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.