Mass. Firearms License Revocation Constitutional

Stacey Hightower was a Boston Police officer who had her Class A License to Carry Firearms revoked after her resignation, allegedly due to her inaccurately completing her LTC Application.  She never filed a Petition for Judicial Review or otherwise appealed the revocation through customary channels. Instead, Hightower filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Boston and its police commissioner, wherein she claimed that the licensing process violated her rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. See Hightower v. City of Boston, 822 F. Supp. 2d 38, D.Mass.,2011

The Court ultimately held that certain limits on firearm ownership do not violate the Second Amendment, as long as the government can show a substantial relationship between the firearms restriction and an important governmental interest. Stated more succinctly, the Second Amendment does not allow completely unrestricted and unlimited firearms ownership. It does not trump all gun control laws. Instead, it prohibits unreasonable restrictions which are unconnected with substantial governmental interests. Laws which prohibit certain classes of people, such as convicted felons, from possessing firearms are constitutional.  Likewise, laws which prohibit the possession of certain types of weapons are likely to withstand judicial scrutiny.

However, in the Hightower case, it bears noting that the U.S. District Court for the First District of Massachusetts rightfully recognized that, “[t]he Second Amendment applies to state and local regulation of firearms” and that “the possession of operative firearms for use in defense of the home constitutes the ‘core’ of the Second Amendment.”

The Court concluded that the revocation of Hightower’s LTC on the basis of false answer she supplied in connection with her LTC renewal application was a legitimate basis for revoking the license and such a revocation does not violate the Second Amendment. Obtaining accurate information from those applying for Unrestricted Class A Licenses to Carry Firearms is an important governmental objective and it is, therefore, not unconstitutional to revoke a license which was issued based on false information.

This case illustrates the importance of having a Massachusetts Firearms Lawyer assist you in the preparation of your LTC Application.