Discharging firearms within a town limits.


NES Member
Apr 27, 2005
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I was driving to a customer yesterday and when I was entering Ashland I noticed a sign that read, ”It’s unlawful to discharge a firearms within the town of Ashland.” Does that mean you cannot hunt in that town? How about protecting your life in your own home?

Yes it means you can't hunt there . . . unless there is more to the town by-law than what the sign says. You'd have to read their entire by-law on the subject to determine that.

Our town and several in my area have similar signs.

In a self-defense situation, you can EXPECT to be arrested anywhere in MA (may be less likely in Western MA, depends on "local attitudes")! Places like Boston will most definitely charge you with that kind of BS. That's why you need a very good GUN LAWYER to plead your case.

In MA it is an "affirmative defense" that you used deadly force to prevent yourself from IMMINENT bodily harm/death (or someone near and dear to you). DEFENSE means just that, the law basically is telling you that when you are charged with "the crime" (of self-defense), YOU can try to get acquitted by raising the "affirmative defense"!

It's not as bad as England, but certainly not a "make my day" law.
TonyD said:
I love it, the crime of self-defense! [roll]

I do believe it's time to drop the 'New' from 'England'.

Nah, make it Neu England. But that'd be wrong, unless VT secedes from it. We're still the most free state in the country. We don't need CCW Permits to carry concealed.

And, we have the "Neccesity Defense" that allows you to commit a minor crime to prevent a larger one. Like shooting a perp about to injure or kill someone.

The root of it has been said to be to allow shooting dogs that were running deer. See, it's a $20 or so fine to shoot a dog. It's a $200 fine if your dog is running deer. Obvious which is the lesser crime.
Whoa there, fella. The "necessity defense" excuses the commission of a lesser offense if necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a greater offense by someone else.

Self-defense (which includes "defense of another") has a necessity component, which varies by state and circumstances, but it is not related to the "necessity defense." And, while it is an "affirmative defense" in Massachusetts, that only means that self-defense must be plead, not proved. Once effectively raised, the burden of proof negating self-defense is on and remains with the Commonwealth.
Well, it wasn't really clear, but I did say 'We" (meaning VT).

Yup, it does vary from state to state.

How does a self-defense claim really play out in the courts down there? You say the burden of proof is on the commonwealth to negate it, but is that what usually happens?
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