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Supreme Court Vacates Ruling on Massachusetts Handgun Case, Tells Lower Court to Reconsider

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by Friedrich Seiltgen

The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated a Massachusetts ruling on a case involving the lifetime ban on gun ownership for non-violent misdemeanor arrests. In the case of Morin vs Lyver, the Supreme Court vacated a lower court ruling, sent the decision back to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, and very nicely told them to get it right. 

In 2004, Mr. Alfred Morin was a resident of Massachusetts and had a license to carry in the state. Morin traveled from his home state of Massachusetts to the District of Columbia to visit his daughter. When Morin entered the American Museum of Modern History, he saw a sign prohibiting firearms, and approached a guard asking him where he could store his weapon while in the museum. He was promptly arrested by the D.C. Police and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Morin was found guilty, and sentenced to 60 days in prison on each count as well as 90 days of supervised probation, and 20 hours of community service. The sentence was suspended under a plea deal.

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Under Massachusetts law, if you are convicted of a nonviolent misdemeanor that involves a firearm in any fashion, you are allowed to obtain a Permit to Possess a weapon after five years from the conviction. However, you are banned for life from obtaining a state issued Permit to Purchase a weapon. That means the only way you can obtain a firearm is by inheriting one.

What the 1st District Court of Appeals is saying is that the law is not a gun ban because you might be able to inherit a gun. Another issue is the appeals court use of intermediate scrutiny, which is simply an excuse for a judge to take away more of your constitutional rights. The issue of intermediate scrutiny where the court decides to make law based on balancing the interests of the government is unconstitutional, and was already addressed in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen.

The court granted a petition from Morin. The case is being sent back down to the 1st Circuit Court of appeals with a polite admonishment from the Supreme Court to get it right this time.

That’s all for now folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article ideas. And as always – “Let’s Be Careful Out There.”

Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism Counterstrategies, Firearms and Active Shooter Response.

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