Case information: Massachusetts v. Runyan, S.J.C. No. 10480 (Mass., filed June 29, 2009)
At issue: Challenge to state safe storage law. Massachusetts v. Runyan considered a challenge to Massachusetts’ safe storage law, Massachusetts General Laws ch. 140, § 131L, which requires that a firearm be securely stored when not carried by or under the control of an owner or lawfully-authorized user. Runyan involved an appeal of a lower court ruling citing the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in the dismissal of an indictment against a parent who failed to secure a semiautomatic rifle from his teenage son. Runyan marks the first time an appellate court heard a challenge to a safe storage law following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008). Heller specifically noted that it does not call into question “laws regulating the storage of firearms to prevent accidents,” such as Massachusetts’ law.
Law Center’s Brief: We joined the Brady Center and other law enforcement and gun violence prevention organizations in filing this amicus brief in support of Massachusetts to ensure the Supreme Judicial Court upholds the safe storage statute. The brief argues that the safe storage laws promote safety and do not infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms in their home for self-defense. On March 10, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the safe storage law was not unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, reversing the lower court decision.