Whoa: Supreme Judicial Court says Second Amendment doesn't apply to Massachusetts

In a victory for police, district attorneys and other gun-control advocates, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a state requirement to secure stored guns does not violate the Second Amendment - because an individual's right to bear arms only applies to federal jurisdictions, not the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The ruling comes in the case of a Billerica man whose son had ready access to his hunting rifle - which police discovered when they went to investigate why the kid was firing a BB gun at a neighbor's house. Richard Runyan was charged with failing to keep the rifle stored safely as required by state law. A lower-court judge dismissed the charge under a 2007 Supreme Court decision that invalidated Washington, DC's gun-control law.

But the SJC today ordered the charge reinstated:

Based on current Federal law ... we cannot say that the Second Amendment applies to the States, either through the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of substantive due process or otherwise.

Just to be on the safe side, however, the court also said Massachusetts law differs fundamentally from the DC law because it only applies to guns not in the owner's immediate possession - such as guns stored under a bed where a kid could get them - while the DC law required people to lock their guns even while carrying them. The Supreme Court decision formally recognized the right of an individual to carry a gun.

Complete ruling.



      Free tagging: 


      Not so fast

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      The US Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments on another case which would potentially extend the DC case on the 2nd amendment (Heller) to the states. (I believe the new case concerns Chicago.)

      Media coverage of the oral arguments indicate that the court appears likely to extend Heller to the states, which would then presumably overrule today's SJC ruling. The SJC's ruling probably has a lifetime of only a few months.

      Voting is closed. 14

      I wonder if this case will

      I wonder if this case will progress to the supremes. If so, I wonder who the Commonwealth will retain to argue it.

      Voting is closed. 11

      Of course! And he drives a truck!

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      Scott Brown is our AG now, right? I mean he won the election...unless the damn Democrats in this state are just stalling his appointment!

      Voting is closed. 8

      Huh? I'm hoping there was

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      Huh? I'm hoping there was sarcasm there, because Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate not to the post of Attorney General.

      Voting is closed. 9


      By on

      Depends on how the supremes rule on the McDonald case. We should know by June whether or not the 2d Amendment will apply to the states through the 14th Amendment DPC, but the SJC's parsing of the two statutes suggests that even if incorporation happens (which it almost certainly will) the statute may (initially?) withstand 2d Amendment scrutiny.

      Voting is closed. 11

      Rights and responsibilities

      This case isn't about right to keep and bear arms. It's about responsibility to secure arms. I'm interested to see if the pro-gun lobby will argue that the Second Amendment gives everybody the right to leave loaded firearms around unsecured where children can use them.

      Voting is closed. 18