March 14, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The right to bear arms as defined in the Second Amendment does not apply to the states, so Massachusetts can regulate who can have firearms and how those weapons are to be stored, the state’s high court ruled Wednesday.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court unanimously dismissed two challenges to the state’s gun laws that require citizens to register with police departments before acquiring a firearm, as well as keeping guns stored in a locked container or equipped with a trigger lock.
The court upheld the conviction of Nathaniel DePina, a New Bedford man who is serving a two-year jail sentence for carrying an illegal firearm. His lawyer, Paul Patten of Fall River, challenged the conviction on the grounds that the state’s gun licensing laws were unconstitutional.
Patten said the Supreme Judicial Court missed an opportunity to contribute to the debate surrounding the Second Amendment.
“I think they could have at least given some guidance on the issue,” Patten said. “This leaves all the main questions unanswered.”
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials and gun control advocates praised the ruling.