SCOTUS orders lower court to review Massachusetts law

SCOTUS orders lower court to review Massachusetts law
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The state of Massachusetts isn’t exactly gun-friendly. They never have been and are never going to be. We all know this. Ironic considering Lexington and Concord are there and the British were coming to take guns away, but whatever.

However, that anti-gun hostility doesn’t mean the state can ignore the law. That’s why legal challenges to gun control laws exist.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sent a challenge to one Massachusetts gun law back to the lower courts.

The Supreme Court this week ordered a lower court to reconsider a controversial Massachusetts gun control law, a directive the high court gave in light of recently issued jurisprudence regarding the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Massachusetts law in question was brought by a state resident who was prohibited from purchasing pistols there due to his having been convicted of unlawfully carrying a handgun in 2004. The U.S. District Court of Massachusetts found that the law in question was constitutional under the Second Amendment, which broadly recognizes a right to possess firearms; an appeals court subsequently affirmed that decision.

The Supreme Court, however, this week ordered the ruling vacated, and the case “remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for further consideration” in lights of its decision earlier this year in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen.

Since Bruen said you can’t put undue burdens on one’s ability to lawfully carry a firearm, it seems the Court is directing the lower court to consider that the individual in question should never have had such a conviction in the first place.

Which, of course, is perfectly fair.

See, when you create barriers for people to lawfully carry a firearm, many otherwise law-abiding citizens will simply carry it anyways. As the late, great Robert Heinlein once wrote:

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

So, some people in Massachusetts did.

They were arrested and barred from buying firearms because of that.

Now, it looks like the lower court may well be forced to rule against the state and its onerous gun control regulations. That’s ultimately good news for the people of Massachusetts. There’s no way they should have been punished as severely as the law in question tries to do. Especially since it looks like a felony.

So what will happen?

I’m not an attorney and I’m writing this way too early in the morning for me to ask any, but it would seem that if the law in question is overturned, those felony convictions become vacated. In other words, it’s like they were never arrested, at least for the purpose of buying a gun.

This will be a case we will be following to see just what happens going forward. However, this also looks to be the kind of thing where Bruen will be playing a huge factor in the years to come, which is part of why anti-gunners hate it so much.