Skip to comments.SJC backs trigger-lock law on guns in homes
Posted on 03/11/2010 12:21:32 PM PST by neverdem
In a case that drew attention from the Gun Owners Action League and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Supreme Judicial Court yesterday upheld a state law requiring trigger locks on guns kept in peoples homes.
In what was seen by some as a victory for law enforcement and advocates of gun control, the states highest court ruled that the Second Amendment does not restrict the right of Massachusetts to impose its own rules on gun ownership.
We conclude that the legal obligation safely to secure firearms in [state law] is not unconstitutional, Justice Ralph Gants wrote for the unanimous court.
The gunlock case involved Richard Runyan, a Billerica man facing prosecution for keeping a rifle under his bed without a trigger lock. Police in 2007 discovered the firearm as they investigated complaints that Runyans then-18-year-old developmentally disabled son was shooting a BB gun at a neighbors house.
A Lowell District Court judge threw out the case. Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.s office appealed in 2009.
Leone said in a telephone interview yesterday that the SJC had struck the proper balance between the right to self defense and the right of society to prevent tragedies such as a child mishandling a loaded firearm...
In yesterdays SJC cases, Justice Gants wrote that an 1875 US Supreme Court ruling (called Cruikshank) remains in force and gives Massachusetts the authority to chart its own course when it comes to regulating firearms and ammunition...
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
“the right of society to prevent tragedies “
Where, oh, where is that a constitutional item? And if so, does this mean we can abolish the government as it creates more tragedies than any gun ever has?
I would guess not, since DC is kind of an odd situatuon. In this case, odious as it may be, I have to side with the MA sjc. The 2nd simply constrains the fed gov; states are free to enact their own laws on top. This is a case of “if you don’t like it, move” (and so many are doing just that).
“If the courts started interpreting the 2nd Amendment the way they interpret the 1st,we’d have the right to bear nuclear arms by now”- Ann Coulter
Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away.
Unlike some other amendments whice state “Congress shall make no law”, the 2nd amendment does not refer to the federal government alone. It says “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” ... which implies that it shall not be infringed by anyone.
I ok with this as long as the person kicking in my front door has a trigger lock on his gun.
Gun restrictions: Violent Felon Employment Protection Program
Gotta ban swimming pools and dogs over 30 pounds then. They kill far more children.
Trigger locks eliminate all gun accidents and do not prevent a weapon from being brought into action quickly.
This is why police officers carry their weapons with trigger locks in place.
A law saying that my guns must be locked up and, therefore, difficult to obtain when needed infringes on my right to bear (it's keep and bear) arms.
The Second Amendment needs to be interpreted as intended, not as what it could mean.
Lets see,some thug is busting in my door I wait till he enters then stab him with my trigger lock key then proceed to beat him upon the head and shoulders with the useless gun. then call police and hope thiers is unlocked OK.
Enforcement by door-to-door searches with Rahm’s Blueshirts?
This will be another in a long list of laws passed to say we did something to keep us safe from _______ in response to an event way into the tail of propablilities. How exactly can the use of trigger locks be inspected/enforced? If I duct tape it to the gun, then does that count as being on? What exactly constitutes a trigger lock? Are there certified manufacturers, licensed distributors? Is there a QA program for the metal used in the trigger lock? Does an independent agency routinely inspect the manufacturers to assure that the locks produced do what is intended?
The USSC will overturn this.
I think general enforcement is problematic ... but criminal charges in connection with another incident would not be unheard of. For instance, if somebody accidentally gets shot, they’ll ring you up on criminal negligence for failure to secure the weapon according to the law.
Was the rifle loaded or not? It is not clarified in the article.
It must be an interesting story that reveals the reason for looking under the bed.
If Massachusetts (or any other state) can enact a law that makes guns virtually useless as defensive weapons, then the 2nd Amendment is rendered meaningless. I expect the USSC will clarify the matter through "incorporation", which would still allow state regulations consistent with substantive due process (in not restricting Constitutional liberties).
You forgot the sarc tag, right??
I’m sure glad I don’t live in that hellhole! It would cost me a bloody fortune to comply - IF I had the inclination.
>> Seems to me any constitutional guarantee by the Feds cannot be undone by any local law.
Cannot and must not.
Did you eat lots of paint chips as a child?
An earlier version makes it sound unloaded.
The Lowell judge cited the Supreme Courts ruling in dismissing the case against Richard Runyan of Billerica, who in April 2008 was charged with improperly storing a semiautomatic hunting rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a drawer full of ammunition.
I called a few different municipal police departments, my sheriff, and the sheriffs of the neighboring counties about this. They all seemed amused at the prospect of their officers carrying handguns with trigger locks in place. The most often repeated reason given: officers need to be able to use their guns at a moment’s notice without fumbling in a high-stress situation to unlock it. I’ll ask a few officers I know when I see them tonight.
Your premise is faulty.
So pretty much any law abiding citizen able to successfully defend himself from a thug breaking into his home will be IMMEDIATELY arrested for violation of this asinine law—it being OBVIOUS that he could NOT have had his gun LOCKED!!! Hey, ain’t that swell! Just let the criminal kill you and you won’t get into trouble!
Bookmark to read later
The One.Five Amendment.
Well, it’s for the children, dontchaknow.
This is a CLEAR violation...which McDonald will overturn...eventually.
You evidently missed the sarcasm positively FLOODING throughout Conservative Warrior’s post.
The case in hand is about a prosecution of a gun owner who did not lock up their rifle while not under their direct control.
Sure, because plain text allows all that nuance to just stand right out in front.
Once the Court rules that the 14th Amendment applies this part (2nd Amendment) of the Bill of Rights to states and counties, the Chicago gun ban will be dead. This decision in Massachusetts will also be dead.
For the SJC of Massachusetts to reach back a century in the Supreme Court to justify their decision, while ignoring the recent Heller decision, just shows you how far liberal judges will go to lie about the law to get the results that they favor.
Liberals in Massachusetts, California and elsewhere appoint judges they expect will lie about the law to get the results they want. To my view, that is what makes the 2012 election so important.
John / Billybob
Holy crap! If this is the case everyone I know would be a criminal in Massachusetts.
No longer does the ballot box have any long-term value for providing a cure.
You actually think that any cop anywhere has a trigger lock attached to the gun on his hip?
The law must apply to LEO’s at home as well.
I should have elaborated a bit more. Since they cited Cruikshank, the spawn of Slaughterhouse which basically tossed the "privileges & immunities" clause of the 14th Amendment, could this MA SJC decision affect SCOTUS' reasoning to reconsider Slaughterhouse? Thanks for your comments.
You can subtly hint that I must be some sort of moron for taking something presented in a forum at face value, but considering the sheer volume of absolutely idiotic legislation and regulation that pervades our nation, it is not unreasonable to assume that some municipality, somewhere, has conjured this sort of legal sorcery into being and that a fact check is warranted.
For that reason only, I believe it is much likelier that the Court will leave the Slaughter House cases alone, than reverse them. I agree with the logic of reversing them. but that's the harder way to reach the same result.
John / Billybob
A stupid, unenforceable law...
Why only home owners? Why don’t they require armed home invaders to have trigger locks? Why don’t they require police to have trigger locks?
This is double bull.
When the trigger lock is removed, you can have a gun accident.
I have several friends that are PA State Police and none of them has a trigger lock on any of their weapons.
Where are these police officers that you refer to?
States cannot transgress the 2nd amendment any more than they can the 1st. This is precisely why the 10th amendment basically procliams that ‘rights not enumerated above’ are left to the states. The 2nd is most decidedly enumerated above.
By your logic, states could enact speech codes ‘on-top’ of the 1st amendment.
Not how it works, bub.
I wonder if someone broke into your home in Mass and you dispatched him with a few well placed blasts, if his estate would sue you because you did not have a trigger lock installed because if you did, he would have gotten to you before you had a chance to shoot?
Hey state officials, I got your trigger lock right here!