What Does The NEW Firearms Ruling by The Supreme Court in Macdonald Mean For Local Licensing?

Before everyone gets hysterical with their belief of the floodgates opening due to the recent deicision by the supreme court in MCDONALD ET AL. v. CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ET AL. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT No. 08–1521 Argued March 2, 2010—Decided June 28, 2010, I would like to point out that Macdonald, in its holding, is simply an application of Heller to the states.

In Macdonald, the city of Chicago tried to get cute with its licensing, by requiring a registration of all firearms but then refusing to register the guns. No doubt there will be some local hysteria produced by both sides to the argument, all in efforts to advance their ultimate goals. I would like to refer those who have issues with the holding or seek to use it as “proof” that municipal of state governments cannot regulate firearms at all to Justice Scalia’s words in the holding of this very case –

“It is important to keep in mind that Heller, while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not “a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” 554 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 54). We made it clear in Heller that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” Id., at ___–___ (slip op., at 54–55). We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents’ doomsday proclamations, incorporation does not imperil every law regulating firearms.”

So essentially, a quick overview of our firearms licensing statutes under Chapter 140 sections 121 to 131 would appear to have a negligible impact by Macdonald. Will there be an increase in challenges by gun owners who are disqaulified for the statutorily enumerated reasons? No doubt. Will they succeed? Its doubtful, especially in light of the SJC’s decision in Runyan. In looking at Justice Scalia’s comments, it seems rather obvious that the plain language of our Firearm regulatory laws is neither an overreach or burden on the rights incorporated by the 2nd Amendment as defined by Heller and now Macdonald. The lesson learned from both Heller and Macdonald, is that a regulating authority may not get greedy. There are some issuing authorities in Massachusetts that have a blanket policy of not issuing LTC’s or FID’s at all. Under these rulings, once the appeal is made to district court, those Chiefs are going to lose unless a statutory disclaimer is present. But for the rest, their practices in issuing shouldn’t change at all.

Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

About Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

Ronald A. Sellon is a licensed Attorney in the state of Massachusetts and U.S. District Court, Massachusetts as well as a Sergeant with a Municipal Police Department and U.S. military Veteran. Additionally, he has taught Criminal Procedure at the Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree and has written a text on Criminal Procedure for police field training officer programs. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, was a 2008 recipient of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (Mass C.O.P.) Presidents award and holds a Bachelors Degree in Law Enforcement, a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, and a Juris Doctor Law Degree. Questions related to content material may be directed to RSellon@PoliceLegalPromotions.com
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4 Responses to What Does The NEW Firearms Ruling by The Supreme Court in Macdonald Mean For Local Licensing?

  1. tmccaul says:

    Time will tell…

  2. tmccaul says:

    Time will tell if any gun control laws will be upheld…

  3. Mike M says:

    McDonald makes the Mass trigger lock requirement null and void. The SCOTUS Heller decision SPECIFICALLY struck down the D.C. trigger lock law and their McDonald decision incorporated their Heller decision to all the states via the 14th.

    Scalia’s majority opinion in Heller: “We must also address the District’s requirement (as applied to respondent’s handgun) that firearms in the home be rendered and kept inoperable at all times. This makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. ”

    There it is, the Mass trigger lock law, as applied to weapons in your own home, is unconstitutional; it never made sense in the first place.

  4. Pingback: Appeals Court Blocks the Chicago Ban on Firing Ranges | Massachusetts Police Legal News

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