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DC vs Heller and impact on MA gun laws

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DC vs Heller seems to be heading in the direction that the second amendment is an individual right and that banning access to a complete class of firearms (handguns) is not a reasonable restriction.

The Supreme Court could go further but lets assume for now that is all they say. What would that give those in MA, especially those in "red" towns?

At the moment gaining the ability to even possess a handgun inside your home in MA requires the issuance of a LTC, and such issuance is purely subjective based on the decision of the local chief of police, he could say "I don't know you" or "I don't issue those" or just could be having a bad day and Bam! no possession of handguns for you. Your ability to possess a handgun in your home can also be take away anytime the chief feels you are unsuitable.

This seems to be one of the easiest next steps around the country after DC vs Heller, at the very least it should be possible to make a restricted LTC shall-issue (possibly via the State Police as it is for non-residents).

Thoughts?
 

M1911

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I'm guessing that the decision will end up being very narrow. And even if it isn't, it would take a lawsuit in federal court to change the behavior of towns. That would take lots of time and lots of money.
 

ochmude

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I'm guessing that the decision will end up being very narrow. And even if it isn't, it would take a lawsuit in federal court to change the behavior of towns. That would take lots of time and lots of money.

That's my thought as well. A favorable decision by the Supreme Court won't make every may-issue municipality in the country suddenly change it's ways, and certainly not in MA. It will, however, establish a precedent and give people ammunition for future lawsuits. Maybe if legislators start to notice an awful lot of similar suits being filed all over the country, they might take action on their own. But I doubt it.
 

doobie

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New licensing system with more fees. A handgun only license and a rifle only license. You have to apply for both.... and if you currently are licensed, well time to reapply! Oh it now costs $150 for 3 years each license! Low capacity rifle manditory, high capacity at the will and pleasure of the CLEO.
 
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My considered opinion:

If the court finds the right to keep and bear is an individual right, all
kinds of possibilities open up for MA gun owners.

Take for example the "suitable person" clause in the LTC regs.

The chiefs will no longer be able to deny a license without cause, that is to say, a reason mandated by statute. The "I don't feel like it" or "I don't think you're trustworthy" rationale goes down the toilet.

Also, restricted LTCs are on shaky ground. That is interfering with
the free excercise of a right guaranteed by the US Constitution -
a very serious violation of federal and state law.

License fees may have to be scrapped because "no state may convert a right guaranteed by the constitution to a priviledge
nor charge a fee for the exercise thereof." Murdock v. PA

I can see the day coming when all we'll need to buy a gun in MA
is the ability to pass a NICS check when we make the purchase.

However, the state might still require a LTC to carry concealed -
an idea I'm not in total disfavor of.

Safe storage may take a hit too. It infringes on one's ability to defend
one's self - if you consider keping a "stash" gun in the house 'bearing arms." I certainly do.

All kinds of possibilities. but first the court has to break our way.

MAJOR D
 
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I can see the day coming when all we'll need to buy a gun in MA
is the ability to pass a NICS check when we make the purchase.

MAJOR D

Major: I wish I could see that far myself-perhaps you're much taller than my lowly 5' 8" frame which, unfortunately, doesn't let me see quite so far in this state.

Nonetheless, that was a well thought out, well written post. [laugh2]

RD
 
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At the moment gaining the ability to even possess a handgun inside your home in MA requires the issuance of a LTC

This is still being debated in the other thread, it is my contention (and I believe Scriviner's as well, although he's a tricky devil and won't ever come right out and say anything!) that you only need an FID to have a handgun inside your home.
 
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I'm guessing that the decision will end up being very narrow. And even if it isn't, it would take a lawsuit in federal court to change the behavior of towns. That would take lots of time and lots of money.

The man responsible for financing DC v. Heller, Robert Levy, has stated that after this is resolved he plans to assist challenges to gun laws in NYC and Chicago. Is there any chance he could be convinced to add Massachusetts to that list?
 

strangenh

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The man responsible for financing DC v. Heller, Robert Levy, has stated that after this is resolved he plans to assist challenges to gun laws in NYC and Chicago. Is there any chance he could be convinced to add Massachusetts to that list?

Unlikely. The purpose of the next case will be to establish that the 14th Amendment applies the 2nd Amendment right against the states. They will want a case factually close to the DC case to ensure that the key issue gets resolved without distraction on whether the law might just squeak by scrutiny and be "reasonable."
 
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Unlikely. The purpose of the next case will be to establish that the 14th Amendment applies the 2nd Amendment right against the states. They will want a case factually close to the DC case to ensure that the key issue gets resolved without distraction on whether the law might just squeak by scrutiny and be "reasonable."

Assuming a best case scenario where the Chicago handgun ban does reach the court, and the court finds it unconstitutional, and incorporates the 2nd amendment under the 14th amendment, I think a successful challenge against "may issue" licensing has a very strong possibility.

However, one thing that does concern me is that it could easily take anywhere from 3-4 years before it reaches the SCOTUS... enough time for a Clinton or Obama court nomination or two.

A set-up like that would not be in our best interest despite any prior courts ruling.


I'm not so optimistic about overturning the MA AWB or EOPS/AGs CMRs since they are not a total ban. We still are allowed to own some handguns and "assault rifles" (even if it's only "pre-ban" or neutered versions).
 

ochmude

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I'm not so optimistic about overturning the MA AWB or EOPS/AGs CMRs since they are not a total ban. We still are allowed to own some handguns and "assault rifles" (even if it's only "pre-ban" or neutered versions).

That's exactly what I'm concerned with, as well. Even if the entire state becomes mandatory shall-issue, we'll still have to deal with the list.
 
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I'm not so optimistic about overturning the MA AWB or EOPS/AGs CMRs since they are not a total ban. We still are allowed to own some handguns and "assault rifles" (even if it's only "pre-ban" or neutered versions).

Correct me if I'm worng, but my understanding is that the DC ban wasn't a total ban either. I thought it grandfathered handguns registered prior to District of Columbia Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975. That being said, I'm not optimistic either. Like it has been said so many times before: We're in MA, since when does that State follow the law.
 

dixidawg

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Correct me if I'm worng, but my understanding is that the DC ban wasn't a total ban either. I thought it grandfathered handguns registered prior to District of Columbia Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975. That being said, I'm not optimistic either. Like it has been said so many times before: We're in MA, since when does that State follow the law.

Except I heard there was no registration prior to 1975.
 
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Correct me if I'm worng, but my understanding is that the DC ban wasn't a total ban either. I thought it grandfathered handguns registered prior to District of Columbia Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975. That being said, I'm not optimistic either. Like it has been said so many times before: We're in MA, since when does that State follow the law.

It's ban since no handgun registrations were allowed after 1976. Doing so limits the ownership of handguns to the few citizens who were at least 21 years old at that time and had resided in the city prior to that date.

It would be like allowing only DC residents who had registered their cars prior to 1976 could presently own them. No one else in DC could ever register or own an automobile.
 

kevin9

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It's ban since no handgun registrations were allowed after 1976. Doing so limits the ownership of handguns to the few citizens who were at least 21 years old at that time and had resided in the city prior to that date.

It would be like allowing only DC residents who had registered their cars prior to 1976 could presently own them. No one else in DC could ever register or own an automobile.
Hmm, ya would'a thought that all +53 year old criminals who have handguns would start dying off pretty soon [thinking]

Seriously, IMNSHO regardless of how good a SCOTUS ruling might come out I think it will require legal action of some sort, or at least a serious threat of same, to get practices changed in mASSachusetts.
 
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It's ban since no handgun registrations were allowed after 1976. Doing so limits the ownership of handguns to the few citizens who were at least 21 years old at that time and had resided in the city prior to that date.

It would be like allowing only DC residents who had registered their cars prior to 1976 could presently own them. No one else in DC could ever register or own an automobile.

Got it. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
 
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I think there could be a greater victory in defeat....

If the court finds that 2A protects the states right to maintain a militia, it means that the federal .gov has no authority to make any gun laws, except regarding interstate commerce. That means the NFA 1934, GCA 1968, Hughes FOPA amendment, Clinton AWB (now expired but lurking in the darkness) would have big bite marks on their collective asses.

Unfortunately, in Mass we would be screwed. But most states would have a great deal more freedom than they do now.
 
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GSG

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IIRC, since Mass. is a Commonwealth and not a state, we are exempt from certain laws. Don't quote me on this, I'm sure some of our more stellar legal eagles will be along shortly to flame (I mean correct) me.
 
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IIRC, since Mass. is a Commonwealth and not a state, we are exempt from certain laws.

The title "commonwealth" given to Massachusetts, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia has no effect on nor gives any differentiation to their statehood. It's just an alternative title which means exactly the same thing as state. There is some confusion because territories like Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands are commonwealths of the United States, and there the word means something very different than the four commonwealth states.
 
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MA gun laws will remain the same because the Commonwealth believes it can do what ever it likes WRT creating law.

No one will ever be able to afford to challenge them because the Commonwealth will tax us all into submission.

And thus, a free and safe state is born.... NOT!
 

Garys

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The man responsible for financing DC v. Heller, Robert Levy, has stated that after this is resolved he plans to assist challenges to gun laws in NYC and Chicago. Is there any chance he could be convinced to add Massachusetts to that list?

It was stated early on by several lawyers who specialize in Constitutional law that this decision, if SCOTUS upholds the lower court ruling, will be the first step in what could be a long process to rescind a variety of restrictive laws. It does not appear that this will be a sweeping overturn of existing laws.

Gary
 

RKG

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At the risk of going out on a limb:

If you assume the Supreme Court holds that the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and further that it affirms the ruling below by the D.C. Cir., without remand, then I believe the Commonwealth will re-visit ch. 140.

If the Commonwealth revisits ch. 140, either in anticipation of or after a holding that the Second Amendment applies to the states, section 131 will have to be converted from "may issue" to "shall issue unless disqualified."

On the same predicate assumptions, the AWB falls. As is, the distinctions it makes are barely rational (if rational at all); on the stated assumptions, they would not pass a higher standard of review that would of necessity attach to a constitutional right.

On the same predicate assumptions, the AG's regulations will be repealed, though the EOPS requirements will likely stand. Here the problem is procedural; because there is no way to determine a priori compliance with the AG's regulations, they amount to an effective ban without a rational basis.

The requirement of having an LTC for carry and and FID for possession and carry of long arms will remain.

Perhaps the most interesting question, again on the same predicate assumptions, is whether states will be obliged either to extend reciprocity to licensees of other states or to make non-resident LTCs available, on a "shall issue unless disqualified" basis. The big impact here would be Rhode Island.

Oops; I feel that limb getting soft.
 
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...If the Commonwealth revisits ch. 140, either in anticipation of or after a holding that the Second Amendment applies to the states, section 131 will have to be converted from "may issue" to "shall issue unless disqualified."

On the same predicate assumptions, the AWB falls. As is, the distinctions it makes are barely rational (if rational at all); on the stated assumptions, they would not pass a higher standard of review that would of necessity attach to a constitutional right.

On the same predicate assumptions, the AG's regulations will be repealed, though the EOPS requirements will likely stand. Here the problem is procedural; because there is no way to determine a priori compliance with the AG's regulations, they amount to an effective ban without a rational basis...

Ooooh! All this constitutional legalese just makes me feel all ... giddy! My predicate assumptions are just tingling with anticipation! [grin]
 
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I just finished listening to the hearings. I must say I'm not as positive as I was at the beginning.

It seems certain that the justices MAY take several factors into account providing DC the ability to certainly regulate handguns.. if they allow them. I was deeply concerned when they started asking about restrictions based on geography, crime rates, gun types, licenses, age limits and other things. If they believe that they can regulate and eliminate MGs they can certainly do the same for handguns.

Here's the major problem I see- there clearly is some level of regulation they will allow DC to enforce... but they won't get into the details of what they are and will leave that to DC.... if they allow them.
 
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SCOTUS will say it's an individual right subject to regulation.
-will strike the law down in it's entirety because it's ineffective and sweeping in it's prohibition.
-will talk about ways to prevent inappropriate persons from accessing firearms being acceptable.
-will talk about limiting possession of firearms in a limited number of venues such as courts or police stations.
-will tell DC to find another way to do it while insuring the individuals right to keep and bear arms.
-may define what "keep and bear" means

I am optimistic about this, and I would be willing to donate money and time to a an effort to overturn Mass. Laws in a federal court on constitutional grounds.
 

center442

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If SCOTUS rules that the 2nd amendment is an individual right AND upholds the Federal appeals court ruling against DC I think it will eventually have benefits for us here in the PRM (People's Republic of Massachusetts).

My reasoning? Where you live in the PRM presently dictates what type of license you receive. If your town is "green" you get one type of license. Across the street, (literally, in my case!) you get issued a different type of license or possibly none at all. If the 2nd amendment is an individual right then I can't see any court upholding such an arbitrary and capricious system.

I don't expect our Nanny State to voluntarily rework its laws. I believe it will take time and money. I would love to see the PRM try to defend the byzantine nest of laws it has created regarding gun ownership. IANAL but if the the RKBA is an individual right then the state has the burden of proving that its licensing/laws are a REASONABLE restriction on that right.

Think of the possibilities! [grin] Would you like to be the attorney for the PRM explaining in a court how a magazine that holds 10 rounds is acceptable but one that holds 11 is nefarious and therefore should be banned? Especially since an 11 round magazine manufactured prior to a certain date is acceptable? I'd gladly pay to see that argument play out in a court. [smile]

I'm keeping my fingers crossed until the ruling is handed down in June....and I'm renewing my membership in GOAL. If things go our way I hope that GOAL will be "on point" when it comes to challenging these laws.
 
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