The 2nd and 14th Amendments
The Supreme Court recently ruled that New York’s discretionary (so-called “may issue”) firearms license to carry permitting process violates the 2nd and 14th Amendments. This decision will likely impact all discretionary (“may issue”) gun permitting schemes, including our own in Massachusetts. So, if New York’s scheme is unconstitutional, is the gun licensing scheme in Massachusetts unconstitutional as well? Possibly, yes. The gun laws in Massachusetts are more confusing than the tax code. But the bottom line is that the Supreme Court held that a firearms-licensing scheme that involves a discretionary determination of an applicant’s eligibility is an unconstitutional violation of the 2nd and 14th amendments.
This means that the Massachusetts law dealing with a license to carry a firearm is going to need to be reworked because it currently grants a licensing authority (usually a local police department) with discretion to decide whether an otherwise-qualified applicant has “good reason” for the license to carry permit. What does this mean for Massachusetts criminal defendants who are charged with violations of license to carry laws? As litigation will surely ensue, that remains to be seen.