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CopLaw Update

April 4, 2009

 

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Training Is The 13th Juror

 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

District Court Department

Barnstable District Court

No. 0825 CR 2026

Commonwealth vs. Richard R. Bolduc

February 19, 2009

...the defendant's 12 years old son...had been in possession of his father's gun and returned it to his father's bureau drawer...his father was not at home...the gun was a Sig Sauer P226 .40 caliber handgun...the gun had no trigger lock, the slide was forward, there was no round in the chamber and the magazine was not in the gun...the defendant is a member of the Massachusetts State Police...he was charged with a violation of General Laws c. 140 section 131L....the defendant asks the court to find that G.L. c. 140 sec 131L is unconstitutional based on District of Columbia v Heller, 128 S. Ct 2783 ( 2008), in which the United States Supreme court determined that the trigger lock requirement provision contained within a District of Columbia statute violated the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.....that the statute mandated any firearm kept in the home be "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device"...The US Supreme Court held that such a restriction on firearms in the home "makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional"...In Heller, the Court held that the Second Amendment not only protects an individual's right to possess firearms but that right requires the firearms be "available for the 'purpose of immediate self-defense'...The Massachusetts statute mandating lock boxes or similar devices would frustrate an owners ability to immediately access an operable weapon...Legislation requiring an owner to store firearms in a place inaccessible to children or unauthorized persons would satisfy the Supreme Court's holding in Heller and protect the safety of others...based on the Supreme Courts' decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, G.L. c. 140 sec. 131L is unconstitutional.

The Heller case may have a direct impact on Connecticut's Storage of Firearms laws which are excerpted below.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al. v. HELLER

"...the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional."

Sec. 29-37i. (Formerly Sec. 29-37c). Responsibilities re storage of loaded firearms with respect to minors. No person shall store or keep any loaded firearm on any premises under his control if he knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the parent or guardian of the minor unless such person (1) keeps the firearm in a securely locked box or other container or in a location which a reasonable person would believe to be secure or (2) carries the firearm on his person or within such close proximity thereto that he can readily retrieve and use it as if he carried it on his person. For the purposes of this section, "minor" means any person under the age of sixteen years.

 Sec. 53a-217a. Criminally negligent storage of a firearm: Class D felony. (a) A person is guilty of criminally negligent storage of a firearm when he violates the provisions of section 29-37i and a minor obtains the firearm and causes the injury or death of himself or any other person. For the purposes of this section, "minor" means any person under the age of sixteen years.

      (b) The provisions of this section shall not apply if the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry to any premises by any person.

      (c) Criminally negligent storage of a firearm is a class D felony.

 Sec. 52-571g. Strict liability of person who fails to securely store a loaded firearm. Any person whose act or omission constitutes a violation of section 29-37i shall be strictly liable for damages when a minor obtains a firearm, as defined in section 53a-3, and causes the injury or death of such minor or any other person. For the purposes of this section, "minor" means any person under the age of sixteen years.

Editor's Comment: The reader is encouraged to provide this information to their agency's Legal Advisor for clarification and understanding as it relates to their respective Constitutional and Statutory law and further filtered through their respective agency's Policies and Procedures Manual.

No one can kill me without my consent… John 10:11,18

It is more blessed to give than to receive. …Act 20:35

Reginald F. Allard, Jr.

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