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Posted: 3/29/2009 9:50:34 PM EST
Massachusetts Trial Court Holds Gun Storage Law Unconstitutional:

After a police officer's 12-year-old son got access to the officer's handgun, the officer was prosecuted for violating Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 140, § 131L:

It shall be unlawful to store or keep any firearm, rifle or shotgun ... in any place unless such weapon is secured in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner or other lawfully authorized user. For purposes of this section, such weapon shall not be deemed stored or kept if carried by or under the control of the owner or other lawfully authorized user.

Last month, the court held the statute was unconstitutional (Commonwealth v. Bolduc), and dismissed the prosecution. I only just now managed to get a copy of the opinion, and here's the relevant discussion:

The locking mechanisms [required by the statute] are the functional equivalent of those enumerated in the D.C. statute struck down in Heller.

In Heller, the Court held that the Second Amendment not only protects an individual's right to possess firearms but that the right requires that the firearms be available for "the purpose of immediate self-defense." The Massachusetts statute mandating lock boxes or similar devices would frustrate an owner's ability to immediately access an operable weapon.

Although the statute exempts firearms that are "carried" or "under the control of the owner" from the requirement that they be locked, the statute applies to the lawful owner of a firearm even when he is at home. People can be subject to prosecution whether they are home or not. The term "under the control of the owner" is a question of fact and subject to interpretation. Any ambiguity in the statute as applied to a person lawfully keeping a firearm in the home must be resolved in favor of the holder of the right. Legislation requiring an owner to store firearms in a place inaccessible to children or unauthorized persons would satisfy the Supreme Court's holding in Heller and protect the safety of others.

In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that, based on the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, G.L.c. 140, sec. 131L is unconstitutional.

According to a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article notes that Massachusetts courts seem split on this. It also reports that the prosecutor "agreed with [Judge] Lynch's analysis and decided not to appeal. 'I've read the Heller case,' he says. 'Judge Lynch read the Heller case, and the Heller case seems to say very clearly that these kinds of blanket restrictions are unconstitutional.'"

Interestingly, the court seemed to assume that the Second Amendment applies to state laws –– what lawyers call the "incorporation" issue –– which is something Heller pointedly declined to resolve.

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_03_22-2009_03_28.shtml#1238111035
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:51:25 PM EST
kewl
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:52:22 PM EST
Huh. Velllllly interestink.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:58:11 PM EST
It is interesting each time I see Heller referenced...

While this is good, it does not eliminate the responsibility to stop kids form getting to your guns.

In this day and age of biometric safes, it is too easy to store a gun safely, yet where you can get to it quickly.

Use your brain, people!

Just because the government can't tell you to wipe your ass, doesn't mean going around with a dirty ass is the ultimate symbol of rebellion.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:10:31 PM EST
But Mass will continue to charge folks will gun storage violations. Just you wait and see.....
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:12:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:
It is interesting each time I see Heller referenced...

While this is good, it does not eliminate the responsibility to stop kids form getting to your guns.

In this day and age of biometric safes, it is too easy to store a gun safely, yet where you can get to it quickly.

Use your brain, people!

Just because the government can't tell you to wipe your ass, doesn't mean going around with a dirty ass is the ultimate symbol of rebellion.


hmmmm....We grew up with guns over fireplace, in unlocked glass gun cabinet, 5 boys and 2 girls.. we were taught it's wrong to shoot people though. Me and my brothers went shooting after school and such... Just a different time I guess.




Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:16:55 PM EST
Dupe: http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=850801, but good news nonetheless.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:18:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By modus:
Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:
It is interesting each time I see Heller referenced...

While this is good, it does not eliminate the responsibility to stop kids form getting to your guns.

In this day and age of biometric safes, it is too easy to store a gun safely, yet where you can get to it quickly.

Use your brain, people!

Just because the government can't tell you to wipe your ass, doesn't mean going around with a dirty ass is the ultimate symbol of rebellion.


hmmmm....We grew up with guns over fireplace, in unlocked glass gun cabinet, 5 boys and 2 girls.. we were taught it's wrong to shoot people though. Me and my brothers went shooting after school and such... Just a different time I guess.






Yeah, we didn't have seat belts either.

Doesn't mean people weren't hurt or killed.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:20:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By zombievt:
But Mass will continue to charge folks will gun storage violations. Just you wait and see.....


It's a Mass state court... They tend to listen to their own judges a bit better than the Feds...

That said, it doesn't make a difference on a precedent level until it survives the appeals process (Assuming they do appeal)...
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:21:52 PM EST
Originally Posted By modus:
Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:
It is interesting each time I see Heller referenced...

While this is good, it does not eliminate the responsibility to stop kids form getting to your guns.

In this day and age of biometric safes, it is too easy to store a gun safely, yet where you can get to it quickly.

Use your brain, people!

Just because the government can't tell you to wipe your ass, doesn't mean going around with a dirty ass is the ultimate symbol of rebellion.


hmmmm....We grew up with guns over fireplace, in unlocked glass gun cabinet, 5 boys and 2 girls.. we were taught it's wrong to shoot people though. Me and my brothers went shooting after school and such... Just a different time I guess.






It's not what you or your family will do with your unsecure guns...

It's what your average burglar will do with them (and before you say 'But I'll shoot the burglar' - I said burglar, not 'home-invasion-robber' - that implies that he comes when no one's home).....
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