A Bay State gun rights advocate is calling out Attorney General Maura Healey’s firearm licensing guidance in the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision on guns.
Jim Wallace, writing on behalf of the Gun Owners Action League, is urging Gov. Charlie Baker to step in and block the AG’s move.
“We are aware of the joint ‘guidance’ released by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security,” Wallace wrote. “We are officially demanding that the so-called ‘guidance’ be retracted and revised as it does not reflect the decision handed down by the Court!”
Wallace is referring to guidance issued by Healey’s office and the EOPSS on July 1 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.
In that case, the nation’s highest court ruled a New York law restricting firearm licenses to those who could show “proper cause” to carry was unconstitutionally infringing on residents’ 2nd Amendment rights.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court in a 6-3 decision, specifically cited Massachusetts as a state with similar licensing laws.
Healey was swift to respond to the court’s decision, issuing clarifications for licensing authorities — in the Bay State, that’s usually the local police chief — explaining that the state’s “good reason” rule was no longer applicable.
“Following the Bruen decision, licensing authorities can no longer enforce the ‘good reason’ provision of the Massachusetts law, which allowed license restrictions or denials if an applicant lacked a sufficiently good reason to fear injury to person or property,” Healey and Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy’s offices said in a joint release.
However, the state officials also said some restrictions within the law do still apply, specifically the provision that allows chiefs to determine if a person is “suitable for a firearm.”
“Post Bruen, the only hurdle a citizen must overcome to obtain a license is to pass a standard criminal and mental health background check. Those checks must be standard for every citizen under the 14th Amendment (Equal protection) and can only apply to criminal convictions or mental health commitments that make the citizen a “prohibited person,” Wallace wrote.
The Attorney General’s office declined to comment. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Wallace is asking Baker to void all restrictions currently placed on any lawfully licensed gun owner, clarify where firearms may be carried, to explain the attorney general’s guidance that license applicants may still be asked why they need a license, and to void any extra application hurdles instituted by the various police chiefs.
“It is for these, and other clear reasons, that we are demanding the guidance be retracted and revised to meet the clear legal reading and the actual spirit of Bruen,” he wrote.
An attendee at a gun rights rally open carries his gun in a holster that reads “We the People” from the Preamble to the United States Constitution, in this file photo. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)