Friday, April 15, 2011

SAF Sues Massachusetts On Gun Rights For Legal Resident Aliens

The Second Amendment Foundation along with Commonwealth Second Amendment is suing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts because of their refusal to grant legal resident aliens the ability to obtain a Firearms ID Card or a License to Carry.

As was the case in two earlier suits involving legal resident aliens, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is on shakey legal ground denying them permits. Laws that discriminate based on "alienage" are subject to strict scrutiny. I am a bit surprised that the ACLU of Massachusetts didn't see fit to bring this case as they did in Kentucky and South Dakota. Here is a link to the Kentucky case for some background on how courts have dealt with denial of gun rights to legal resident aliens.

BELLEVUE, WA - The Second Amendment Foundation today filed a federal lawsuit challenging a law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that denies legal resident aliens the licenses required to possess a handgun in the home for self-defense, or purchase any kind of firearm.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Joining SAF in this lawsuit are Commonwealth Second Amendment, a Massachusetts grassroots organization, and two British citizens who reside in the commonwealth. They are represented by attorney Joseph M. Hickson III of Springfield. Defendants are Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas, Northboro Police Chief Mark k. Leahy and Jason A. Guida, director of the Firearms Records Bureau in Chelsea.

The lawsuit alleges that Christopher M. Fletcher of Cambridge and Eoin M. Pryal of Northboro - both legal resident aliens - have been specifically denied the ability to obtain a Firearms Identification Card or a License to Carry of any kind. Before moving to Massachusetts, Fletcher lived in California, where he had a Basic Firearms Safety certificate and Handgun Safety certificate, which allowed him to purchase and own firearms including handguns. Pryal, who is married to a citizen of this country, and had a shotgun certificate and international dealer's license while living in the United Kingdom.

"One of the fundamental principles in this country is that people have rights," said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. "Among those rights is the right of self-defense, especially in one's own home. Christopher Fletcher and Eoin Pryal live here legally, they have been firearms owners, they are productive members of the community, yet they are being denied a basic right by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is wrong and our court challenge aims to correct that."

"This lawsuit truly illustrates the contradictory and irrational nature of the Commonwealths' firearms laws," Comm2A President Brent Carlton added. "Governor Deval Patrick's administration has broadly supported the immigrant community and noted our dependence on them for our continued prosperity while Massachusetts law treats those same individuals as inherently dangerous enough to justify their exclusion from certain fundamental rights protected by the Constitution of the United States. This blanket prohibition runs contrary to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and today's challenge is supported overwhelmingly by well-established legal precedent."

The Second Amendment Foundation has posted a copy of the complaint in Fletcher et al v. Haas et al here.


  1. Next thing they will be suing to vote. Rights are for citizens.

  2. @ Federale: Legal residents - as opposed to illegal aliens - have rights and they should be protected. Self-defense is a fundamental human right. I, for one, am happy that the SAF is taking Mass. to task over this.

  3. Hello,

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