The Gun Decision

Guidance from the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety

The Supreme Court’s gun decision last week does impact Massachusetts gun laws as follows: A licensing authority may not deny or limit a license to carry because the applicant does not have a “reason” to carry a firearm.

Some licensing authorities are relatively lenient in finding a need for “target practice,” so waiving a need requirement may make little difference in those communities; other authorities may be enforcing this requirement more strictly and the effect may be larger, but even in these communities, licensing authorities retain considerable discretion to deny licenses.

In Massachusetts under current law, an application for a license to carry firearms goes through three steps of analysis:

  1. Is the applicant a prohibited person — a convicted felon or a person with a domestic violence restraining order against them or a member of another prohibited group?
  2. Is the applicant unsuitable — are there other reasons to believe that the applicant might endanger others if they had a license to carry firearms?
  3. Does the applicant have a reason to carry a firearm?

The new Supreme Court decision only affects the last of these three steps. Licensing authorities may no longer deny a license for lack of a reason to carry a firearm — although they may inquire as to the applicants reason for wanting a license (which may be related to suitability).

The Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety have jointly issued helpful guidance explaining the new decision’s impact on Massachusetts law. The relevant statute is parsed below. For additional information on Massachusetts gun laws, please see this post.

Statutory Details

Prohibited Persons — Unchanged

Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 131, the following persons are prohibited from getting a license to carry firearms. This list does not change:

A prohibited person shall be a person who:

(i) has, in a court of the commonwealth, been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child, both as defined in section 52 of chapter 119, for the commission of (A) a felony; (B) a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than 2 years; (C) a violent crime as defined in section 121; (D) a violation of any law regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, sale, lease, rental, receipt or transportation of weapons or ammunition for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed; (E) a violation of any law regulating the use, possession or sale of a controlled substance as defined in section 1 of chapter 94C including, but not limited to, a violation of said chapter 94C; or (F) a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33);

(ii) has, in any other state or federal jurisdiction, been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child for the commission of (A) a felony; (B) a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than 2 years; (C) a violent crime as defined in section 121; (D) a violation of any law regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, sale, lease, rental, receipt or transportation of weapons or ammunition for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed; (E) a violation of any law regulating the use, possession or sale of a controlled substance as defined in said section 1 of said chapter 94C including, but not limited to, a violation of said chapter 94C; or (F) a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33);

(iii) is or has been (A) committed to a hospital or institution for mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse, except a commitment pursuant to sections 35 or 36C of chapter 123, unless after 5 years from the date of the confinement, the applicant submits with the application an affidavit of a licensed physician or clinical psychologist attesting that such physician or psychologist is familiar with the applicant’s mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse and that in the physician’s or psychologist’s opinion, the applicant is not disabled by a mental illness, alcohol or substance abuse in a manner that shall prevent the applicant from possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun; (B) committed by a court order to a hospital or institution for mental illness, unless the applicant was granted a petition for relief of the court order pursuant to said section 36C of said chapter 123 and submits a copy of the court order with the application; (C) subject to an order of the probate court appointing a guardian or conservator for a incapacitated person on the grounds that the applicant lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage the applicant’s affairs, unless the applicant was granted a petition for relief of the order of the probate court pursuant to section 56C of chapter 215 and submits a copy of the order of the probate court with the application; or (D) found to be a person with an alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder or both and committed pursuant to said section 35 of said chapter 123, unless the applicant was granted a petition for relief of the court order pursuant to said section 35 and submits a copy of the court order with the application;

(iv) is younger than 21 years of age at the time of the application;

(v) is an alien who does not maintain lawful permanent residency;

(vi) is currently subject to: (A) an order for suspension or surrender issued pursuant to sections 3B or 3C of chapter 209A or a similar order issued by another jurisdiction; (B) a permanent or temporary protection order issued pursuant to said chapter 209A or a similar order issued by another jurisdiction, including any order described in 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8); or (C) an extreme risk protection order issued pursuant to sections 131R to 131X, inclusive, or a similar order issued by another jurisdiction;

(vii) is currently the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant in any state or federal jurisdiction;

(viii) has been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions;

(ix) is a fugitive from justice; or

(x) having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced that citizenship.

General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 131(d)

Discretionary Denial for Unsuitability — Unchanged

A licensing authority (usually a police chief) may deny an application for a license to carry firearms if they find the applicant unsuitable. This discretionary authority is not diminished.

The licensing authority may deny the application or renewal of a license to carry, or suspend or revoke a license issued under this section if, in a reasonable exercise of discretion, the licensing authority determines that the applicant or licensee is unsuitable to be issued or to continue to hold a license to carry. A determination of unsuitability shall be based on: (i) reliable and credible information that the applicant or licensee has exhibited or engaged in behavior that suggests that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee may create a risk to public safety; or (ii) existing factors that suggest that, if issued a license, the applicant or licensee may create a risk to public safety.

General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 131(d)

Good Reason to Need — No Longer Required

Under current law, if an applicant is not a prohibited person and not otherwise found unsuitable, a licensing authority (usually a police chief) may issue a license if the person has good reason to need a license. This finding of need is invalidated by the new case.

if it appears that the applicant is not a prohibited person as set forth in this section to be issued a license and that the applicant has good reason to fear injury to the applicant or the applicant’s property or for any other reason, including the carrying of firearms for use in sport or target practice only, subject to the restrictions expressed or authorized under this section.

General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 131(d)

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

Join the Conversation

83 Comments

  1. This is excellent. No longer can law abiding citizens be arbitrarily denied their basic human right of armed self defense.

  2. What tools do we have to reduce the attractiveness of gun ownership, or mitigate the danger of increased gun ownership, if we cannot limit ownership only to those who “need” a gun?

    Ammunition: Can we license or limit ammunition purchase, limit the amount held, or require ammunition storage away from the gun (e.g. at a firing range)?

    Insurance: Can we require insurance? For guns? For specific types or numbers of guns? For ammunition? For types or amounts of ammunition?

    Purchase permits: Can we require (like Switzerland) that each individual gun purchase be governed by a permit?

    Get the receipts: I hope we will be able to study the impact of this change–such as following up on the number of licenses issued and the number of shootings that follow. I particularly want Massachusetts to follow up on how domestic violence and stalking intersect with gun ownership.

    Thanks, Will.

    1. Tools to reduce the attractiveness of gun ownership, like conducting and publicizing large, longitudinal studies of gun owners possibly finding correlations to low self-worth and an inferiority complex?

        1. Maybe, but there’s a distorted risk perception problem of gun owners and greed problem of manufacturers and the twain will more frequently meet between firearms and the deranged.

          I can’t reconcile the 2nd amendment, but it’s advocacy and money that moved The Court, not guns, and if it is guns, then are those with the most guns going to prevail over those with the most votes?

          1. Do you bump into walls as you waltz around your home lost in a state of hallucination or are you safely restrained?

    2. Kind of you to do blatantly admit all these tactics are simply spurious reasons to deny others a constitutional right. Makes overturning even easier.

      1. The 2nd Amendment is very healthy and I’m not opposed to it.

        By and large, people who have ever needed arms can get them, but the NRA and Hollywood in their greed have been disturbing the peace by fear mongering, glamorizing and creating a hysteria and fetish for guns, driving a mass market where a small natural market had existed.

        So, I would fight for the 2nd Amendment, absolutely, but maintain pressure on the industry and the contours of what’s acceptable (bump stocks, auto sears, serial numbers and ghost guns, &c) in order to protect the domestic tranquility.

        1. Again, you speak from fantasy and not from fact. The number of people who own arms has been steadily declining for years. It wasn’t fear monger I got that stoked demand but your party’s open promises to take guns (Biden literally just said this) while subjecting America to its unique take on policing (not doing any).

          Anyway, none of this matters because your opinion on who to buy a gun is the most irrelevant thing in earth. People will exercise their rights as they see fit snd owe no explanations to you or shine else.

    3. I believe that your suggestions and recommendations would fall under the category of “infringement.” These measures have been attempted before and have been struck down. Hammers, machetes, knives, baseball bats and other items have been effectively utilized in performing grievous and fatal harm.

    4. I believe that your suggestions and recommendations come under the heading of “infringement.”

  3. This is great news! Perfect timing with the 4th of July commemoration. The Supreme Court is rectifying the unconstitutional laws of several states including Massachusetts, particularly Boston, which has even more restrictive laws governing the ability to get a license. No license should be required as it’s a right not a privilege. We should join the other states like NH and ME that are Constitutional Carry states. The authoritarian elitist attitude that only the well connected or rich are afforded 2nd amendment rights has rightly been slapped down.

    1. “Three-in-ten American adults say they currently own a gun, and another 11% say they don’t personally own a gun but live with someone who does…Gun ownership is more common among men than women, and white men are particularly likely to be gun owners. Among those who live in rural areas, 46% say they are gun owners, compared with 28% of those who live in the suburbs and 19% in urban areas.”

      There’s an estimated 393 million guns in this country.

      This isn’t about wealth or connections.

      Source: https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2017/06/22/the-demographics-of-gun-ownership/

    2. Between 15 December 1791 and 26 June 2008, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment granted no individual right to bear arms, but instead addressed the need for organized armed forces such as the National Guard. The decision (District of Columbia v. Heller) clearly violated the principle of stare decisis, as well as obviously and grossly violating the ‘originalist’ judicial philosophy of its author Antonin Scalia (who, whatever his cleverness, proved himself yet again thereby an incompetent historian as well as a political hack). So much for ‘rights’. I would suggest that we should carry histories of the Constitution rather than murder devices about with us, and I sincerely hope that I shall never come within a quarter of a mile of any private citizen carrying such a device.

    3. Mark, I am an active supporter of the 2nd Amendment however, I believe it is absolutely necessary to screen applicants that desire a gun permit, to include complete background checks, especially in this downward spiral of moral integrity that now grips our nation.

    4. Congratulations:

      Highland Park, Illinois is enjoying the 4th in accordance with the will of the 5 right-wing zealots on the Supreme Court by mourning the five people killed there today by someone feeling their freedom to purchase a weapon of war.

      Hope you’re proud of yourself for thinking weapons of war belong in civilian hands.

  4. From https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/gun-deaths-per-capita-by-state

    The following ten states have the highest gun deaths per capita (per 100,000): Alaska (24.4), Mississippi (24.2), Wyoming (22.3), New Mexico (22.3), Alabama (22.2), Louisiana (22.1), Missouri (20.6), South Carolina (19.9), Arkansas (19.3), and Montana (19.3). The states with the highest gun deaths per capita have some of the country’s highest gun ownership rates. Montana has the highest with 66.3%, followed by Wyoming with 66.2%, and Alaska with 64.5%.

    Conversely, the states with the lowest gun deaths per capita are Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, all of which have fewer than five gun deaths per 100,000 people. These states also have the lowest gun ownership in the United States. Massachusetts and New Jersey have the lowest gun ownership rate of 14.7%, followed by Rhode Island with 14.8%, Hawaii with 14.9%, and New York with 19.9%. These five states are the only state to have gun ownership rates below 20%.

    Funny how gun deaths and gun ownership correlate so neatly. Let’s hope we can somehow manage to keep our state’s gun sales low, so fewer of our residents will die from bullets.

    1. Yeah…NYC, DC and Chicago are so much safer than Wyoming and Alaska. Could you be maybe distorting things with statistics?

      1. In 2019, the homicide rate in New York City was 3.39 per hundred thousand. Alaska was 9.4 per hundred thousand.

        Careful how you lump things, Mark.

        1. People in New York who die of gun violence are overwhelmingly killed by black and Hispanic males wielding illegal guns. There’s something you can lump.

    2. Your opinion doesn’t matter. The court very patiently explained this to you. You don’t seem quick to get it but that’s okay.

    3. Gun deaths include suicide—the majority of gun deaths—a fact that’s neatly omitted every time the same talking points are cut and pasted all over the internet, again and again and again. It would be indeed be surprising if suicides in Massachusetts learned how to kill themselves with a gun without actually having one. The plot of gun ownership vs gun murders by state sadly does not prove the point you ardently desire to be true.

      1. Good to know gun deaths by suicide don’t count. I’m sure that is a great comfort to the families.

      2. “Suicide doesn’t count as a gun death” is maybe not the winning argument you think it is.
        Kinda like:
        “Drunk driving is the same as sober driving if you only Jill yourself.”

    4. Lauren, while your research might effectively pull statistics on gun deaths, YOU DO NOT describe the causality of those deaths, ie., self defense or other legitimate causalities. You are using statistics in a biased manner.

  5. I am completely bewildered by the apparent excision (overlooking?) of the words about a well regulated militia in the 2nd Amendment. I thought that July 4th commemorates a decision to free ourselves from mad King George III and the power of people who do not represent most of us, our will, wishes and interests, only theirs, to impose laws on us. The combination of “Stand Your Ground” laws in some states, along with easy access to incredibly lethal weaponry, and expansions of rights to bring guns into or just outside many public spaces, including where alcohol is served, or to venues where very contentious and emotional issues are “debated” is a recipe for disaster and a sign of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and in this case even doubling down on the thing (we need more “good guys” with guns in more places ) and expecting a different result). As several friends, former colleagues and family members in other countries have asked me, “Has the US gone off its rocker?” Having access to the means to kill en masse is a right for everyone but affordable access to health care for the sake of life is a privilege?

    1. Similar to other rights like voting we need to teach people how to handle firearms, etc and start young. This way people will not have this unnatural fear. Here are a few quotes from our founder which illustrates how they felt on this subject:

      “The Constitution shall never be construed… to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” – Samuel Adams
      “…arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside… Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them….” – Thomas Paine
      “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…”- Richard Henry Lee
      “The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster
      “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.” – George Washington
      “What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson
      “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson
      “I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.” – George Mason
      “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …” – Richard Henry Lee
      “The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.”- Zachariah Johnson

      1. After disarming its populace, Australia put them in internment camps. It was stunning to hear interviews with detainees who were told outright that they were being detained because they didn’t seem cooperative enough, regardless of their health status.

        1. Very true. All tyrants disarm their populations…(Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Mao, Chavez. And no Canada and Australia can be added to this infamous list.

        2. Quite right. For example, firearms did an excellent job of preventing Japanese American internment in the United States.

    2. Perhaps you’d be less confused if you informed yourself what well regulated means. Hint. It has nothing to do with “regulations.” Or do you imagine there was a large government bureaucracy in 1792?

      1. There was indeed a large government bureaucracy in 1792 – if you compare it to 1786.

      2. Are Proud Boys, The Base, & etc. well-regulated militias? What is your definition of “well regulated”?

        The founding fathers might have couched things differently had semi-automatic weapons existed back then. In those days firearms were one-shot weapons and most people lived in rural communities. Big difference with our situation today.

        I am not proud that the USA has the highest gun tolls and incarceration rates in the world. Something is wrong with us. I cannot believe that our levels of gun violence are “the price of freedom.”

    3. Hi Martyn, in so far as health care is concerned, I EARNED my and my family’s health care at Government expense by devoting 20 years, 1 month and 17 days in the U. S. Marine Corps, subjecting myself to being transferred ANYWHERE, ANYTIME in local and overseas duty, including intense combat areas. Repeat: I EARNED IT. It was not a God given right, nor a Government right to dispense it freely; it was a contractual agreement, period. If Government sponsored health care is desired, those that desire it MUST EARN IT.

  6. Massachusetts should require insurance of anyone with a gun license. Please write model legislation that other states can adopt for insurance requirements. All car owners must carry insurance for liability and damages; it’s entirely reasonable to require the same from gun owners.

  7. This is a safety rather than a class issue. Perhaps both extremes are authoritarian and self-righteous, though I don’t see any of that in this conversation. Many people feel unsafe with a proliferation of guns (me included). My understanding is that the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment refers to gun ownership in the hands of well organized militias, rather than the standing armies after the Revolution. What is a well organized militia? Are a group of hobbyists or hunters a militia?

    1. Agree on safety. Everyone should be educated on how to handle a firearm and do some practice shooting to get familiar with proper handling. This would go a long way to demystifying and taking away the phobia many have. I particularly feel it’s empowering for women to have firearms as it equals out the disadvantage they have physically with a male attacker.

        1. Naomi Wolf is not “a liberal.” She appeared to espouse feminist perspectives at one time but is now an anti-vax nutter.

      1. The problem is I don’t want to live in a world where I have to worry whether my neighbor or someone on the street is armed. I’ve watched unhinged behavior and seen how easily it could escalate. Better to keep up our consideration for others and stay out of each others’ way.

        1. The old truism “an armed society is a polite society” is really true. Right now the criminals have the advantage as they know the average citizen in a city like Boston or Mass in general will be unarmed. Personally, I would sleep better at night knowing may neighbors were armed…I would prefer even more for the criminals to understand that.

          1. The Buffalo shooter specifically chose to stay in New York because its tight gun laws meant no one would shoot back. He said so, in his own words. In Texas the shooter was killed by armed parents, while law enforcement stood by. No better argument against gun control, but when you have a tribe clinging to its myths of superiority you don’t need any facts.

            1. Where did you hear that fact about the TX shooter being shot by armed parents?

      2. Hi Mark, I agree with your comment about safety, although it takes more than “some practice shooting.” I would like to see a requirement that gun permit holders prove that they fire their firearms at least once a year in a controlled setting. I do not believe that this would be an infringement.

        1. Would agree with this approach providing the process does not get abused as a back door way to prohibit firearm ownership. This is also my concern with red flag laws. We have already seen the creative suggestions on this blog on ways to thwart lawful gun ownership through indirect approaches.

  8. At the end of the day, “discretion” is the problem with Massachusetts gun law. I’m pro gun ownership, but also pro commons sense. I support background checks. I support limiting the number of rounds per magazine. I support mandatory yearly training. I’m even fine with generally making it more difficult to attain a gun license.
    But when you add an element of “discretion “ it makes that law open for legal contest and simply unfair at times.
    If you’re going to have a state law, every single town in the state has to have an identical law that is followed. “Discretion” needs to be removed from the language of the law.

    Alternatively you need to remove the application process away from local police chiefs and put it in the hands of the state police or sheriffs department.

  9. Senator, thank you for this post. It helps to understand our state laws. Do you suppose there will be efforts to restrict the places where guns will be allowed now that the number of persons allowed to carry will increase? Also, I’m curious about law enforcement’s view of this decision. I imagine they’re concerned. Seems like the expansion of gun carriers will make their jobs more difficult.

  10. My understanding is that guns can be prohibited from “sensitive” places, like schools, parks, libraries, museums, hospitals, post offices, airports, etc. Is it possible to define as “sensitive” any heavily frequented public place where no rational person would ever need to use lethal force? And might such places be deemed “sensitive” only at certain hours, say 6am to midnight?

    What makes people who don’t carry nervous is knowing that people who bring loaded firearms to public places do so mentally prepared to kill people. We need to be careful where and when we allow people with that mindset to carry a gun — perhaps in a high crime area at night, but not in most of Belmont during the day.

      1. “One week after the Supreme Court struck down a law limiting the spread of concealed handguns in New York, state Democratic leaders on Friday were expected to respond with new measures that would prohibit people from carrying firearms in many public settings deemed “sensitive places.”

        “The ban would apply to places like colleges, hospitals, subways, parks, stadiums and even Times Square — a last-minute addition in the late-night negotiations. It would also extend to any private property, such as a bar, restaurant or home, unless the property owner expressly allows guns, which they can do by placing a sign on their premises.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/30/nyregion/handgun-concealed-carry-ny.html

        1. Their opinion doesn’t matter either. The court also explained this. Try reading law instead of watching msnbc.

          1. The Supreme Court concurring opinions specifically stated that the ruling does not restrict prohibiting firearms in sensitive places.

    1. Hi David, “heavily frequented public spaces” seems to be where mass shootings take place. You omitted churches, a prime target where individuals would normally be unarmed and easy victims. I don’t know that I would be mentally prepared to kill, but most certainly would be mentally prepared to defend my family and myself, and any other innocent bystander no matter what it took.

  11. At least the SCOTUS got this one right. This decision was a long time coming and is expected that it will lead to the courts reexamining other gun control legislation in the MGL’s with a view towards a “historical context”. As a starting point, hopefully it will lead to nullifying AG Healeys bogus interpretation of the MA AWB regarding post-ban semiautomatic rifles.

  12. I previously left a comment to “join the conversation” but noticed it was not approved. Can I ask why?

  13. Thanks Will for the summary. As someone who grew up in a gun household and hunted from the age of seven, I was always reminded by my dad of the grave responsibility of carrying a gun (even when hunting in the woods). Yes, there is a right, but with that comes a serious responsibility, not to be taken lightly. I fear that guns, and the concealed carrying of guns has become somewhat of a fetish, or perhaps a political statement, and the grave responsibility is being left behind. Perhaps it’s time to reinstate the militia. Anyone who wants to carry in public (not counting hunting or target shooting) must join the militia and train once a month. A key part of the training will be how to avoid situations where you need to pull the gun, or deescalate situations. I had a scary situation a few years ago at a park where a large young man charged my young son and I for no apparent reason, and I could not read his intent. Had I been carrying, there is a chance the young man would be dead. The young man stopped before he got to us – but still very close. Turns out he was autistic and was chasing the ball that got away from my son and I. Glad I wasn’t carrying that day.

    1. Hi Dave, I like your idea of creating a state militia; it would take: financing; establishment of a leadership chain; regulations; areas in which to conduct drills; attendance requirements per every___________________________(fill in the blank); a firing range, and any number of other requirements, including BACKGROUND checks and established CORI requirements.

  14. The guidance provided would be more useful if the right to “carry a firearm” were defined. Does it mean locked in a secure container in the trunk of your car, or just stuck in your belt? Today, licensed gun owners in Massachusetts can carry a firearm (for example, heading to a shooting range) but subject to certain carry regs. Have those regs all been rescinded by the Supreme Court decision?

  15. Hi All: Guns in general, seem to elicit emotional concerns both for, and against. Watertown High School formerly had a gun club; imagine that. Will mentioned that local police chiefs (and their departments) have the responsibility to ensure that applicants for gun permits are emotionally and otherwise qualified for approval. Many communities in Massachusetts have absolutely easy restrictions for concealed carry, others, very stringent. Watertown has been among the most stringent. I served in the U. S. Marine Corps for 20 years, 1 month and 17 days; I was involved in combat operations in Vietnam for 13 very active months. I was entrusted with a multitude of serious small arms, including machine guns from the age of 17 to 37; it would have been easy to take that machine gun with significant quantities of ammunition from the base; no one in their right mind would do that back in the day. However, today’s world is quite different; there seems to be a definite decline in individual moral compass, and you all have to ask yourself why. I raised 4 children in Watertown; 3 boys, all earned the prestigious Eagle Scout Award; were active in church and Demolay; my daughter was active in church and The International Order of Rainbow Girls. In Watertown, I remember walking down neighborhood streets (1949-50)with a .22 caliber rifle on the way to the dump adjacent to Arlington Street to shoot rats. I have a Class A Large Capacity License to Carry Firearms, restricted to; TARGET~HUNTING~SPORTING (hiking in appropriate areas). However, I do not have a Concealed Carry Permit although I am a certified Expert Marksman. My daughter lives in Berkley, MA and has a Permit to Carry and has very limited experience but is a qualified shooter. I welcome the ability to now have a Concealed Carry Permit. With that comes absolute responsibility and concerns to my community, my family and my financial affairs. This is not the wild west; but there are times when it just might be required to have a permitted firearm, as when the Marathon Bombers were running wild through Watertown not far from where my home is located. Now for some explanation of firearms: a revolver has a spinning chamber that contains bullets and rotates each time the trigger is pulled; a pistol has a “magazine” (a metal rectangular box-like affair) that holds the bullets and when the trigger is pulled a empty shell casing is ejected and another bullet is inserted into the firing chamber ~ these are semi-automatic meaning the trigger has to be pulled each time in order to fire the bullet, as opposed to automatic weapons where the trigger is pulled and the weapon continues to fire until all of the rounds are expended or the trigger is released~ automatic weapons are a reserved category and can only be purchased or owned under very restricted circumstances; rifles and shotguns operate utilizing the semi-automatic function (a rifle can bolt action, requiring hand manipulation of the bolt handle to eject and reload a round into the firing chamber). There ARE NO assault rifles in civilian possession as these are fully automatic in function. Massachusetts restricts magazine capacity to 10 rounds (bullets), unless grandfathered to prior purchases up to the time the 10 round limitation was enacted. I personally whole heartedly agree with that 10 round restriction, but as in combat, my men taped two 20 round magazines together to provide 40 rounds immediately accessable, meaning that 10 round restriction can easily be circumvented. I like the provisions of the ‘Red Flag’ legislation that provides for the immediate removal of firearms from someone that is deemed a imminent danger to the community. My last thought herein is SAFETY. SAFETY. SAFETY. Many people are killed with EMPTY firearms. I personally am not satisfied with the level of proficiency required of individuals seeking gun permits; I am astonished at the lack of familiarity of many that I have observed while was attending a Firearms Safety Certification course.

  16. One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about this forum is the calm and respectful way we can passionately present opposing viewpoints without resorting to mocking, sarcasm, name calling, etc. Let’s work to keep it that way. I want to consider opposing viewpoints and feel comfortable presenting my own for your consideration.
    Happy 4th!

    1. Hi Barbara, your comment is well received and appreciated.
      Thank you for your meaningful perspectrive.

  17. At least the SCOTUS got this one right. This decision was a long time coming and is expected that it will lead to the courts reexamining other gun control legislation in the MGL’s with a view towards a “historical context”. As a starting point, hopefully it will lead to nullifying AG Healeys bogus interpretation of the MA AWB regarding post-ban semiautomatic rifles.

    Second time posting this because for some reason my original post isn’t showing up.

  18. Will, I 100% agree. With great power, comes great responsibility. Owning a firearm entails that you have to maintain it in good condition, know how to operate it with proficiency, and keep it safe when not in use. Most of American society are responsible gun owners. The issue lies in the decay of our moral culture and civil society. With the rise of social media and the increase in partisan divide from mainstream media and major news outlets, Americans have become more emotionally reactive and impulsive in regards to major societal issues facing our country. We have an increasing mental health crisis, substance abuse crisis, and an obesity epidemic. I wish these issues were more of a priority and something to focus on. We, as a society need to all calm down, regroup, refocus, and start prioritizing the critical issues facing our nation. A major hurdle is the progressive left that seems adamant and defiant solely in their beliefs and see everyone else as an enemy. That is dangerous thinking when there is no room for gray in your worldview. Anyways, our country is quite divided and is decreasing in morality and civility. If this pattern continues, the US is bound to collapse. Guns are not the issue, our decaying civil society and declination of mental health are the real issue at heart.

  19. The permit law makes a person unsuitable if they have had a 209A order of protection issued against them. Presumably the law was passed before the legislature enacted 285E. A 209A order of protection was enacted to address intimate partner violence. Years later, presumably after the gun permit law was enacted, the legislature decided that orders of protection could be needed in situations other than a domestic relations situation and enacted 285E. This law is particularly suited to help prevent the escalation of workplace violence. It is an oversight not to also consider a person unsuitable if they have had an order of protection issued under 285E. Will, I hope you and your colleagues will consider amending the permit law to include as an unsuitable person an individual against whom a 285E order of protection has been issued.

  20. Will, I join the others in thanking you for providing this forum to discuss this latest Supreme Court decision pertaining to firearms. Firearms will be with us until the Constitution is overthrown, and in the interim we need clarification and certainty that safety is paramount in deciding those whom are fit to receive gun permits. Any incident of convicted criminal, mental, emotional or physical hindrance must be considered grounds for denial of a gun permit.

  21. My understanding is that Massachusetts has room to expand the number of sensitive places in which the carrying of a firearm is prohibited. Places that could be added to the list include banks, bars, restaurants, polling locations, day care centers, religious facilities, community centers and any number of other places where it is currently acceptable to carry a firearm. This should be on the legislative agenda to help improve gun safety.

    1. Parades, schools, malls, places of worship, outdoor concerts, parks, places of work, public streets, movie theaters… any category of place that there has been a mass shooting… pretty much everywhere.

  22. Are we sure that the 2nd Amendment hasn’t in fact been standing moot since the Regular Army succeeded the Constitutional Army as the reason for being of the 2nd amendment was to prevent the creation of a standing army?

  23. Can we amend the law to include: Applicant must have 3 references.
    Applicant must include their social media accounts (Facebook, etc).

  24. Maybe, the problem is not the 2nd amendment, but rather the drivers of alienation, despair and injustice.

    For instance: we should give VA benefits to the unwitting participants of the wars in Central America, esp. Iran-Contra as U. S. cities were introduced to and flooded with crack to pay the ransom and get our hostages out of Iran.

  25. I suppose it would be mean to subject candidates for Federal Judgeships to
    read the Constitution – just the Second Amendment. And say what they think
    “well regulated militia” means. Otherwise, it seems hopeless, so I am glad that
    Will is continuing to be thoughtful, transparent and modestly courageous.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.