Massachusetts High Court Rules That Homeowners Must Lock Up Their Guns - Page 2

Massachusetts High Court Rules That Homeowners Must Lock Up Their Guns

This is a discussion on Massachusetts High Court Rules That Homeowners Must Lock Up Their Guns within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Gun owners, like anyone, have a responsibility to see to it that they do not allow a foreseeable harm to occur through their own negligence ...

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  1. #16
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Gun owners, like anyone, have a responsibility to see to it that they do not allow a foreseeable harm to occur through their own negligence or recklessness.

    In this instance I see two things which make me less than sympathetic to the defendant:

    1) She did not properly secure firearms not under her direct control;
    &
    2) She allowed someone she knew or should have known was a dangerous person access to such firearms.

    (Sharon Kask allowed Jason’s father to store an arsenal of thirty firearms in her home in a makeshift gun cabinet, and she gave Jason free access to her home...)

    That is not the behavior of a responsible person.

    Note the article also mentions other state's ruling on this matter: Courts in Indiana, Kansas and Montana have recently expanded liability of gun owners who fail to secure their guns.


    Courts in KA, IN and MN have ruled similar to the MA courts:
    http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/17...TATE-LAWS.html

    The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in August 1998 that handgun owners have a duty to store guns safely in order to prevent juveniles and others from misusing them (Long v. Turk [962 P.2d 1093]). Seventeen-year-old Matthew Turk took his father's .357 Magnum handgun, which had been left in a cabinet. While out driving, he shot and killed Anthony Long, a passenger in another vehicle, during a traffic dispute. Long's mother filed a wrongful-death action against Matthew's father. The court held that because firearms are dangerous instruments, gun owners owe the public a duty to secure them. This case followed a similar case in Montana, Streaver v. Cline (924 P.2d 666 [Mont. 1996]), which also resulted in a decision that firearms owners have a duty to secure their guns from theft.

    On April 7, 2003 the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that gun owners have a legal duty to exercise care in the storage of their firearms in order to keep them away from criminals. The court overturned a lower court ruling that Indiana gun owners do not have a responsibility to secure their own weapons (Estate of Heck v. Stoffer [No. 02A03-0007-CV-267).


    Its nothing new.

    Just because its a MA case people go nuts...

    This is a very different case from a situation mentioned by LenS:

    IMNSHO if a gun is locked adequately in a home (meets MGLs), a perp breaks in (not one that lives with you), steals the gun and mis-uses it . . . I fully expect the gun owner to be arrested and charged with a crime.


    You are expected to safely store your weapons so that people who have access to your home but are not supposed to have access to your firearms. You aren't required to have your home the equivalent of Fort Knox.

    If your storage of the weapons complies with the law and someone broke into your home, stole your weapon, and that gun was later used in a crime, if you reported the theft you will in all likelihood be fine.

    You have a duty to store weapons in a reasonably secure manner.

    If someone wants into your safe and has to B&E, steal your gun case and spend an hour with power-tools...well, that's pretty much proof your storage was secure if someone has to go through all that to get your Glock.


  2. #17
    Distinguished Member Array Pro2A's Avatar
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    *Pats criminal on back*

    "We know its not your fault that you chose to steal a gun and comit murder... its those darned homeowners who don't lock them up"

    This is a joke, MA residents, get out while you can

  3. #18
    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Cool

    quote:
    "Failure to securely store firearms in the home is a leading cause of preventable shooting deaths."



    This is total ignorance and shows a total lack of common sense.

    You think maybe that the 'leading cause of shooting deaths' is a bad guy wanting to kill?

    If he had such a violent history, why was he on the streets.

    I'm really not too surprised since this is coming out of Massachussets.
    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

    "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder." -Michael Savage

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  4. #19
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro2A View Post
    *Pats criminal on back*

    "We know its not your fault that you chose to steal a gun and comit murder... its those darned homeowners who don't lock them up"

    This is a joke, MA residents, get out while you can
    What about gun owners in Indiana and Montana?

  5. #20
    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Cool

    It's wierd in a way that she can be held liable that someone broke open the gun case to steal a weapon that he then used to shoot an officer but judges have no liabiliy when they release killers and rapists who then go out and rape and/or kill more innocent people.

    Here's more on the case-
    http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dl...607010458/1116

    Saturday, July 1, 2006
    Jupin lawsuit revived by SJC

    Shooter’s access to gun at issue

    By Matthew Bruun TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

    The Supreme Judicial Court has revived a lawsuit by the mother of a slain Westminster police officer against the woman from whose house the shooting weapon was taken, ruling that negligence may be claimed because someone with a violent history had access to weapons in the house.

    The ruling yesterday that the suit can proceed overturned Superior Court Judge Francis R. Fecteau’s order granting summary judgment to the defendant in the case more than two years ago.

    Officer Lawrence M. Jupin was shot May 10, 1999, in the woods off Route 31 in Westminster. He slipped into a coma weeks after the shooting and died Nov. 29, 2002, at age 34.


    Jason Rivers was charged in connection with the shooting, but has been repeatedly found mentally incompetent to stand trial and has been held at Bridgewater State Hospital.

    In 2002, Joanne Jupin, Officer Jupin’s mother, sued Sharon Kask, who owned the residence where Mr. Rivers obtained the gun that was used to shoot the officer. The gun, kept in a locked cabinet, was from a collection owned by the assailant’s father, Willis L. Rivers, who was living at the time in Ms. Kask’s home on Otis Street, Fitchburg.

    The SJC ruling states Ms. Kask knew that Jason Rivers had a history of mental violence and instability and also had a key to her home. Though locked, the gun cabinet had exposed screws that could be removed to gain access without a key.

    “She sees this as an opportunity to demonstrate there is responsibility for firearms storage,” Ms. Jupin’s lawyer, Douglas L. Fox, said yesterday. He said his client was relieved at the judge’s ruling.

    “She’s been through a lot,” Mr. Fox said. “It’s been a long struggle but she’s been hanging in there.”

    Ms. Kask’s lawyer did not return telephone calls seeking comment on the ruling yesterday.

    Officer Jupin was shot with a .357-caliber Magnum handgun stolen from Willis Rivers’ gun cabinet. The suit alleged Jason Rivers removed screws on the cabinet, took the firearm and replaced the screws to cover up the theft.

    The civil action argued three theories of liability: Ms. Kask did not properly secure the handgun, so she should be held accountable for the harm caused by it; even if not negligent, she should be held strictly liable for the harm caused by a gun stored in her home; and her failure to secure the guns constituted a public nuisance.

    Judge Fecteau granted summary judgment in favor of Ms. Kask in May 2004, “concluding that she owed no duty of care to Officer Jupin in the circumstances of the case, and that the law did not support extending theories of strict liability or public nuisance to the storing of lawfully obtained, unloaded firearms in one’s home,” the SJC ruling recounts.

    The SJC granted Ms. Jupin’s request for direct appellate review.

    “We affirm summary judgment on the claims of strict liability and public nuisance,” the ruling published yesterday reads. “The storage of lawfully obtained, unloaded weapons on one’s property is not an ultrahazardous activity of the type to which we would apply a theory of strict liability. Nor does such storage (at least on the facts presented here) create a public nuisance.”

    The question that will go to a Superior Court jury, then, is whether Ms. Kask was negligent in ensuring the proper storage of firearms kept on her property.

    “In the circumstances of this case, we conclude that a homeowner who permits guns to be stored on her property and allows unsupervised access to that property by a person known by her to have a history of violence and mental instability, has a duty of reasonable care to ensure that the guns are properly secured,” the SJC ruling states.

    “This duty is owed to … a law enforcement officer shot by the person granted unsupervised access, because the officer is a foreseeable victim of the alleged improper firearm storage,” the ruling continued. “We therefore reverse summary judgment on the negligence claim and leave to the jury the determination whether Kask exercised reasonable care.”

    Jason Rivers’ history of violence and mental instability included arrests for assaultive behavior, temporary institutionalization for observation and court-ordered counseling. He had also gone absent without leave from the U.S. Army and was subsequently discharged, the ruling recounts.

    Ms. Kask knew he had experience with weapons, had expressed interest in obtaining a firearms license and had often been to the basement where his father’s weapons were stored.

    Jason Rivers did not appear for a probation violation hearing in May 1999 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

    On May 10, 1999, Westminster police saw him walking on Route 31 wearing camouflage, and he was found to be carrying a hunting knife. Officer Jupin went to the scene after his partner had stopped Mr. Rivers on the road.

    As police checked for warrants, Mr. Rivers fled into the woods.

    “During the ensuing foot chase, Jason shot Officer Jupin three times,” the ruling recounts. “In returning fire, Officer Jupin shot and wounded Jason, who was then arrested.”

    Mr. Rivers’ father saw that a .357-caliber Magnum pistol was missing from his gun cabinet when police came to his home to question him about the shooting the next day.
    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

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  6. #21
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwblanco View Post
    As to what I perceived as a hint that I did not read your original post...
    No it was not a hint as obvious to me you yourself had read the whole thing.
    I was stating as a matter of fact that a person who had not read the whole thing though might think this was some such case which it was not.
    I will though go and read your link as provided.

    Once again I posted this as informational purpose for those of us who prior were unaware of this case and the circumstances and the resulting MA Supreme Court decision.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  7. #22
    Distinguished Member Array Pro2A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    What about gun owners in Indiana and Montana?
    My quote was sarcasm

  8. #23
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    ...Its nothing new.

    Just because its a MA case people go nuts...
    The press release stated exactly that and further cited the other states where same similar have come to be decided.
    That is why in my heading I stated in the preface that it's a good read for MA residents and is relevant to folks who might not.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  9. #24
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    I am not worried.

    I think too much may be being read into this. I used to have a gun cabinet made of wood that had glass faced doors with doors below to lock up ammo.

    Had someone broken into my house, busted the glass out of the gun cabinet, and used the tools in my garage to get the ammo. I would not be responsible for them shooting someone. The guns were secure, in my home.

    When my wife got pregnant, that gun cabinet was given to my brother along with a few guns, and I purchased a couple of locking steel cabinets, one for rifles and one for pistols. Moved them to my closet, instead of the room where my old wood cabinet was, which is now my son's room. Those cabinets remain locked, and the ammunition is kept in a different place. I also keep a couple of loaded pistols in a quick access safe in the same closet.

    If someone breaks into my house, again using the tools in my garage, and removes all of those gun cabinets or breaks into the cabinets and steals the guns, finds the ammo, and then goes and kills someone, I am not going to be held liable for that either. They were secured, in my house and in one of three locked safes or cabinets.

    This particular case, will apply to few if any people here. If my sons grows up to have some chemical deficiency that makes him a threat to someone, or if I let some other person into my home to live that has this type of condition, I would, as most of those here would, take some additional precautions in securing my firearms. However, in the current state they are, I doubt that I would be held liable if the same unfortunate events were to occur at my house as did in this scenario.

    When and if we start to become liable for weapons that are stolen from our homes under lock and key, and then used in some subsequent crime, I am going to get out of my current business and start a armory business to secure everyones firarms for them. I will be glad to send my address to anyone that feels the need to have thier firearms secured for them, just let me know a week or two before you want to use them so I can clean them up and ship it back to you. Would be one heck of a way to build up a collection without having to purchase any more guns.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  10. #25
    Distinguished Member Array mr.stuart's Avatar
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    As I have said before,my three brothers and I grew up around a father that would lay his guns on the table.We never even thought about touching them because dad said never touch the guns without his permission.None of our friends would either.Why?Fear and common sense!Many of you remember when parents demanded respect.Now parents read books and try to figure out how to raise children!Too many parents want to be a childs friend,instead of an example and a leader in the way to live.

  11. #26
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Farron,

    That kind of cabinet as you described...



    ...Has been described to me during classes by three different MA law firearms courses I've taken in the last 18 mos. that all had a focus on lawful and sensible means of storage. The courses were MA LTC as provided via S&W, MA Hunter Education as provided by MA Wildlife as instructed by the director of the MA EPO , and the third course was Waterfowl Education as provided by MA Wildlife and The U.S. Dept. of Fish & Game as instructed by the regional directors of both organizations.

    In all three cases they went in detail about how wooden gun cabinets with the glass fronts/sides are not MA compliant as to the letter of the law toward secure storage even as they might otherwise be locked.
    All three courses instructors strongly suggested at a minimum a steel gun cabinet with a locking hasp if not a proper gun safe.

    I'm just reiterating what I've been instructed across a trio of recent courses by purported as knowledgeable experts. The last course I took where this was mentioned was Waterfowl last July so it's not like the info was from a long time ago.

    $0.02 street

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  12. #27
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    I understand that MA has much different laws than we do down here. I no longer have a cabinet as you depicted since we have a small child. Someone else may be familiar with what Texas requires regarding firearms where children are not involved, I don't know of any relating to adults, but these are the statues relating to minors. Most any secure storage fits this from my interpretation. Lots of emphasis on readily dischargeable here.

    § 46.13. MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD.
    (a) In this section:
    (1) "Child" means a person younger than 17 years of
    age.
    (2) "Readily dischargeable firearm" means a firearm
    that is loaded with ammunition, whether or not a round is in the
    chamber.
    (3) "Secure" means to take steps that a reasonable
    person would take to prevent the access to a readily dischargeable
    firearm by a child, including but not limited to placing a firearm
    in a locked container or temporarily rendering the firearm
    inoperable by a trigger lock or other means.
    (b) A person commits an offense if a child gains access to a
    readily dischargeable firearm and the person with criminal
    negligence:
    (1) failed to secure the firearm; or
    (2) left the firearm in a place to which the person
    knew or should have known the child would gain access.
    (c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this
    section that the child's access to the firearm:
    (1) was supervised by a person older than 18 years of
    age and was for hunting, sporting, or other lawful purposes;
    (2) consisted of lawful defense by the child of people
    or property;
    (3) was gained by entering property in violation of
    this code; or
    (4) occurred during a time when the actor was engaged
    in an agricultural enterprise.
    (d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under
    this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
    (e) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor
    if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious
    bodily injury to himself or another person.
    (f) A peace officer or other person may not arrest the actor
    before the seventh day after the date on which the offense is
    committed if:
    (1) the actor is a member of the family, as defined by
    Section 71.003, Family Code, of the child who discharged the
    firearm; and
    (2) the child in discharging the firearm caused the
    death of or serious injury to the child.
    (g) A dealer of firearms shall post in a conspicuous
    position on the premises where the dealer conducts business a sign
    that contains the following warning in block letters not less than
    one inch in height:

    "IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE, TRANSPORT, OR ABANDON AN UNSECURED
    FIREARM IN A PLACE WHERE CHILDREN ARE LIKELY TO BE AND CAN OBTAIN
    ACCESS TO THE FIREARM."


    Like I said, glad I live in Texas.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
    www.ddchl.com
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  13. #28
    Senior Member Array walvord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitmaster View Post
    Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

    I suppose if someone picks up a baseball bat and hits someone over the head and kills them the bat owner is liable.
    yes, to include Rawlings. So now 3 parties can go to jail - the BG, the bat owner, and the bat maker.
    The most exhilarating thing in life is getting shot at with no results.
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  14. #29
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    This is just another way of attacking the firearm instead of THE BAD GUY for his/her misdeeds!
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. If I have a gun, what do I have to be paranoid about?" -Clint Smith

    "An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." -Jeff Cooper

  15. #30
    Senior Member Array Herknav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obxned
    We should also throw innocent people in jail if their car is stolen and used in a crime...
    Actually, it's worse than that. To apply the car analogy, they would go after YOU for letting me park my car at your house if MY car was stolen and used in a crime.

    Herk

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