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Gun case heading to Mass. Supreme Court
The Lowell Sun ^ | 11/03/2009 | Lisa Redmond

Posted on 11/04/2009 1:15:54 PM PST by neverdem

lredmond@lowellsun.com

BOSTON -- As a Billerica gun case heads to the state's highest court next week, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Police Chiefs and other high-profile groups are urging the Supreme Judicial Court to reject the constitutional challenge to the state's safe firearm-storage law.

The groups are joining with Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone, who is challenging a Lowell District Court judge's ruling that dismissed a gun-storage case against Richard Runyan, a Billerica man who kept an unlocked semiautomatic hunting rifle under his bed where it could be accessed by his teenage son.

Arguments are scheduled to be heard Thursday.

State law requires stored firearms be secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant safety device, except when "carried by or under the control of the owner or other lawfully authorized user."

The law is intended to ensure that irresponsible people do not gain access to firearms and to minimize the risk of accidental discharge.

A Lowell District Court trial judge held that the statute impermissibly interfered with Runyan's Second Amendment right to keep a weapon for self-defense in the home.

In May 2008, the Supreme Court had ruled in Washington, D.C., vs. Heller that city bans on handguns and a trigger-lock requirement were unconstitutional. The decision was applauded by gun advocates as a protection of Second Amendment rights.

The decision noted that Massachusetts' law mandating lock boxes or trigger locks that render the gun inoperable to use for self-defense would frustrate the owner's ability to immediately access an operable weapon.

But Leone argues Massachusetts law does not ban the possession of functional firearms, only improper storage.

An amicus brief, which supports Leone's argument, has been submitted to the SJC and signed by: the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a nonprofit group dedicated to reducing gun violence; the International Brotherhood of Police Officers; Legal Community Against Violence; Massachusetts Chiefs of Police; Massachusetts Million Mom March Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; and Stop Handgun Violence.

Attorney General Martha Coakley and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conely have submitted separate briefs supporting Leone's stance.

In the brief, the groups agree that Massachusetts' gun-storage law is a "life-saving gun-safety law that protects children and others from gun deaths and injuries, while still allowing a gun owner or authorized user to use the firearm in self defense.''

The brief cites the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control as saying as a result of the law, Massachusetts has achieved the lowest gun-death rate of any state in the United States.

In the Heller decision, the Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia's gun laws because they broadly barred handgun possession and prohibited use of a firearm in the home, even for self-defense.

The Supreme Court ruled that law-abiding citizens have a Second Amendment right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense, but cautioned that this right is nonunlimited, and it is not a right to keep a gun in any manner whatsoever.

But the amicus brief claims the Lowell District Court judge erred by being "unable to distinguish" the requirement that a gun be safely stored ... from the District of Columbia's total ban on handgun possession or use in the home.

In the brief, the groups argue that Massachusetts' safe gun storage law is a "vital gun-safety law'' that does not infringe of the Second Amendment rights recognized by the Supreme Court.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Politics/Elections; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: banglist; heller; richardrunyan; secondamendment

1 posted on 11/04/2009 1:15:54 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem
In the brief, the groups agree that Massachusetts' gun-storage law is a "life-saving gun-safety law that protects children and others from gun deaths and injuries, while still allowing a gun owner or authorized user to use the firearm in self defense.''

Yeah, because a locked gun is great for self defense.

2 posted on 11/04/2009 1:21:13 PM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: neverdem

Color me curious, but I’d sure like to know how they found out that the guy kept his gun under his bed. Nothing says the son took it—so how did anyone even know about it?


3 posted on 11/04/2009 1:26:04 PM PST by basil (It's time to rid the country of "Gun Free Zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: neverdem
a Billerica man who kept an unlocked semiautomatic hunting rifle under his bed

So...I guess it'd be ok, using the supposed logic in this stupid quote, to keep a bolt action rifle stored that way. Catch phrases and words are like crack cocaine to a drug addict to "journalists". They just cannot walk past them.
4 posted on 11/04/2009 1:31:01 PM PST by rickomatic
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To: neverdem

Are these organizations run by useful idiots or are they front groups for certain unions (SEIU) that have been identified as being run by communists? This is simply feel good legislation designed to insure that they can charge any citizen who defends themselves at home. Clearly, if you have time to call 911, retrieve, assemble and load your firearm before identifying and neutralizing the imminent threat. The threat isn’t imminent and you have attacked this poor trespasser with lethal force.


5 posted on 11/04/2009 1:31:32 PM PST by Steamburg ( Your wallet speaks the only language most politicians understand.)
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To: Steamburg

Seeing that the town of Billerica has a section called “Crimehurst”. I’d keep a shotgun under the bed as well.


6 posted on 11/04/2009 1:38:38 PM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Steamburg

Seeing that the town of Billerica has a section called “Crimehurst”. I’d keep a shotgun under the bed as well.


7 posted on 11/04/2009 1:39:04 PM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: neverdem
FTA: Regarding Prosti-chusetts stooopid gun law: a "life-saving gun-safety law that protects children and others from gun deaths and injuries" My idea of a good gun law that protects children and others from gun deaths and injuries is The Second Amendment, as written. Train kids early and they will know how to safely use firearms. Or maybe it's just my Vast Right Wing Conspiracy membership that's clouding my judgement.
8 posted on 11/04/2009 2:04:58 PM PST by Macoozie (Go Sarah! Palin/Bolton 2012)
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To: basil
Color me curious, but I’d sure like to know how they found out that the guy kept his gun under his bed. Nothing says the son took it—so how did anyone even know about it?

The state Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments Thursday in the case of a Billerica man whose disabled son was accused of shooting a BB gun at a neighbor and who then showed police officers where his father kept other unlocked weapons.

9 posted on 11/04/2009 2:35:02 PM PST by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

“The Supreme Court ruled that law-abiding citizens have a Second Amendment right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense, but cautioned that this right is nonunlimited, and it is not a right to keep a gun in any manner whatsoever.”

“nonunlimited”?????????????? I lived in Lowell, MA for 3 years while in college before escaping to NH. This is exactly the kind of grammer that I would expect from the Lowell Sun. Sheesh!


10 posted on 11/04/2009 2:52:00 PM PST by Dayman (My 1919a4 is named Charlotte. When I light her up she has the voice of an angel.)
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To: neverdem

>>In the brief, the groups agree that Massachusetts’ gun-storage law is a “life-saving gun-safety law that protects children and others from gun deaths and injuries, while still allowing a gun owner or authorized user to use the firearm in self defense.’’<<

These folks seem to have the misguided impression that the preservation of life is a higher principle than the preservation of freedom.


11 posted on 11/04/2009 2:55:26 PM PST by RobRoy (The US today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: neverdem

Thanks—I didn’t see that anywhere.


12 posted on 11/04/2009 3:47:24 PM PST by basil (It's time to rid the country of "Gun Free Zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: neverdem

‘Just a minute, Mr. Burglar/Would-be Murderer, hang on while I dig out my defensive weapon. Oh... uh... where did I put that key...’

Alas, this is but a small PART of Massachusetts’ weapons madness.


13 posted on 11/04/2009 4:05:04 PM PST by Jack Hammer
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To: basil

I was wondering the same thing myself! We’ll be affected by this because we’re fixing to apply for a Class A License to Carry, here in MA. The State has a ‘may carry’ law that gives the local Police Chief the right to say yea or nay to the Class A designation, which is the least restrictive. Fortunately, according to the guy who taught our Firearms Safety Class, our town’s Chief is one of the more accommodating in the area, and the course we took gave us both the certificates we need to apply for the Class A.


14 posted on 11/04/2009 6:56:17 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Jack Hammer

We’re gonna get the kind of gun safe that works on fingerprint ID. No having to fool with keys in the clutch. ;o)


15 posted on 11/04/2009 6:58:39 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ
We have a large very active chapter of Second Amendment Sisters in the Boston area. Lynne, our state coordinator is very knowledgeable about the laws up there. Check out our website for more details.


16 posted on 11/04/2009 8:12:49 PM PST by basil (It's time to rid the country of "Gun Free Zones" aka "Killing Fields")
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To: SuziQ

Let’s hope it works right when you need it...


17 posted on 11/04/2009 10:01:09 PM PST by Jack Hammer
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To: basil

LOL! That’s what I told my instructor when he handed us our MA State Trooper and NRA Certificates. I said, “Now I can be a bonafide member of the Second Amendment Sisters!!” I’ll be checking your site out very soon!


18 posted on 11/04/2009 11:07:49 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: neverdem

Sounds like the kid needs a few good swats on the fanny and a seat in front of that YouTube video with the law professor exhorting people to never, ever, ever volunteer ANYTHING to the cops.


19 posted on 11/04/2009 11:54:06 PM PST by Still Thinking
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To: Dayman; Tax-chick
“nonunlimited”???

Yeah, but is it anti-non-un-non-unlimitedly enforced?

I also love when people take an adjective derived from a noun by adding a suffix, and add another suffix to turn it back into a noun.

20 posted on 11/05/2009 12:00:20 AM PST by Still Thinking
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To: SuziQ

As long as the batteries don’t die. I’ve heard of cases where the batteries died or the wire carrying power from the battery to the circuit board broke, and the lock had to be demolished to be opened. AND the safe company blew the guy off about giving him parts to fix it!


21 posted on 11/05/2009 12:02:44 AM PST by Still Thinking
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