Quincy, MA Gun Store Ruling

JonJ

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http://ledger.southofboston.com/articles/2006/09/16/news/news12.txt
Judge rules against store owner; Says chief had right to deny firearms license
By CHRISTOPHER WALKER
The Patriot Ledger

QUINCY - A court upheld Quincy Police Chief Robert Crowley’s decision to deny a downtown sporting goods store a license to sell firearms in a case that further riled gun advocates already frustrated by the chief’s policies on granting permits.

Superior Court Judge Wendie Gershengorn ruled that Crowley was within his authority to deny a license to sell guns to Ronald Hidalgo, the owner of the Sportsman’s Den on Southern Artery, because of a 20-year-old assault charge and a 6-year-old restraining order.

Both cases were ultimately dropped, but a state law giving police chiefs broad discretion in deciding who is qualified for a gun permit doesn’t contradict Crowley’s reasoning, the judge ruled.

Hidalgo, who has owned the store for 10 years, filed the lawsuit last year, asserting that the chief was abusing his authority essentially because he could.

Hidalgo has a Quincy-issued licensed to carry a handgun and earned approval from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to be a gun dealer before he was shot down by Crowley.

‘‘Somebody has to explain to me how I can be perfectly suitable to carry a firearm, but I can’t sell one. I just can’t wrap my brain around that,’’ Hidalgo said.

‘‘He’s hurting me financially, taking money out of my pocket just because he wants to be the guy in charge. It’s ridiculous,’’ Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo said he doesn’t think he’ll appeal the court ruling because he has already spent $20,000 and doesn’t think he can afford to take the fight any further.

He said he’s now considering moving his business out of Quincy because of the financial strain.

Crowley’s original denial was backed by State Police, and Hidalgo filed his lawsuit challenging that ruling.

Both the State Police and the judge acknowledged that there was nothing in Hidalgo’s background that would automatically eliminate him from obtaining a gun dealer’s license. But in her ruling, Gershengorn noted that Hidalgo didn’t surrender his firearms as required by law when the restraining order was issued in 2000.

While Hidalgo testified that he didn’t know he was supposed to give up his guns and that he didn’t have any in his possession when he was served with the restraining order, the judge ruled that he had an obligation to find out what was required of him.

The restraining order expired eight days later, but Hidalgo’s actions left enough gray area to let Crowley make a decision either way on the permit, the judge ruled.

Hidalgo’s license denial last year came months after the chief angered gun advocates with a tightened policy on issuing licenses to carry firearms.

Essentially, Crowley said that residents needed a better reason than just self-defense before he would issue a license to carry handgun.

The mandate sparked outrage from gun rights advocates, hearings at the city council and a handful of lawsuits filed against Crowley in Quincy District Court.

The city has not yet lost a case involving gun permits, said First Assistant City Solicitor Robert Quinn.

‘‘The chief has to make very tough decisions on a day-to-day basis, and the courts have ruled that he’s made the right decision time after time after time,’’ said Quinn said.

Christopher Walker may be reached at [email protected].


And as a side note, it looks as though the natives are getting restless:

http://ledger.southofboston.com/articles/2006/09/08/news/news07.txt
Cops don’t back chief

By CHRISTOPHER WALKER
The Patriot Ledger

QUINCY - The city’s police patrolmen declared they have no confidence in Chief Robert Crowley with a vote that widens an already deep schism between police brass and rank-and-file cops.

About 90 percent of the roughly 200-member Quincy Police Patrol Officers Association turned out for the no-confidence vote yesterday, and the result was a ‘‘resounding, overwhelming’’ majority in favor of the largely symbolic measure, said union president Bruce Tait.

Tait refused to provide the tally of the vote, saying officers thought that detailing even that much publicly would risk the vote’s anonymity.

‘‘This sends a clear message to the public and city hall that we’re not happy with the leadership of the department,’’ Tait said. ‘‘In his two years as chief, he’s created a climate where the young guys come to work afraid to do their job, and the older officers just come to work angry and disenchanted.’’

Even before ascending to the chief’s office in 2004, Crowley’s relationship with the patrolmen’s union was strained, a fact seen by his supporters as a sign of a no-nonsense leader unafraid to rock the boat in a department historically lax on order and discipline.

Crowley, who could not be reached for comment on the no-confidence vote last night, offered officers a simple equation for what he expected from them when he took the job: ‘‘Eight hours of work for eight hours of pay,’’ Crowley said at the time.

Nonetheless, the list of grievances grew steadily, culminating in the no-confidence vote yesterday that marks the most serious public criticism of Crowley to date, and the first time any such move has been made against a Quincy police chief.

Critics describe the chief as an overbearing authoritarian too quick to take sides against officers, a micro-manager to a level bordering on the bizarre, and an administrator whose reluctance to pay for overtime poses a safety risk to officers and the public.

The union’s problems were largely confined within the department’s Sea Street headquarters until the last several months, when union leaders started to become much more vocal with their complaints.

Tait railed against Crowley for recommending the firing two officers who were ultimately cleared of drunken driving charges and for spending $25,000 to hire a private investigator to track officers suspected of abusing sick and injured leave.

Tait has even become a prolific blogger, relaying stories sharply critical of the chief on the union’s Web site.

Mayor William Phelan offered a diplomatic tone, saying that ensuring that the police department is doing its job protecting the public is his primary concern. To that end, the department is ‘‘working at its highest level in years. So I’m very satisfied with the work of Chief Crowley as well as the work of the men and women who patrol the city every day,’’ Phelan said.

Phelan acknowledged the rift between the patrolmen’s union and Crowley, saying he believed it stems from a breakdown in communication that clearly needs to be repaired. While management-labor rifts aren’t uncommon, especially in high stress jobs, Phelan said he could be doing a better job to bridge the communication gap.

‘‘It’s incumbent on my office and myself to mend those relationships. To the degree that they have deteriorated to the level they have, I take responsibility for that,’’ Phelan said.

Emphasizing that the no-confidence vote wasn’t just the product of disgruntled union leaders, no members of the union’s executive board voted yesterday or pushed the issue at a previous meeting last week, Tait said.

Union leaders also stressed that the vote had nothing to do with money or with trying to angle for a better negotiating position in ongoing contract talks with city hall.

‘‘For me personally, I think this was long overdue,’’ said Officer Peter Curley, the union’s treasurer. ‘‘There is an absolute atmosphere of fear, and the chief has treated us with nothing but contempt.’’

Christopher Walker may be reached at [email protected] .
 
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Man, am I glad that I don't live in Quincy... I do have to drive through it several time a day to get to and from work...but that's it...

I can't say that I blame him for wanting to leave the city.

Maybe one of our residents can offer up some pro bono work for this guy...
 

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Maybe one of our residents can offer up some pro bono work for this guy...


Won't help!

This just proves my point that judges will side with local police chiefs ~95% of the time. The system is setup so that if the chief suspects that you parked too close to a hydrant one time in your life, he can use that to declare you unsuitable and the judges will just nod in agreement.

And each victory for a chief emboldens all of them to tighten down the screws on everyone that they don't like.

In his case it probably will be cheaper to move the business than fight. Meanwhile he's losing income every month the battle is drawn out as well. I know from the postings on this at Braintree R&P that it's been going on for well over 2 years already.
 
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I lived in Quincy for 2 years. I got my LTC-A from Crowley (restricted, of course). I spoke to him many times on the phone, because he said he was too busy for a face to face meeting. I ended up spending close to $400 dollars to get my license because of all the 'extra' stuff I had to do to prove I'm 'suitable'. (I guess being an Eagle Scout with not even a speeding ticket and having a deep background with firearm safety isn't enough).

I can say, from first hand experience, that the man is a giant hassle to deal with. I'm glad I got my LTC, but upset that it's not ALP.

He's been downgrading peoples ALPs to restricted and class-A's to B's when they go to renew them. Why? They don't have a 'need' for an ALP license.

I've been told that there is a long line of people that are trying to contest him in court. Many to no avail.

I moved out of Quincy. Thank God.
 
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I wonder if Chief Crowley is a Reilly guy.

That must be a real dilemma for him.

The IBPO (International Brotherhood of Police Officers), endorsed Reilly and the
Quincy local overwhelmingly gave a no confidence vote to Crowley.

However, on the flip side, the IBPO isn't exactly in favor of 2nd amendment rights.
 

SKS Ray

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We can just hope by gun owners fighting these strict chiefs that others will see how much Mass gun owners care about their rights and ease up on things in the future.
 
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"because of a 20-year-old assault charge and a 6-year-old restraining order".


Guys when your a dealer you have to be clean as can be this could have happen in any town not just Quincy. I live in Quincy and I don't blame anyone but the owner of the store he should have known before putting in for it that he had a past history.

When he had his restraining order he failed to turn in his firearm, that is why the chief didn't approve him. And I know a guy that has a FFL and was working out of his house for yrs and just got turned down for renewal becuase of that, but he had offer to go in with Hidalgo a few yrs ago and the guy said he didn't want to open a gun shop.
 
F

Finalygotabeltfed

We can just hope by gun owners fighting these strict chiefs that others will see how much Mass gun owners care about their rights and ease up on things in the future.

Dream on.....nine out of ten people who are refused a license walk out the door, tail between their legs and never persue it. Many chiefs count on this and continue their denials. There's no consequences for them, legal or monetary, their lawyers are provided by the municipalities the work for.
 
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"because of a 20-year-old assault charge and a 6-year-old restraining order".


Guys when your a dealer you have to be clean as can be this could have happen in any town not just Quincy. I live in Quincy and I don't blame anyone but the owner of the store he should have known before putting in for it that he had a past history.

When he had his restraining order he failed to turn in his firearm, that is why the chief didn't approve him. And I know a guy that has a FFL and was working out of his house for yrs and just got turned down for renewal becuase of that, but he had offer to go in with Hidalgo a few yrs ago and the guy said he didn't want to open a gun shop.


One problem...He states this..

While Hidalgo testified that he didn’t know he was supposed to give up his guns and that he didn’t have any in his possession when he was served with the restraining order, the judge ruled that he had an obligation to find out what was required of him.

He states that he didn't have any to give up at the time. So what are you supposed to do? Borrow one from a friend to make you look good?
 

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He may have moved them to a "safe house" IN ADVANCE of being served, someone with LTC that would hold them for him until the issue was resolved.

This isn't illegal, but looked down upon by the PDs.

I know someone (retired 27-yr LEO, FFL, etc.) who had his LTC (and LE credentials and uniforms) confiscated by the PD under very bogus circumstances (allegedly due to the on-duty accident that forced his retirement from his injuries). Worth noting, the chief did NOT pull his "green card" (MG License)! At any rate, said LEO moved all his guns up to a friend's place in NH so that he had nothing in MA to get confiscated. Subsequently he sold his house and moved to free air.
 

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Under 209A:
§ 3B. Suspension of Firearm License and Surrender of Firearms With Temporary or Emergency Order; Petition for Review.Text
Upon issuance of a temporary or emergency order under section four or five of this chapter, the court shall, if the plaintiff demonstrates a substantial likelihood of immediate danger of abuse, order the immediate suspension and surrender of any license to carry firearms and or firearms identification card which the defendant may hold and order the defendant to surrender all firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns and ammunition which he then controls, owns or possesses in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and any license to carry firearms or firearms identification cards which the defendant may hold shall be surrendered to the appropriate law enforcement officials in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and, said law enforcement official may store, transfer or otherwise dispose of any such weapon in accordance with the provisions of section 129D of chapter 140; provided however, that nothing herein shall authorize the transfer of any weapons surrendered by the defendant to anyone other than a licensed dealer. Notice of such suspension and ordered surrender shall be appended to the copy of abuse prevention order served on the defendant pursuant to section seven. Law enforcement officials, upon the service of said orders, shall immediately take possession of all firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, ammunition, any license to carry firearms and any firearms identification cards in the control, ownership, or possession of said defendant. Any violation of such orders shall be punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than two and one–half years in a house of correction, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
 

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Jon,

I don't know the exact specifics of the case, but if he sent them off to an out-of-state friend with an agreement that he wouldn't take/control/etc. them until the issue was resolved (8 days later) and he did this BEFORE the 209A was issued, I certainly wouldn't be inclined to turn them over to any PD!

If he was "so guilty", why didn't they prosecute him?

You have to keep in mind that 209As are the "currency of divorce lawyers" for negotiating what they want from the hapless guy. Since a 209A issues with no hearing, but is followed by a hearing within 10 days, it looks (in this case) as if the 209A may well have been totally unfounded.
 

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Jon,

I don't know the exact specifics of the case, but if he sent them off to an out-of-state friend with an agreement that he wouldn't take/control/etc. them until the issue was resolved (8 days later) and he did this BEFORE the 209A was issued, I certainly wouldn't be inclined to turn them over to any PD!
Sure an "agreement" can be good but the law doesn't allow for such a thing. You do so at your own peril. The police have to know what you have to proceed but that isn't such a hard thing to do these days with everyone filing their FA10s like good little girls and boys.

If he was "so guilty", why didn't they prosecute him?
Good question. Why didn't they charge my nephew when he screwed up his application for his LTC?
Someone somewhere used "discretion". And proof that a chief doesn't need a "charge" or conviction for suitability.

You have to keep in mind that 209As are the "currency of divorce lawyers" for negotiating what they want from the hapless guy. Since a 209A issues with no hearing, but is followed by a hearing within 10 days, it looks (in this case) as if the 209A may well have been totally unfounded.
I know exactly what 209As are, I deal with them almost daily. They're a piece of paper nothing more. Maybe they work sometimes and maybe they're abused.
 
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That must be a real dilemma for him.

The IBPO (International Brotherhood of Police Officers), endorsed Reilly and the
Quincy local overwhelmingly gave a no confidence vote to Crowley.

However, on the flip side, the IBPO isn't exactly in favor of 2nd amendment rights.


The IBPO never was. Unfortunately, the membership never got a vote on that policy - they just pay to promote it.
 

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The IBPO never was. Unfortunately, the membership never got a vote on that policy - they just pay to promote it.

I suspected this.

Oftentimes a certain few (usually the BOD) take a position and espouse that the entire org agrees, all this without voting for that position by the mere peons who pay the union dues.
 

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Sure an "agreement" can be good but the law doesn't allow for such a thing. You do so at your own peril. The police have to know what you have to proceed but that isn't such a hard thing to do these days with everyone filing their FA10s like good little girls and boys.

I realize that it is "risky" but there are a few things here that a good lawyer could probably help with:

- CHSB can only tell the local PD about the guns registered since the system was computerized (1986 for dealer sales and 1998 for private sales). Lots of guns aren't in their database.

- One could sell a gun out of state, it still shows in CHSB, but many don't have any proof that they sold it either (in the old days I sold some guns to FFLs and NEVER received any receipts from them). Prosecuting someone based on CHSB data is pretty risky for the PD/DA, although proving innocence by the accused is probably terribly difficult in our anti-gun atmosphere.

- If my guns are in another state, lets say some 75-100 miles away, they certainly aren't under my control at the time.

- My comments about 209As and divorce wasn't aimed at you Jon, but to others. I know of some attorneys who usually represent only women and will push them to file for a 209A regardless of anything that ever happened. This puts the screws to the guy and makes the woman look good for a better than 50-50 split of assets in the underlying action.

- The risk of damage and loss of one's assets (guns, ammo, mags, etc.) by voluntarily turning over items that you don't have direct control over (e.g. guns stored in NH with a friend/relative) is higher than I would want to take if I knew that "they were coming to get them shortly". There are many documented cases of PDs refusing to release the items (even when the court legally ordered the return . . . Boston is notorious for showing "contempt of court" and getting away with it, Concord did the same thing, etc.), lots of guns/ammo/mags are lost/stolen, etc. when they go to turn over the goods (or the victim goes to the bonded warehouse to get them) . . . and there is no recourse here as each person points the finger at the other.

So if the PD comes to the house with a 209A the guy is about to get booted anyway with only the clothes on his back. Therefore they get to ransack the place and take whatever they find. No way that I would fight that except with a lawyer after the fact. But no way I'm giving them access to anything I have stashed outside the legal jurisdiction of the state. [All theoretical anyway, I own nothing outside of MA and have nothing stashed anywhere else.]
 

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Jon,

I don't know the exact specifics of the case, but if he sent them off to an out-of-state friend with an agreement that he wouldn't take/control/etc. them until the issue was resolved (8 days later) and he did this BEFORE the 209A was issued, I certainly wouldn't be inclined to turn them over to any PD!

If he was "so guilty", why didn't they prosecute him?

You have to keep in mind that 209As are the "currency of divorce lawyers" for negotiating what they want from the hapless guy. Since a 209A issues with no hearing, but is followed by a hearing within 10 days, it looks (in this case) as if the 209A may well have been totally unfounded.

+1000 Len. If someone "smells" a 209A coming, taking care of the guns
beforehand is not a bad idea. It's extremely difficult for them to do much
of anything afterwards. I mean what the heck are they going to charge
you with, unless they can prove that somehow the guns are readily accessible to you?

I've heard of more than one case where the de-facto action by divorce
lawyers is to tell the female to dump a 209A on the guy, even if its
completely without merit. The judges rubber stamp those things while
barely looking at them.

I wonder what the "rejection rate" (eg, the RO is vacated) is on the post-10 day
hearings? I know the issuance rate on the emergency end of it has to be nearly 100%,because
the judges don't want to take any heat in any way shape or form.

-Mike
 
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+1000 Len. If someone "smells" a 209A coming, taking care of the guns beforehand is not a bad idea. It's extremely difficult for them to do much of anything afterwards. I mean what the heck are they going to charge you with, unless they can prove that somehow the guns are readily accessible to you?

I've heard of more than one case where the de-facto action by divorce
lawyers is to tell the female to dump a 209A on the guy, even if its
completely without merit. The judges rubber stamp those things while
barely looking at them.

I wonder what the "rejection rate" (eg, the RO is vacated) is on the post-10 day hearings? I know the issuance rate on the emergency end of it has to be nearly 100%,because the judges don't want to take any heat in any way shape or form.

-Mike


+1

I've also read at least two horror stories were a divorce proceeding/separation was shaping up and the person came home one day to find their gun safe emptied and no signs of forced entry. Guess who else had the combination?
 
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I Know people come down hard on the chief, As a Quincy resident I look back at a time when the QPD had officers drinking and driving in the cruisers and shooting out the street lights at marina bay to impress patriots players. as well as other illegal activities.. Crowley is now holding the officers accountable and he runs a tight ship.... For that I give him credit.

Regarding ALP and downgrading I am sure it has happened but I know 5 people with class an alp that had no problem with renewals of issuance under the chief. I think it was also pointed out he has yet to loose in court so he must have standing.

I would love to have a shop in Quincy but I also feel the standard he need to be held at as a dealer should be high. And a record with DV seems it could be enough.

On a side not Don Kusser, a Quincy resident and officer at BRP has proposed a city ordnance to make Quincy a ALP city see the following link and ask anyone you know in Quincy to call.

http://www.brp.org/html/good_news.html

Tom
 

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I would love to have a shop in Quincy but I also feel the standard he need to be held at as a dealer should be high. And a record with DV seems it could be enough.

Why should it be higher than the already retardedly high federal
requirement? This whole thing reeks of jackassery on the part of
the Chief- it smells like the chief is doing this just to be a pain in the
ass.

The reason I mention this is the BATFE is pretty hard-core about about
licensing Type 01s as it is. They look for every possible way to nuke someone's
license. The existing restrictions, at the federal level, for being a type 01 are
more than enough. If the man is federally disqualified, he will not be issued
FFL, and can't run a gun store. It literally is that simple. The chief is butting
in here simply to be obstructionist.


-Mike
 

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As Jon well knows, there are some officers out there that think that they must/should confiscate all firearms when a Ch. 208 Restraining Order is issued. I'm willing to bet that MANY PDs do confiscate on Ch. 208 Restraining Orders, even though not legal to do so . . . so sue them, good luck!

I serve many restraining orders as a Constable, but they are NOT 209A type of restraining orders (we can, but I don't know any Constable that is willing to serve 209As!). The ones I serve "restrain" the person/company from selling assets, making changes to assets (one was a house fire where they wanted to prevent the owner from repairing the house so that the attorney for the deceased in a civil case could gather more evidence), etc. They have NOTHING to do with domestic violence at all. I knew someone (LE) that owned property and the person he was attempting to evict got a restraining order against him!! 208 Restraining Orders may dictate that one party not remove a child from the jurisdiction of the state, but again have nothing to do with DV.

Once you guns/ammo/mags/LTC are confiscated, the cost in time, money and aggravation to get them back (assuming no DV issues) can be horrendous. No sense in making it worse if you have any expectation that someone may pull one on you.

Here's Ch. 208 S. 18 on ROs (EOPS, CHSB, etc. have declared that they do NOT fit the description of ROs that require confiscation):
http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/208-18.htm

CHAPTER 208. DIVORCE


LIBELS FOR DIVORCE


Chapter 208: Section 18. Pendency of action for divorce; protection of personal liberty of spouse; restraint orders authorized


Section 18. The probate court in which the action for divorce is pending may, upon petition of the wife, prohibit the husband, or upon petition of the husband, prohibit the wife from imposing any restraint upon her or his personal liberty during the pendency of the action for divorce. Upon the petition of the husband or wife or the guardian of either, the court may make such further order as it deems necessary to protect either party or their children, to preserve the peace or to carry out the purposes of this section relative to restraint on personal liberty.
 
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+1000 Len. If someone "smells" a 209A coming, taking care of the guns
beforehand is not a bad idea. It's extremely difficult for them to do much
of anything afterwards. I mean what the heck are they going to charge
you with, unless they can prove that somehow the guns are readily accessible to you?
Like I say, it's at your own peril. We had case where the Def admitted he gave his guns to a relative in town. The guns were confiscated. If you admit that you own firearms and you do not turn them in, you WILL be charged.
What happens when she says "Ya he's got a bunch of guns but they're in New Hampshire"? Think it won't be pushed to the next degree? That's a big chance you're taking.
 
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