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Four Boston residents sue police commissioner over delays in their gun-permit applications

Four Bostonians, joined by three gun groups, last week sued Police Commissioner Michael Cox over what they say are excessive delays in processing their license-to-carry applications.

In their suit, filed in US District Court, Rudolph White, Robert Cox, Kenley Exume and Leslie Good, say they have all waited more than the 40 days BPD is allowed to take to process their applications. Good alleges that as of last week, she has waited 206 days since filing her initial application - and $100 fee - with no word on when she might be asked to submit fingerprints - required for the last phase of the licensing process, in which State Police use the fingerprints for background checks.

The suit says that, in response to a similar suit in 2020, Boston Police agreed to accept applications immediately, rather than putting people on a waiting list, supposedly due to Covid-19 issues.

Now, the Licensing Unit is accepting individuals’ license applications without significant delay, but is making them wait for many months to submit samples of their fingerprints. Thus, while it has purportedly abandoned its use of a “wait list” to submit applications, the Licensing Unit is still using the equivalent of a “wait list” to prevent people from completing the application process.

The four are asking for an order requiring BPD to accept fingerprints at the same time as applications and to stop what they say are their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

PDF icon Complete complaint170.52 KB


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We're the phone company.



"I'm sure that sloppiness by the police department will never come and bite me in the ass in any way"


Constitutional rights. Yawn.


If the cops are supposed to do things within a certain time, they should be compelled to do so. They're only costing the city money in legal fees at this point; the Supreme Court has been pretty clear on the state of 2A jurisprudence by this point in time.


Even if you're not a 2A supporter, it should be troubling that the City is blatantly violating state law (the 7 days to forward the application and 40 days to issue or deny are MA laws, not federal requirements or reliant on SCTOUS decisions) without even attempting to justify its practices. At the very least the plaintiffs are not being afforded the same due process rights as others in the Commonwealth, to say nothing of other people across the country.

Again, like it or no, the second amendment is currently recognized as an individual constitutional right. This behavior is just as bad as attempts to suppress voting, to quash peaceful protests, surveil disfavored groups without a warrant and other constitutional violations the UHub commentariat rightly gets upset about. The right way to keep firearms out of the wrong hands is to go through the background check process, deny within 40 days for cause and let them have their day in court. It shouldn't be an endurance contest.


Very well said.

and was waiting in line at the window, a woman cut the line with an armful of applications which was as thick as the equivalent to 5-7 reams of 8.5x11 paper.
So it’s fair to say they are backed up.

My husband was made to feel like a criminal when he applied, its ridiculous.


If it's been 206 days since you tried to buy a gun and you haven't needed it to keep yourself alive in that time, you don't need a gun.

If it's been 206 days since you've protested you're Government, you don't need the first amendment,?
If you're against the second amendment use the first amendment to have it repealed, don't encourage our government to ignore our rights.


If the state does fingerprinting and a background check anyway, then why are local police even in the loop in the application process? You need need ask BPD for a permit to get a driver license or a license plate. You get them straight from the state RMV.