The Second Amendment Foundation is leading a civil action lawsuit in federal district court against Massachusetts challenging a law that denies non-U.S. citizens the right to possess a handgun in their own homes.
Under the current law in Massachusetts, legal permanent residents — who carry what is commonly referred to as a “green card” — are not allowed to hold a firearm identification card or license to carry of any kind. Instead, they must apply for a resident alien permit, which allows a person to possess only a “low capacity” rifle or shotgun.
For Immediate Release: 4/15/2011
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 (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.
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