Mass. gun laws under review following New York court ruling
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Gun laws are under review here in Massachusetts. This comes after a Supreme Court ruling nearly two weeks ago trickled down into other states and changed how gun licenses are permitted.
The Attorney General’s office just released new guidance for local law enforcement officials when considering a license to carry application. The biggest change was that people applying no longer have to provide a good reason for why they want a gun.
On June 23, the Supreme Court announced their decision in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol v. Bruen. This ruling struck down a New York gun control law which required people to have a good reason to want to carry a firearm.
“I think it was a terrible decision and it is going to have impacts in Massachusetts because we have a similar type of law,” Senator Eric Lesser told us.
In their decision, the Supreme Court cited Massachusetts’ strict gun laws, and now, some of those laws are changing.
Attorney General Maura Healey released an advisory to licensing officials. Her advisory reads, quote:
“Licensing authorities should cease enforcement of the ‘good reason’ provision of the
license-to-carry statute in response to Bruen. Authorities should no longer deny, or
impose restrictions on, a license to carry because the applicant lacks a sufficiently good
reason to carry a firearm. An applicant who is neither a ‘prohibited person’ or
‘unsuitable’ must be issued an unrestricted license to carry.”
However, one local law enforcement official told Western Mass News the reason someone wants to have a license to carry is not weighed all that much in their decision.
“It’s on the application.,” said Ludlow Police Lieutenant Michael Brennan. “The state application asks what the reason is. I think it’s still on there, but it’s not something that we generally factor into our determination of whether or not you’re going to get a license or not.”
Instead, they look at the person’s suitability to own a weapon.
Store manager of Guns Inc. in West Springfield, Zachary Chretien, told us that this change in legislation might encourage more people to go apply for a license.
“I think that the good reason clause kind of prevented people, just because they didn’t know if they had enough proof for reason to carry,” Chretien said. “Now, without that clause being there, it gives them the open availability to apply.”
Some may argue that the removal of this good reason clause could lead to people purchasing guns for the wrong reasons, but Chretien does not believe that will be the case.
“They are going to hide it if they are trying to get a firearm,” he said. “They are going to get it however they want to. They wouldn’t put down a negligent reason on their application to begin with.”
The Attorney General said that licensing agencies can still ask someone why they are wanting to get a license to carry, but they are not permitted to make their decision on the person’s suitability based on that reason.
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