Case Information: Massachusetts v. Depina, S.J.C. No. 10558 (Mass., filed Oct. 19, 2009).
At issue: Challenging the constitutionality of a Massachusetts statute that requires identification cards and licenses for firearm use. This case considers challenges to Massachusetts statutes that require persons who possess a firearm to: 1) obtain a firearm identification card to possess certain types of firearms (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 129B, 129C); and 2) obtain a state license in order to carry a handgun in public (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 131). The challenger – convicted of violating these statutes – claimed the laws violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution based on the U.S. Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008). Heller recognized the value of licensing and safety requirements similar to those in Massachusetts, such as the reasonable limits on gun possession imposed by the challenged laws.
Law Center’s Brief: We joined the Brady Center and other law enforcement and gun violence prevention groups on this brief in support of the constitutionality of the Massachusetts statutes. This brief argues that the Massachusetts regulations are reasonable, and such reasonable restrictions are acceptable after the U.S. Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008). On March 10, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states to nullify the statutes under which defendant was convicted, and affirmed the convictions.