Massachusetts Gun Restrictions Don't Violate 2nd Amendment

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 14, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A federal appeals court upheld gun restrictions in Massachusetts, saying the Second Amendment is strongest inside the home -- not outside.

In Gould v. Morgan, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a trial judge in upholding a firearms licensing statute. The law allowed gun owners to carry firearms in certain activities only.

The First Circuit said the statute had a substantial relationship to the government's interest in promoting public safety and preventing crime. That's also what Boston and Brookline said in defending their local laws.

"A Reason to Fear"

Under Massachusetts state law, people may apply for a license to carry a firearm in public in specific cases. In Boston that is restricted to:

  • Employment
  • Hunting
  • Target practice
  • Sport

Brookline also restricts transport, use in and around a home, and collecting. In either city, applicants must "articulate a reason to fear" injury to self or property that is distinct from the general population.

Over a challenge by gun advocates, the appeals court said the gun laws pass "muster under the Second Amendment." The judges said the right to self-defense is at its "zenith inside the home," but the right is "plainly more circumscribed" outside.

"Not Shocked"

The plaintiffs, members of nonprofit Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc., wanted unrestricted licenses for self-defense. They emphasized the "uneven" nature of regulations in cities and towns.

In a statement on Twitter, the plaintiffs said they were "not shocked" by the court decision.

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