MA court upholds a state law requiring trigger locks

MA court upholds a state law requiring trigger locks

This is a discussion on MA court upholds a state law requiring trigger locks within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; If, as and when Heller is applied to the states, this will be done away with. Read the last quote from the nanny-state attorney general. ...

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Thread: MA court upholds a state law requiring trigger locks

  1. #1
    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    MA court upholds a state law requiring trigger locks

    If, as and when Heller is applied to the states, this will be done away with. Read the last quote from the nanny-state attorney general. Lah-lah land.

    SJC upholds trigger-lock law for guns in homes - The Boston Globe

    SJC backs trigger-lock law on guns in homes
    By John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane
    Globe Staff / March 11, 2010

    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 people’s homes.
    COMMENTS (22)

    In what was seen by some as a victory for law enforcement and advocates of gun control, the state’s 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 Runyan’s then-18-year-old developmentally disabled son was shooting a BB gun at a neighbor’s 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.

    “What they did for us as a state is they allowed us to continue to engage a balance between how we provide for our own self-defense and how we . . . avoid tragedy, especially when guns are in the hands of those who shouldn’t have them,’’ Leone said.

    Runyan’s attorney, Brenden J. McMahon said he had hoped the SJC would have brought the prosecution to an end. Now the case will limp along, he said.

    “It doesn’t really give closure to my guy,’’ McMahon said.

    In a companion ruling yesterday, the SJC upheld the conviction of a New Bedford man who had argued that the Second Amendment right to bear arms trumped state law making it a crime for an unlicensed person to have a handgun.

    Nathaniel DePina was arrested by gang officers after a .22-caliber revolver fell out of his clothing. Gants said the Second Amendment does not apply in DePina’s case because the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights has never meant that an individual is free to own firearms.

    Gregg Miliote, spokesman for Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, said the court was right to uphold DePina’s convictions and to leave state firearms laws intact.

    The unanimous decisions by the SJC flow from a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court in 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller.

    The Supreme Court said for the first time that the US Constitution’s Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm for self-defense, but the court limited the reach of its ruling to “federal enclaves’’ like the District of Columbia.

    Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a gun ownership case in Illinois in which, legal specialists say, the court is likely to determine whether the Second Amendment will now be explicitly extended to the states — and state laws and regulations set up to control the use, sale, and storage of firearms.

    In yesterday’s 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.

    “Under Cruikshank, the Second Amendment imposes no limitations on the ability of the Massachusetts Legislature to regulate the possession of firearms and ammunition,’’ Gants wrote. “These cases are the law of the land until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, and we are therefore bound by them.’’

    In a statement on the trigger lock case, Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center, applauded the SJC. “Courts must continue to reject efforts by the gun lobby and gun criminals to strike down common-sense gun laws that save lives,’’ he said.

    But Edward F. George Jr., attorney for the Gun Owners Action League, faulted the SJC, saying they left intact a confusing law and should have waited for the US Supreme Court to clarify the muddy legal waters later this summer.

    “They jumped the gun,’’ he said of the SJC.

    Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose office sided with Leone as did county prosecutors, said she approved of the SJC’s findings.

    The court is protecting “the public, especially our children, from the risks of unsafe firearm storage practices while also recognizing a gun owner’s right to use a firearm for self-defense in his or her home,’’ she said.

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    Article CVI. Article I of Part the First of the Constitution is hereby annulled and the following is adopted:-
    All people are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.

    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.


    The Initiative.
    II. Initiative Petitions.

    Section 2. Excluded Matters

    ...No proposition inconsistent with any one of the following rights of the individual, as at present declared in the declaration of rights, shall be the subject of an initiative or referendum petition: The right to receive compensation for private property appropriated to public use; the right of access to and protection in courts of justice; the right of trial by jury; protection from unreasonable search, unreasonable bail and the law martial; freedom of the press; freedom of speech; freedom of elections; and the right of peaceable assembly.

    Source - Massachusetts Constitution
    - John Adams

    P.S. - It seems the founding fathers of MA as in development of their Constitution were short sighted and incomplete as related to the specific recognition to keep and bear arms as being an inherent right of the people.
    This is stunning considering the history of this state and that thereafter toward this states influence toward the founding of what later came to be known world wide as being the United States of America.
    Lesson to learn: If ever you have opportunity in life to make a proclamation to be enduring as in to perpetuity and are to and will be the basis for further and future proclamations, it is most wise to be exceedingly clear, direct and specific as to your intended view & focus.
    Anything less shall be viewed as waivering....hence the decision of the MA SJC.
    "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

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    I don't post here anymore...Sorry
    Actually, even if Heller applied to the states, the convictions would still stand.

    Regarding gun locks, Heller was significant because it forbid any weapon being ready to fire at any time; MA issues carry permits, and I believe their law is similar to CT's which require locks on firearms were minors may have access to them.

    Significant difference between NO GUNS and "You can have your Sig 220 on you ready to go, but the rest of your stuff has to be secured when not in use..."

    Regarding licensing...that's not going away. It will, however, be applied more evenly, and in a fair, nondescriminatory manner - but eliminated in all forms? No.

    The Court in Heller said it was not going to be striking down all gun laws.

    You want to get rid of a gun law you don't like but still comports to constitutional requirements? Do it the right way.

    The legislature.

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    MA law requires all and any firearm not being possessed in the immediate at hand to be stored as locked. There is no specific caveat toward when children are or are not around.
    It's any and all, period.
    Same applies to magazines and "loading devices" as well as ammunition and "components".

    So as in this case case the man with his adult son (18 yrs. old) was found guilty due to how the statute is written as current. Which is contrary to the Heller 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

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