Second Amendment Foundation chalks up more legal victories

BELLEVUE, WA - A Federal District Court Judge in Massachusetts has granted summary judgment in a Second Amendment Foundation case challenging that state's denial of firearms licenses to permanent resident aliens.

U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodcock concluded that "the Massachusetts firearms regulatory regime as applied to the individual plaintiffs, contravenes the Second Amendment."

The case involves two Massachusetts residents, Christopher Fletcher and Eoin Pryal, whose applications for licenses to possess firearms in their homes for immediate self-defense purposes were denied under a state law that does not allow non-citizens to own handguns. SAF was joined in the case by Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc. and the two individual plaintiffs. The case is Fletcher v. Haas.

"This is our fourth court victory this month in our campaign to win back firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time," said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. "It is one more step toward repairing decades of Second Amendment erosion."

In his 41-page ruling, Judge Woodcock wrote, "The Massachusetts firearms regulatory regime, as applied to Fletcher and Pryal, does not pass constitutional muster regardless of whether intermediate scrutiny or strict scrutiny appliesThe possibility that some resident aliens are unsuited to possess a handgun does not justify a wholesale ban."

"With each strategic victory over a specific statute," Gottlieb said, "SAF and its fellow plaintiffs are advancing the line a little more. Since our landmark victory in the McDonald case that incorporated the Second Amendment to the states, we've been carefully picking laws to challenge, chipping away at years of gun control extremism. So far this month, we have posted victories in Maryland, North Carolina, Washington and now, Massachusetts.

"Our battle is hardly finished," Gottlieb concluded. "We've got to roll back generations of onerous gun laws. It's going to be a long march, and these wins are just the first small steps."

Further south along the Atlantic coast, SAF reports that a federal district court judge in North Carolina has struck down that state's emergency power to impose a ban on firearms and ammunition outside the home during a declared emergency, ruling that the provision violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The case, Bateman v. Purdue, was brought by the Second Amendment Foundation, Grass Roots North Carolina FFE and three individual plaintiffs. Defendants in the case were Gov. Beverly Purdue and Reuben F. Young, secretary of the state’s Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, in their official capacities.

In his opinion, Judge Malcolm J. Howard, senior United States district judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, wrote, "...the court finds that the statutes at issue here are subject to strict scrutiny...While the bans imposed pursuant to these statutes may be limited in duration, it cannot be overlooked that the statutes strip peaceable, law abiding citizens of the right to arm themselves in defense of hearth and home, striking at the very core of the Second Amendment."

"When SAF attorney Alan Gura won the Heller case at the Supreme Court," noted SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, "the gun ban crowd said that we were a 'one-trick-pony' and that we would never knock out another gun law. Well, SAF has now knocked out gun laws in Maryland, Illinois and North Carolina.

"We filed this lawsuit on the day we won the McDonald case against Chicago," he added, "extending the Second Amendment to all 50 states. This was part of our strategy of winning firearms freedoms one lawsuit at a time."

Gottlieb pointed to language in Judge Howard's ruling that solidifies the Second Amendment's reach outside the home. The judge noted that the Supreme Court in Heller noted that the right to keep and bear arms "was valued not only for preserving the militia, but 'more important(ly) for self-defense and hunting.'"

"Therefore," Judge Malcolm wrote, "the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms 'is not strictly limited to the home environment but extends in some form to wherever those activities or needs occur."

"Under the laws at issue here, citizens are prohibited from engaging, outside their home, in any activities secured by the Second Amendment," Judge Malcolm wrote. They may not carry defensive weapons outside the home, hunt or engage in firearm related sporting activities. Additionally, although the statutes do not directly regulate the possession of firearms within the home, they effectively prohibit law abiding citizens from purchasing and transporting to their homes firearms and ammunition needed for self-defense. As such, these laws burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment."

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