registered owner can use it, and that it does so without infringing on a person's Second Amendment rights," he added. "We believe that this is a fundamental issue of firearm and child safety, and we will continue to present our arguments to the courts."

The case took root from a routine police response to a call on April 1 that BBs were being shot through a window of a Billerica home at 7 Fernwood Road.

Upon arrival, Billerica officers noted a side window of a house at 9 Fernwood Road being closed by a young man.

After speaking to William Durant, the homeowner at 7 Fernwood, the officers went next door and spoke to Alexander Runyan, the 18-year-old son of Richard Runyan. Alexander has


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Down syndrome and was alone in the house that day.
Alexander took the officers to his bedroom, where they discovered a Daisy BB gun in his closet. Officers saw that the teen's bedroom window directly faces the kitchen window at 7 Fernwood where Durant was washing dishes when he was shot with BB pellets.

According to police reports, the teen admitted to officers that he shot at his neighbor's window.

Police confiscated the BB gun and, upon questioning Alexander, learned that other guns were in the house. Police said Alexander took the officers to his father's bedroom, where they found a 12-gauge shotgun and a semiautomatic hunting rifle under the bed.

Police said the shotgun had its trigger lock in place, but the hunting rifle did not. Both weapons were seized by police.

Police said they later discovered that Richard Runyan's Firearm Identification Card had expired in September 2005.

On April 2, police filed a complaint in Lowell District Court charging Richard Runyan with improper storage of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a valid FID card. On Aug. 14, Runyan filed a motion to dismiss the charges, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

In June, the Supreme Court had ruled in Washington, D.C. vs. Heller that a city ban on handguns and a trigger-lock requirement were unconstitutional. The decision was applauded by gun advocates as a protection of Second Amendment rights.

The decision noted that Massachusetts law mandating lock boxes or trigger locks that render the gun inoperable to use for self-defense would frustrate the owner's ability to immediately access an operable weapon.

But Middlesex County prosecutors Sean Griffith and Kerryanne Kilcoyne argued that Massachusetts law does not deprive Richard Runyan of the right to bear arms and to do so in self-defense.

"The court was clear that its decision was not meant to undermine laws that regulate the storage of firearms to prevent accidents,'' prosecutors wrote.

Massachusetts law does not ban the possession of functional firearms, only the improper storage of them, according to Leone.

State law does not require, like the District of Columbia, that firearms be kept inoperable at all times, but that firearms be stored in such a manner that only the owner may operate them.

"Since the threat to the public peace and order is great when a weapon is involved, surely a state must be able to regulate the use and storage of firearms so as to protect and maintain the safety of its citizens,'' Middlesex prosecutors wrote.

That is especially true in the Billerica case, prosecutors explained, where Runyan's son, who police believed to be severely handicapped, not only knew where his father kept additional guns, but had easy access to, and the potential use of, an unsecured and operable firearm.
 

Twigg

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Other issues notwithstanding, IMHO the kid has no business having access to even a RedRyder as he clearly has no understanding of safe gun handling.
 
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