Massachusetts (Lowell) Judge Rules Law Against Carrying Guns Across State Lines Unconstitutional

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A recent development of interest from a Lowell MA court case...

A person’s right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense does not end at state lines, a Massachusetts trial judge has ruled.

Earlier this month (8/3/2023), Lowell District Court Justice John F. Coffey dismissed a criminal case against a New Hampshire man charged with carrying a firearm without a license in Massachusetts. He found the state’s requirement that non-residents obtain a temporary license to carry in Massachusetts violates the Second Amendment.

“An individual only loses a constitutional right if he commits an offense or is or has been engaged in certain behavior that is covered by 18 USC section 922,” Judge Coffey wrote on August 3rd in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Dean F. Donnell. “He doesn’t lose that right simply by traveling into an adjoining state whose statute mandates that residents of that state obtain a license prior to exercising their constitutional right. To hold otherwise would inexplicably treat Second Amendment rights differently than other individually held rights. Therefore, the Court finds that GL. 269, sec. (10a) is unconstitutional as applied to this particularly situated defendant and allows the motion to dismiss on that ground.”


Reference:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB0b67Aq4aA
 
and in the grand scheme of things, a single decision in one case by a District Court Judge, one that can and may still be appealed, does not make new law.

I am not going to go wandering into MA with my pistol and tell the local PD I am covered by that decision.

You'd be out of your mind to count on that decision as a affirmative defense, yes it could be used to make an argument in front of another Judge who may agree with, but IMHO IANAL it has not changed things one bit
 
See below for more legal analysis on the case; they do get into its limitations towards the end (decision only applies to that case in that district), but it is a potential first step, especially if MA tries to appeal and it sticks (disclaimer: not a lawyer!).

At some point I really need to start the process to get my "temporary" MA LTC, but it would be nice if this BS was not needed.


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eHWsvGSZzc
 
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My wife showed me this yesterday.
Sad she is ahead of NES on the news front.
She keeps her LTC locked in the safe. :(
 
and in the grand scheme of things, a single decision in one case by a District Court Judge, one that can and may still be appealed, does not make new law.

I am not going to go wandering into MA with my pistol and tell the local PD I am covered by that decision.

You'd be out of your mind to count on that decision as a affirmative defense, yes it could be used to make an argument in front of another Judge who may agree with, but IMHO IANAL it has not changed things one bit
I purposely never drove south on Tuesday past exit 4 in Nashua. Not even to see my friends.
I wasn’t willing to be a test case for $50k. Call me chicken if you like but it’s not you potentially getting dragged thru the shit.
 
I live in a border community, if I want to go to some sections of the town next door, I have to travel thru a small section of MA to do it.

Needless to say I am taking the long way around.
 
My wife showed me this yesterday.
Sad she is ahead of NES on the news front.
She keeps her LTC locked in the safe. :(

Tell her "Look again, Mudda-trucker!!!" It was posted 2 days prior here. I believe the evening that Javis or Jarvin or whatevertheguy'snameis posted it on YT.
 
and in the grand scheme of things, a single decision in one case by a District Court Judge, one that can and may still be appealed, does not make new law.

I am not going to go wandering into MA with my pistol and tell the local PD I am covered by that decision.

You'd be out of your mind to count on that decision as a affirmative defense, yes it could be used to make an argument in front of another Judge who may agree with, but IMHO IANAL it has not changed things one bit
Why throw a Captain Obvious wet blanket on a win?
 
Because the OP is reading it as if it sets a precedent. It does not and anyone from NH who thinks there is now either reciprocity or Con Carry for non residents and gets jammed up will find out soon enough that they are FUBAR'd . Yes it was a great decision and a lucky day for the guy who was charged, but you'd have a better chance of finding a unicorn than legal relief on a gun charge under similar circumstances
 
Hey I came across this today...

We went to pick up a car the Boss bought, we go down over the state line into MA, take the first right, go meandering up into this newer housing development.
When we went to look at this car the other day I thought the house was in MA, but it turns out there are like 4 houses out of 50 that are on the NH side of the state line., the house we were going to was one of those houses. The house across the street was in MA, the house we were going to was in NH, and there was no way to get to that house without getting into MA

Most towns won't allow a house to be built on a lot that can't be accessed from a road in the same town.

Although there are a couple of houses in Wakefield that can only be gotten to from Stoneham, but I digress.

So for the sake of conversation, imagine being a land locked NH resident, a Con Carry state, and when you want to leave your house with a loaded gun, which is perfectly legal in NH, and according to Bruen is a Constitutional Right (with the limitations of Heller for the moment) , you have to go into Massachusetts.

What do you do if you don't have a MA non resident permit?

I mean this guy has to drive to the end of the street, turn left and 100 yards later you are back in NH.

Even if you unload and secure the weapon, and claim FOPA, are you going to get fried for having hi caps if you are stopped for any reason and the gun is discovered?

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Hey I came across this today...

We went to pick up a car the Boss bought, we go down over the state line into MA, take the first right, go meandering up into this newer housing development.
When we went to look at this car the other day I thought the house was in MA, but it turns out there are like 4 houses out of 50 that are on the NH side of the state line., the house we were going to was one of those houses. The house across the street was in MA, the house we were going to was in NH, and there was no way to get to that house without getting into MA

Most towns won't allow a house to be built on a lot that can't be accessed from a road in the same town.

Although there are a couple of houses in Wakefield that can only be gotten to from Stoneham, but I digress.

So for the sake of conversation, imagine being a land locked NH resident, a Con Carry state, and when you want to leave your house with a loaded gun, which is perfectly legal in NH, and according to Bruen is a Constitutional Right (with the limitations of Heller for the moment) , you have to go into Massachusetts.

What do you do if you don't have a MA non resident permit?

I mean this guy has to drive to the end of the street, turn left and 100 yards later you are back in NH.

Even if you unload and secure the weapon, and claim FOPA, are you going to get fried for having hi caps if you are stopped for any reason and the gun is discovered?

View attachment 789121
I was going to say long pond dracut/tyngsboro/Pelham has parts like that. It appears that's what that msp is
I think there is also a MA section on the opposite side you have to come in from NH too.
 
Hey I came across this today...

We went to pick up a car the Boss bought, we go down over the state line into MA, take the first right, go meandering up into this newer housing development.
When we went to look at this car the other day I thought the house was in MA, but it turns out there are like 4 houses out of 50 that are on the NH side of the state line., the house we were going to was one of those houses. The house across the street was in MA, the house we were going to was in NH, and there was no way to get to that house without getting into MA

Most towns won't allow a house to be built on a lot that can't be accessed from a road in the same town.

Although there are a couple of houses in Wakefield that can only be gotten to from Stoneham, but I digress.

So for the sake of conversation, imagine being a land locked NH resident, a Con Carry state, and when you want to leave your house with a loaded gun, which is perfectly legal in NH, and according to Bruen is a Constitutional Right (with the limitations of Heller for the moment) , you have to go into Massachusetts.

What do you do if you don't have a MA non resident permit?

I mean this guy has to drive to the end of the street, turn left and 100 yards later you are back in NH.

Even if you unload and secure the weapon, and claim FOPA, are you going to get fried for having hi caps if you are stopped for any reason and the gun is discovered?

View attachment 789121
You're describing a pene-exclave.

Parts of Pelham fall under that category, along with the entire town of Chatham (which can't be reached by road without going through Maine).

Yeah, it's an interesting situation. It would make for an interesting court case, if someone had standing and the means to fight it out.
 
Hey I came across this today...

We went to pick up a car the Boss bought, we go down over the state line into MA, take the first right, go meandering up into this newer housing development.
When we went to look at this car the other day I thought the house was in MA, but it turns out there are like 4 houses out of 50 that are on the NH side of the state line., the house we were going to was one of those houses. The house across the street was in MA, the house we were going to was in NH, and there was no way to get to that house without getting into MA

Most towns won't allow a house to be built on a lot that can't be accessed from a road in the same town.

Although there are a couple of houses in Wakefield that can only be gotten to from Stoneham, but I digress.

So for the sake of conversation, imagine being a land locked NH resident, a Con Carry state, and when you want to leave your house with a loaded gun, which is perfectly legal in NH, and according to Bruen is a Constitutional Right (with the limitations of Heller for the moment) , you have to go into Massachusetts.

What do you do if you don't have a MA non resident permit?

I mean this guy has to drive to the end of the street, turn left and 100 yards later you are back in NH.

Even if you unload and secure the weapon, and claim FOPA, are you going to get fried for having hi caps if you are stopped for any reason and the gun is discovered?

View attachment 789121
How about applying the slick Willy rule. Don’t ask, don’t tell.
 
Does anyone know if the Commonwealth is appealing this decision? I would guess not due to the potential case law that could result from an appeal.
 
Does anyone know if the Commonwealth is appealing this decision? I would guess not due to the potential case law that could result from an appeal.
It's a district court case (so little to no precedential value) that (IIRC) the judge stated only applied to this defendant. The state will let it lie, as it won't go anywhere else. This judge may want to keep issuing decisions like this, but odds on the DAs will work to have nothing like this come before him.
 
From another thread on this
I have been advised that there are around fifty similar cases in Lowell District Court and that all are being dismissed by the judge. I have also been told that the Commonwealth is appealing them all.
@nstassel any more news on this, were they dismissed? Is the state going to appeal? Is there a way a layman can keep up on this?
 
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