Skip to comments.Do Massachusetts Gun Laws apply to all? (Part II)
Posted on 06/24/2009 5:14:53 AM PDT by marktwain
In Part I, I set the groundwork for this discussion by providing the details that the so-called mainstream media wont. I finished by asking some basic questions:
Why would the SJC take up this case on appeal? How would the SJC be viewed by the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts if they indeed were to rule against Runyan? What if they rule in favor of Runyan? What, if any would be the short or long term ramifications? Before I answer those hypothetical questions lets review some more historical context to help you understand where we are today.
The Second Amendment in Massachusetts
Article XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it. Massachusetts State Constitution
In Commonwealth v. Davis 1976 the SJC ruled there was no individual right to keep and bear arms. Yet the United States Supreme Court in the D.C. v. Heller case called Massachusetts on the carpet when it used the Commonwealth v. Blanding case of 1825 to clearly cite otherwise.
Second Amendment 14th Amendment Incorporation
Since the June 26th Supreme Court decision several other cases have been decided that could influence this case and whether or not the Second Amendment is incorporated to the States via the 14th Amendment.
The Nordyke case recently decided by the 9th Circuit clearly incorporates the Second Amendment to the States.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in a 3-0 ruling that upheld weapons ordinances in Chicago and suburban Oak Park, Illinois, and rejected challenges by gun rights advocates effectively disagreeing with the 9th Circuit.
This has provided the NRA with the ability to file a petition for certiorari to appeal the 7th Circuit ruling, asking for a reversal of that courts decision and one in favor of incorporation.
Now that you understand all of this, lets get back to our questions.
Why would the SJC take up this case on appeal?
It is my speculation that SJC may have taken up this case for one primary reason. They are very worried about the 14th Amendment incorporation being used without precedent or a ruling from the Supreme Court. The very fact that in Commonwealth v. Bolduc the court held the statute (G.L.c. 140, sec. 131L) was unconstitutional, and dismissed the prosecution implies incorporation. A copy of the opinion states:
The locking mechanisms [required by the statute] are the functional equivalent of those enumerated in the D.C. statute struck down in Heller.
In Heller, the Court held that the Second Amendment not only protects an individual's right to possess firearms but that the right requires that the firearms be available for "the purpose of immediate self-defense." The Massachusetts statute mandating lock boxes or similar devices would frustrate an owner's ability to immediately access an operable weapon.
Although the statute exempts firearms that are "carried" or "under the control of the owner" from the requirement that they be locked, the statute applies to the lawful owner of a firearm even when he is at home. People can be subject to prosecution whether they are home or not. The term "under the control of the owner" is a question of fact and subject to interpretation. Any ambiguity in the statute as applied to a person lawfully keeping a firearm in the home must be resolved in favor of the holder of the right. Legislation requiring an owner to store firearms in a place inaccessible to children or unauthorized persons would satisfy the Supreme Court's holding in Heller and protect the safety of others.
In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that, based on the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, G.L.c. 140, sec. 131L is unconstitutional.
They see the very real danger in this and are jumping at a chance to rule on this especially given that the United States Supreme Court ruling in D.C. v. Heller concerning an individual right is now in direct opposition to the SJC ruling in Commonwealth v. Davis in 1976 should incorporation be successful.
How would the SJC be viewed by the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts if they indeed were to rule against Runyan?
Not favorably, by some, I assure you. While technically the SJC would be correct given current state law and the lack of incorporation there is nothing to force any other decision. (Im predicting this as the final outcome.) However, just like their ruling in Commonwealth v. Davis in 1976 theyd be wrong again from a fundamental rights perspective. Worse a great injustice will have occurred allowing the law to be applied differently to State Police Officers than to the citizens they are employed by.
What if they rule in favor of Runyan?
Unlikely, but theyd be viewed favorably by some. Theyd be viewed as recognizing D.C. v. Heller as precedent and upholding the law, quasi legal precedent already set in the Bolduc case demonstrating that the law then being properly applied to all citizens regardless of title or occupation. Again, unlikely because they would then open a can of worms with respect to many other state firearms statutes.
What, if any, would be the short or long term damage?
First for the record, Im a strong States Rights supporter. However, when we are talking about a fundamental, God given right, not unlike the 1st I can see how this becomes challenging issue.
Secondly, you should know that old phrase - the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Those that want to pass these kinds of laws to protect children are very well intentioned, but what they dont realize is they make it more likely in the long run that children will fall victim of firearm incident because they never learned (had the opportunity removed by statute) proper firearm safety. Its my view, that we do our children a greater disservice by attempting to shield them from harm to the point that they cannot function in society when confronted with the inevitable challenges of life. Instead, I believe we best protect our children through education and training. By teaching them respect for life and the lives of others like the very successful NRA Eddy Eagle program.
So, if in the short term, the SJC rules against Runyan, in I believe the damage will be short lived. In the long term, no matter how the SJC rules, when (not if) the NRA has been granted certiorari, argued their case, and win the day again; the SJC of Massachusetts (along with the 7th Circuit) and all 50 States will most likely be forced to abide by the D.C. v. Heller decision through the 14th Amendment.
This time, for good; ensuring justice for all.
Laugh of the day. You use (really?)the word LOGIC?
You’re kidding yourself.
Massachusetts would ‘honor’ your right of gun ownership, and then jail you because your gun cabinet was crafted of wood from an endangered tree specie.
If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull. W. C. Fields
More and more I think the Statists and the Courts are following this MO.
You would think that: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Should be pretty straight forward and that they're problem, It's plain spoken and clearly articulates an easily understood concept without any 'wiggle room' for our 'Rulers' and their moral relativism.
Therefore, the only way they can change the meaning of this simple phrase and attain their ultimate goal of disarming the Law-abiding is to add more BS and muddy the waters.
They know that the only way they can deprive the citizenry of their basic rights is to layer on the horse manure and blatantly change the meaning of words.
Example depends of the meaning of 'is'
Because some people are illogically capable of separating the idea of "common defense" from that of "individual self-defense." In other words, they would say that organized armies against co-ordinated external invasion are authorized, but individual self-defense against criminals is not, because of the danger weapons misuse poses to the public.
Furthermore, these people would note that the State Constitution is an archaic document written over 200 years ago.
People have to keep in mind is that when Attorneys communicate with the general public they use as much complicated and arcane language as they possibly can to confuse people and as a subtle reminder why they are needed.
But when they communicate amongst themselves, they use plain language with only a few legal terms thrown in when necessary
Go and compare the text of a ruling or two or some other 'internal' legal document with a document meant for the great unwashed, there is a difference.
One more reason to despise lawyers.
Sometimes it almost makes you want to pull your hair out when they try to make the word people mean something else in order to deprive the law-abiding their right to self defense.
armed citizens --> BAD (for state control - see current situation in Iran)
Most of the Mass gun-laws are aimed at hand-guns.
“Shotguns and rifles ownership have the same laws and rights as any state in the union.”
So, in Massachusetts you:
Do not need a license to purchase a rifle or shotgun?
Do not need a license to carry a rifle or shotgun?
Can sell privately to other residents of the State without permission from the government?
Can keep a rifle or shotgun loaded and ready to use for self defense in your house?
Have no legal requirement to lock up rifles and shotguns in your house because children are present?
I thought Massachusettes was far more restrictive than most other states.