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Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | Back issues
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Gun Storage Ban Upheld|in Massachusetts Courts

(CN) - Massachusetts can require gun owners to either lock their firearms or render them inoperable to unauthorized users, the state's high court ruled.

John McGowan was charged with violating the gun storage ban in October 2008. He had an argument with his female roommate over $10. She grabbed his loaded Smith and Wesson .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun and threw it into the neighbors' bushes.

When McGowan left the house to retrieve the gun, his roommate locked him out. He called the police, who ended up arresting him on a charge of violating the gun-storage law.

McGowan challenged the constitutionality of the law, and the motion judge referred the case to the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts then took the case over and upheld the law Tuesday.

"Even though the obligation to secure a firearm in [the law] applies only where the gun owner chooses not to carry a firearm or keep it under his immediate control, the defendant suggests that the brief period of delay needed to unlock a secure storage container or trigger lock suffices to render this requirement in violation of the Second Amendment's right to self-defense in the home," Justice Ralph Gants wrote for the seven-member panel. "We disagree."

"We hold that, because [the law] is consistent with the right to bear arms in self-defense in one's home and designed to prevent those who are not licensed to possess or carry firearms from gaining access to firearms, it falls outside the scope of the Second Amendment," he added.

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