If you travel abroad to a foreign country you carry your US Passport with you to prove that you are an American citizen. You don't carry your birth certificate nor, if you weren't born in the United States, do you carry your Certificate of Naturalization. Every foreign country around the world recognizes a passport as evidence of citizenship yet the Boston Police Department would not recognize Phuong Ngo's US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship when he applied for a License to Carry. They demanded a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization and only would accept only one of those documents.
Mr. Phuong Ngo came to the United States as a child with his parents. In 2006 his father became a naturalized citizen of the United States. 8 U.S.C. § 1431 provides that a child born outside the United States automatically becomes a citizen if at least one parent is a US citizen by either birth or naturalization; that the child is under age 18; and that the child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence (i.e., not an undocumented or illegal alien). Mr. Ngo thus became a US citizen without having either a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization. Nonetheless, he is a US citizen or the Department of State would not have issued him a passport.
22 U.S.C. § 2705 states that during its period of validity a US Passport shall have the same force and effect as proof of United States citizenship as certificates of naturalization or of citizenship issued by the Attorney General or by a court having naturalization jurisdiction.
Because of the intransigence of the Boston Police Department acting as the BPD Licensing Authority, Mr. Ngo and Commonwealth Second Amendment have filed suit in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Commissioner William Evans. They are seeking to have Boston's requirements for a License to Carry to be declared unconstitutional, as applied and facially, on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds as well as on the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. They are also seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction enjoining the BPD Licensing Authority from refusing to accept Mr. Ngo's US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship.
From Comm2A's press release on the case:
NATICK, MA - On Monday September 22nd, Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) and an individual plaintiff filed suit in federal district court against Boston Police Commissioner William Evans seeking a temporary restraining order against the department's policy of refusing to recognize valid US passports as proof of US Citizenship.Frankly, I don't see that Boston has a leg to stand on but that certainly has NOT stopped anti-gun bureaucrats in the past.
"I think most Americans would find it deeply offensive to learn that the police don't consider a US passport evidence of citizenship," said Comm2A President Brent Carlton. "Sadly this is no surprise from a Police Commissioner who believes no one in Boston 'needs' a rifle or a shotgun. The US Constitution that Commissioner Evans has sworn to uphold has a Bill of Rights, not a bill of needs. This is just one more tool that the Boston Police use to prevent the people of Boston from exercising a fundamental right."
Despite federal law to the contrary, the department refuses to acknowledge that a valid US passport is proof of US citizenship. The Plaintiff attempted to apply for a ‘License to Carry’ on several occasions but was turned away by the Boston Police Department because he did not possess the requisite birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo became a US citizen as a minor child when his father became a citizen. Mr. Ngo does not possess nor is he able to obtain either a US birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo was repeatedly told that his valid US passport would not be accepted.
In refusing to acknowledge a valid US passport as evidence of citizenship, the complaint alleges that the Boston Police have trampled upon Mr. Ngo's rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, as well as violated the Supremacy Clause of Article IV of the US Constitution.
Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Margarita Smirnova and J. Steven Foley.