On October 27, 2020, in the midst of the first waves of attacks to freedoms during the pandemic, a lawsuit was launched to put Boston to task on the issuance of firearm related paperwork. In Massachusetts, in order to purchase or even possess a firearm in the home, never mind carrying one, an individual must have a License to Carry. It was reported on November 5th that the city has settled on that filing.
From the original complaint, we can draw out exactly how egregious the situation was by looking at just one of the plaintiff’s situations:
In March of 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently issued orders which forcing “[a]ll businesses and other organizations that do not provide COVID-19 Essential Services [to] close their physical workplaces and facilities (‘brick-and-mortar premises’) to workers, customers, and the public”. Since that time various steps have been taken to reopen businesses and other organizations.
Nothing in the Governor’s COVID orders require or permit a licensing authority to refuse to accept and process firearms license applications.
Mr. Alves contacted the Stoughton Police department on January 20, 2020, to make an appointment to submit his LTC application.
In February of 2020, Mr. Alves submitted his completed application to the Stoughton Police Department and was fingerprinted.
On May 7, 2020, Mr. Alves contacted the Stoughton Police Department to inquire of the status of his LTC application. He was told the process was delayed due to the Coronavirus.
On July 24, 2020, Mr. Alves contacted the FRB to inquire of the status of his LTC application. He was told that the FRB had not received his application from the Stoughton Police Department.
On September 28, 2020, Mr. Alves again contacted the FRB asking if they had received any information about his application. He was told no.
On information and belief, Chief McNamara failed to forward a copy of Mr. Alves’ application and fingerprints to the colonel of the State Police within seven days of the receipt of his completed application.
Chief McNamara did not issue a LTC or deny the application within 40 days of the receipt of Mr. Alves completed application. Chief McNamara has not issued a LTC or denied Mr. Alves application as of the date of the filing of this complaint.
That timeline is beyond unacceptable. Alves started his process in March of 2020 and by the date of filing, October 27, 2020, his paperwork was still not processed. States like Massachusetts and cities like Boston need to reckon that the Second Amendment is not a second class right, and if they’re unable to fulfill the execution of the paperwork they require for mere ownership of firearms, they aught to scrap the process all together. Our constitutional rights shall not have to be at the mercy of bureaucratic or executive action, inaction, orders, dysfunction, and in many cases ineptitude. Boston seems to be a mixture of a little of all and more.
In July of 2021 a settlement agreement was put into force and the agreement was finally settled on the 5th after 120 days.
The City of Boston has settled a federal lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and other plaintiffs over delays in accepting and processing licenses to carry a firearm, and has agreed to pay $10,000 to cover attorneys’ fees and costs.
SAF was joined by Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc., and several individuals. The lawsuit was known as Alves v. McNamara. Plaintiffs are represented by New York attorney David Jensen.
This is a big win for those seeking relief in that jurisdiction and also sends a very important message to the anti-freedom caucus. Gun owners and those that defend liberty will not sit idly by and watch Draconian policy makers strip the rights of the citizens.
“The city had already been very slow processing applications for carry licenses, and when the COVIC-19 pandemic hit, things completely ground to a halt,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb recalled. “With things returning to normal, the city has agreed that all individuals who were on the list of applicants as of July 26 will be contacted so they may submit permit applications. The city also agreed to resume its pre-pandemic practice of accepting applications by Oct. 31, which has happened, and they are paying our legal expenses.
“This is one of the many COVID-related lawsuits to protect gun rights that we won,” he added, “and we had also warned several other jurisdictions around the country of probable legal action for similar shutdowns because of the pandemic.”
Nearly all jurisdictions are now returning to normal operation, Gottlieb said. Updates on all SAF legal actions can be found at saf.org
“Hopefully, this sort of thing will never happen again, anywhere,” he commented. “We’re happy with the settlement of this case. It’s just one more example of how SAF is winning firearms freedom, one lawsuit at a time.”
The COVID-19 pandemic was used as an excuse for all kinds of “concessions” and “things” in society. Unfortunately in areas that were slightly left of center, gross usurpation of civil liberties occurred. It’s interesting that other states and or jurisdictions, while yes hampered by the pandemic, did still manage to uphold their duties to their citizens by providing important services such as the issuance of permits revolving around a constitutional right.
The work that the Second Amendment Foundation and COMM2A has done is worthy of praise. These important civil rights protecting groups have had and continue to have their work cut out for them!