Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

The U.S.’s republican form of governance is predicated on co-equal branches of government that check and balance each other in order to preserve individual liberty. The system does not work when one branch simply ignores the lawful authority of another branch.

In Massachusetts, all prospective firearm owners are required to obtain a Firearms Owner Identification card or a License to Carry. Both licenses require applicants to submit to significant training requirements and a background check. Moreover, the licenses are may-issue, with local law enforcement retaining significant discretion over who may or may not obtain a license.

In 2004, the state instituted the Firearms Licensing Review Board. The law provides that a person denied a firearms license due to certain misdemeanor convictions punishable by up to two and a half years imprisonment may appeal the denial to the Firearms Licensing Review Board. The Firearms Licensing Review Board is vital to Massachusetts gun owners, as many nonviolent misdemeanors in Massachusetts are punishable by up to two and a half years in prison. For instance, a first conviction for operating under the influence is punishable by up to 30 months imprisonment in the Bay State.

Under federal law, a person is prohibited from possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime punishable by more than two years in prison. Therefore, under federal law, many convicted of minor non-violent offenses in Massachusetts have not only lost their right to obtain a state-issued LTC or FID card, but also their right to possess a firearm anywhere in the country.

Worse, ATF maintains a very stringent definition of when a person’s right to possess a firearm has been restored under federal law following a conviction. It is ATF’s opinion that Massachusetts’s Firearms Licensing Review Board procedure does not comport with their crabbed interpretation of federal law. Citing the ATF interpretation of the law, the executive branch has refused to process the licenses of individuals cleared to possess firearms by the Firearms Licensing Review Board.

Several of the individuals that have been cleared by the Firearms Licensing Review Board have appealed to the state courts over the state’s continued refusal to issue them a firearms license. According to the Boston Globe, in at least seven cases the prospective gun owners have won their appeals and a judge has ordered that they be issued a state firearms license. As explained by Lowell District Judge Ellen M. Caulo, in failing to heed the determination of the Firearms Licensing Review Board, Massachusetts law enforcement had relied on an “incorrect interpretation of the law.”

In a complete breakdown of the U.S. system of government, Massachusetts’s executive branch has defied orders issued by the state’s judicial branch and continued to deny the licenses that the courts have ordered them to issue. According to the Globe report, “Daniel Bennett, Baker’s public safety secretary, told local police chiefs… that the state intends to block certain licenses from being reinstated, even if ordered by a judge.” In what some might view as encouragement to commit contempt of court, the Globe reported that the Baker administration has told local law enforcement officials that if they are ordered by a judge to issue a firearms license to an individual the executive branch has deemed prohibited, the local official should submit the prospective gun owner’s paperwork to the state, where “officials would refuse to process it.” The administration is demanding that local officials disobey a direct court order.

As the Globe reported, Milford District Court Judge Robert B. Calagione, who had ordered the issuance of a firearms license, explained that the state’s position “exceeded the scope of its statutory authority.” Moreover, the judge noted that the administration’s interpretation obstructed the legislature’s intent in establishing the Firearms Licensing Review Board. In ruling for another prospective gun owner, District Court Judge Michael D. Brennan explained that the administration’s position was erroneous and that a local law enforcement official’s “reliance on it was erroneous, arbitrary and capricious.”

The current events in Massachusetts are not only an affront to gun owners, but an affront to all those who value the American system of ordered liberty. It is really quite simple: the legislative branch creates the law, the executive branch executes the law, and the judicial branch interprets the law. The executive branch does not have the authority to simply disregard a court order just because it disagrees with the court’s reasoning.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Massachusetts Firearms License
TRENDING NOW
Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

At the National Retail Federation’s 2018 convention in New York City, Levi Strauss & Co. Brand President James Curleigh told those assembled that the multinational pants manufacturer intends to be the “most relevant lifestyle brand.” Evidently, part ...

Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

On May 21st, the Illinois state House Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 to pass House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966.  While it has not yet been scheduled for further action, the House may take it ...

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

On May 20th, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington rejected a motion by the government defendants to dismiss the lawsuit filed by NRA and the SAF against Washington’s gun control ...

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox reported in March, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a challenge by an NRA state affiliate to a New York City gun control scheme that effectively prohibits lawfully ...

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

Can we finally put the claim that “gun violence” research is underfunded to rest? The Bloomberg Professor of American Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Webster, and his colleagues at the Hopkins ...

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday for signing NRA-backed legislation that protects tenants’ rights by prohibiting “no firearms” clauses in residential leases.   

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens does not believe a law-abiding citizen has a right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment, and he wants to make sure everyone knows it. He made his ...

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Monday, May 20, 2019

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Last week, the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees took up their respective suspense files ahead of the Friday, May 17, fiscal deadline. Some of the more egregious gun bills failed to meet the deadline including ...

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Granted Waiver From Deadlines

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Nevada: Omnibus Anti-Gun Bill Granted Waiver From Deadlines

As previously alerted, yesterday was the deadline for legislation to pass out of the policy committee in the second chamber.  A waiver was granted for Assembly Bill 291, exempting the bill from the deadlines.  This waiver ...

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

Friday, May 17, 2019

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

On May 21st, the Illinois state House of Representatives Rules Committee will hear House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966 and send it to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  HA 1 to SB 1966 would ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.