The leader of the group of heavily armed Moorish sovereign citizens who held an hours-long stand off on Rte. 128 in July is suing over his arrest and continuing lockup - and is demanding $1,000 a day in recompense for his time behind bars plus written apologies from Charlie Baker, Maura Healey and the troopers who put him in cuffs for what he claims is a violation of his and his fellow gun slingers' Second Amendment rights.
In a handwritten complaint filed in US District Court in Boston - one of three filed by Moorish sovereign citizens against Massachusetts this week - Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey of Providence, formerly known as Jamhal Lattimer, cites a bevy of cases from outside New England and one case involving stun guns in Massachusetts that he says protects the rights of armed militias to pack weapons to protect themselves and that his group should never have been questioned, let alone arrested, in Wakefield while on their way from their Providence headquarters to Maine for training on the "large capacity firearms" they had with them.
He claims these rulings protect the rights of militias like his to prepare for "a foreign invasion from the Northern States, or an act of domestic terrorism in the northern States, such as Maine" and that Massachusetts's strict gun-control laws, which outright ban certain types of automatic weapons:
[C]ould and clearly does have a direct negative effect and impact on the response time, ability, effectiveness and efficiency of any militia trying to help the situation if said militias had to either: travel around Massachusetts, adding at least an additional 7 hours of travel, plus gas, or somehow, during foreign invasion or terrorism, unload their firearms, apply for an FID card, wait for approval and destroy or trade in their standard and high capacity magazines before the militiamen can ever do their job in protecting the Constitution Union. No military organization will ever burden itself in that manner, the former nor the latter.
He claims that a federal court decision created a legal definition of an acceptable militia - that its members wear uniforms, have a chain of command, open-carry weapons and practice with their weapons - just like he and his fellow Rise of the Moors members were doing, or trying to do when stopped. In fact, the case he cites involved a Lebanese man brought to the US to face charges after he and members of a Lebanese militia hijacked a plane with American passengers on board. In its ruling, the court was not defining a militia under the Second Amendment but describing how the man and his fellow militiamen boarded and then hijacked a plane getting ready for takeoff from Beirut's airport.
Bey also cites the 2008 Heller decision in which the Supreme Court recognized that the Second Amendment grants people the right to own guns for self protection.
However, he seems to have missed two recent decisions in federal court in Massachusetts that hold that even the Heller decision has limits and that there's a limit to what can be considered weapons for "self protection."
In 2019, US District Court Judge Allison Burroughs - who was assigned Bey's case - ruled that while Heller means states can no longer totally ban all weapons, they can still place restrictions on them, including enacting requirements that gun owners must first obtain a license. She noted that Heller was not absolute, that it allows governments to ban gun ownership by the mentally ill or people with prior gun convictions. Burroughs cited a 2017 case in which the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit - which covers Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico - upheld the right of Massachusetts towns to set requirements for gun ownership.
Just two days after Burroughs' ruling, the appeals court ruled Massachusetts could bar specific types of assault weapons because they go way beyond the "self protection," as defined by the Supreme Court, that nobody needs a gun that can fire 10 or more rounds in rapid succession to protect themselves. The court contrasted the weaponry with the small stun guns the Supreme Court ruled Massachusetts could not ban, because they can be used for self protection without threatening the lives of large numbers of people at once.
The record contains ample evidence of the unique dangers posed by the proscribed weapons. Semiautomatic assault weapons permit a shooter to fire multiple rounds very quickly, allowing him to hit more victims in a shorter period of time. LCMs [large-capacity magazines] exacerbate this danger, allowing the shooter to fire more bullets without stopping to reload. ... It is, therefore, not surprising that AR-15s equipped with LCMs have been the weapons of choice in many of the deadliest mass shootings in recent history, including horrific events in Pittsburgh (2018), Parkland (2018), Las Vegas (2017), Sutherland Springs (2017), Orlando (2016), Newtown (2012), and Aurora (2012).
Unusual for a complaint by a Moorish sovereign citizen, Bey, a former Marine, concludes his complaint by avowing he is a "proud American" - typically, they will say they are, in fact, citizens of Morocco not subject to American laws. Bey does state, after saying he is American, that he is also "a Moroccan citizen."
Complete complaint (3.3M PDF).