Massachusetts AG Gives Guidelines on Carry Permits

Massachusetts Flag Gun iStock-884183940
Massachusetts AG Gives Guidelines on Carry Permits IMG Stock-884183940

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)-– In Massachusetts, the Attorney General’s office has issued guidance as to how agencies in the state may comply with the United States Constitution’s Second Amendment as ruled in the NYSR&PA v. Bruen decision. From the Massachusetts AG Guidance:

The Supreme Court made clear in Bruen that States may, consistent with the Second Amendment, require licenses to carry firearms in public. Bruen, slip op. 4-6 & 6 n.2; id. (Kavanaugh, J., concurring) (“the Court’s decision does not prohibit States from imposing licensing requirements for carrying a handgun for self-defense”).

The AG office issues this further executive summary:

  • It remains unlawful to carry a firearm in Massachusetts without a license. The Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen did not affect, but instead expressly stated that it was constitutional, for states to require a license to carry a firearm in public.
  • Licensing authorities should continue to enforce the “prohibited person” and “suitability” provisions of the license-to-carry statute. These aspects of the statute are unaffected by Bruen.
  • 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.
  • Licensing authorities may continue to inquire about the reasons why the applicant wants a license, but may only use that information to assess the prohibited person and suitability requirements of the statute. They may not use that information to deny or restrict a license for lack of a sufficiently good reason to carry a firearm.

Whether the above requirements, without the “good reason” provision, will meet the standards in Bruen, remain to be seen. From Bruen, footnote 9 p. 30:

That said, because any permitting scheme can be put toward abusive ends, we do not rule out constitutional challenges to shall-issue regimes where, for example, lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.

Unlike New York, which called an emergency session, and passed emergency legislation completely changing its permit law, Massachusetts is keeping its current scheme mostly intact.

The Massachusetts licensing scheme is far less burdensome than the New York law was in practice. In 2021, there were about 470,000 permits in Massachusetts. That is about 7% of the population, or a little less than 10% of adults.

New York State has about 200,000 permits. That is about 1% of the population or about 1.33% of adults. Hawaii is the most extreme, with 1-20 permits, depending on how they are counted. This is, at most, about .0014% of the population.

Illinois, which is a highly regulated  “Shall Issue” state, has a lower percentage of carry permits than does Massachusetts.

Much will depend on how the law is administered. A more pressing problem will be how travelers will be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, California, and Maryland.

Illinois allows people with carry permits from other states to travel through Illinois while armed. There is no such provision in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey or New York.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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DIYinSTL

It should be noted that while permit holders may travel through Illinois while armed, one may not exit the vehicle while carrying. Not sure if it needs to be locked up if you step outside the vehicle, but that would be a good idea.

The Crimson Pirate

Nice of Ill Noise to acknowledge the FOPA which has been federal law since 1986 IIRC. What we need is recognition of other states licenses/permits just as all states honor other states marriage and drivers licenses. The whole non resident permit thing is ridiculous, though both NJ and MD just opened that possibility in the aftermath of Bruen. But if I am driving through these states I don’t have to stop and get a NJ or MD drivers license, and my wife and I don’t have to apply for a marriage license in every state we pass through.

Pvt_Joker

A cursory examination of any gun law in light of text, history and tradition, as Thomas specified, show all of them to be unconstitutional.
It’s just a matter of time, now.

swmft

I betting a travel through requirement is coming it is and has been a right of travelers or states will have to issue your own personal escort

PMinFl

At the gun owners expense.