Since the NYSRPA v. Bruen decision came down, there’s been a flurry of things to report on concerning the Second Amendment. So much so, a good drinking game would be any time an article about “gun stuff” is read, and you get to the word “Bruen”, you have to drink. I’ve covered to a large extent the shenanigans going on up in Massachusetts, and they haven’t seemed to quit yet. Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL) has been putting the pins to the state concerning how issuing authorities are to go forward with their permitting schemes. Letters and directives have been flying back and forth. I just got word that James “Big Jim” Wallace, the Executive Director of GOAL, got a direct reply from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Are they thumbing their nose at them? They are thumbing their nose, but they are not thumbing it at them. Right…
Last week, the Secretary of Public Safety and Security sent us the below letter in response to our demand that the Commonwealth’s Executive Agencies follow the precedent established by the Bruen decision. As you can see, the Agency has dug in their heels and maintains that their interpretation is consistent with the decision. We still disagree with their interpretation and assert that a subjective “suitability” standard should no longer be considered in the licensing process as it is unconstitutional under Bruen.
GOAL believes the government of the Commonwealth has an obligation to protect the civil rights of all citizens – regardless of political favor or disfavor. It is clear that the Massachusetts government has no intention of either following the text or spirit of this ruling. With this unacceptable response, it is likely that we will see Massachusetts respond as some of the other outlier states have and move to pass legislation that will create even more restrictions on our civil rights.
The letter sent to GOAL and Wallace basically says they don’t believe that how they intend on continuing on would run afoul of the Constitution. The letter, which you can read in full below, seems to flaunt the fact they’re walking the fine line between subjective and objective requirements. The NYSRPA v. Bruen decision was supposed to remove all subjective requirements, but the Bay State says otherwise.
Dear Director Wallace:
Thank you for your July 5, 2022, letter expressing your concerns with the Joint Advisory Regarding the Massachusetts Firearm Licensing System After the Supreme Court Decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, issued by the Office of the Attorney General and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). We have reviewed your concerns about our analysis of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision and its impact on Massachusetts’s firearms licensing. We stand by our interpretation of the ruling and the guidance provided in the Joint Advisory.
The Joint Advisory informs licensing authorities and law enforcement officials that they should no longer deny or impose restrictions on a license to carry because the applicant lacks a sufficiently good reason to carry a firearm. In compliance with Bruen, the Firearms Records Bureau will no longer print licenses with restrictions. The Joint Advisory also makes clear, that consistent with Bruen, it remains unlawful to carry a firearm in Massachusetts without a license and that licensing authorities can and should continue to enforce the suitability and prohibited persons elements of the statute.
As noted in the Joint Advisory, Massachusetts’s strong gun safety laws have consistently led us to have among the country’s lowest rates of gun violence and gun-related deaths. EOPSS will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that Massachusetts remains a leader in keeping our residents safe.
There you have it, they said they’re right and that’s that.
Something that needs to be considered, and I see jurisdictions in the state getting into a big quagmire over this, is that in Massachusetts, the way an individual has to go about to buy a handgun is to have a license to carry. If the state is conceding that they’re not issuing any restricted licenses anymore, and if they’re going to use suitability as a way to stonewall applicants, they’re going to be stopping people from being able to purchase handguns.
The barring of handgun procurement would not hold up to Constitutional muster. There’s a long history around the MA license to carry, classifications thereof, firearms identification cards, and the rest. The permitting all got sorted out a few years ago to make things easier. My suspicion is that the executive branch will have to coerce the legislature to pass new laws, reverting back to a confusing system, if they want Boston and the few other hold out jurisdictions to be able to continue to usurp people’s rights.
We’re going to have to wait and see how many injury claims add up as these jurisdictions either grant or deny licenses.
I reached out to Wallace about this bird he got in the mail from the state and he had the following sentiments to share:
What is abundantly clear is all corners and crevasses of the Commonwealth’s government are joining forces to stymie the restoration of our civil rights as clearly outlined in Bruen. In the fight for civil rights by many groups throughout US history, these efforts have always had two distinct battle fronts: The first is to win a major court battle to have civil rights recognized. The second, and perhaps more difficult, is to overcome the social bigotry. Not just from individuals, but from our own state and local governments who simply refuse to acknowledge what has transpired. There is no doubt from the Commonwealth’s response that the latter fight will be intentionally dragged out as long as possible!
Big Jim is right on his assertions. It’s become obvious that RINO Charlie Baker is allowing the Attorney General to ignore the ruling. I’d like to say that we all knew this kind of stuff would happen, but maybe I’m so quixotic and altruistic that I thought it’d only take a wack or two on the nose with a rolled up paper to get the disobedient dogs in line. Clearly some dogs need remedial training before they do what they’re supposed to do. New York and Massachusetts, clearly pound bound if they refuse to heel.
As Gun Owners’ Action League continues to work behind the scenes and play correspondence wars with the state, we’ll monitor the situation. GOAL has been working to see legislation passed to sort this all out, as well as their normal below the radar efforts. The state is painting themselves into a corner and GOAL and the other organizations see that. The real question is, does the state realize that in the end they’re really just thumbing their nose at themselves?