Ever since the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision in June of 2022, we’ve been seeing increasing numbers of lower court cases finding in favor of the Second Amendment. This is partly due to the clear guidance of the high court and also to the fact that President Donald Trump appointed so many justices in the lower courts who refuse to twist the clear letter of the law in favor of ideology. The latest example comes in Massachusetts, where a judge just issued a highly important ruling that all gun owners should know about.
Dean Donnell is a New Hampshire man who ran afoul of Massachusetts’ draconian anti-gun laws. New Hampshire is a constitutional carry state, meaning anyone 18 or older can carry a gun at all times for any reason, concealed or unconcealed, with no permit required. Permits are available for people who want reciprocity with other states. Massachusetts is not one of those states, however.
When Donnell was pulled over and the police found a gun in his car, he was arrested and charged under GL. 269, sec. (10a). Just for transporting his lawful firearm across an invisible line in the ground, Donnell faced a minimum of 18 months in prison under the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing law. Donnell was supposed to first get a temporary license from the commies in Massachusetts in order to not be in violation of the state’s obviously unconstitutional law.
He took the case to trial in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Dean F. Donnell. In an amazing development, Judge Coffey wrote the following in the decision:
“An individual only loses a constitutional right if he commits an offense or is or has been engaged in certain behavior that is covered by 18 USC section 922.”
Yeah. That’s a federal law, not a state one. Judge Coffey continued:
“He doesn’t lose that right simply by traveling into an adjoining state whose statute mandates that residents of that state obtain a license prior to exercising their constitutional right. To hold otherwise would inexplicably treat Second Amendment rights differently than other individually held rights.”
It’s absurd that Americans have tolerated leftist “interpretations” in blue states to the point where residents simply no longer have the right to keep and bear arms. We wouldn’t accept that if it were applied to any other constitutional right.
Imagine if someone with free speech rights in Indiana drove to Illinois only to be arrested for trying to utilize their free speech. No one would stand for that. Or if a Baptist drove from Idaho into Washington State and was told that he has to be a Methodist now. That would be absurd. Yet that is exactly how the Second Amendment has been treated for decades in this country. Your rights don’t disappear just because you cross state lines.
Judge Coffey concluded:
“Therefore, the Court finds that GL. 269, sec. (10a) is unconstitutional as applied to this particularly situated defendant and allows the motion to dismiss on that ground.”
While this doesn’t establish any sort of national precedent, it does open the door for gun rights to sue Massachusetts to try to overturn GL. 269, sec. (10a). After all, what’s the logical argument for forcing Massachusetts citizens to adhere to this law if out-of-state gun owners don’t have to? If more gun restrictions continue to fall to defeat in places like Massachusetts and New York and California—as they already are—we could eventually get to the point where national reciprocity becomes the new law of the land.