The Hightower case in Massachusetts, involving a former police officer who had her license to carry (also a license to possess in Massachusetts) revoked and her gun confiscated, has been lost in District Court in Massachusetts. The District court in this case argues that the Second Amendment is not implicated:
First, the Massachusetts licensing statutory scheme does not strike at the heart of the Second Amendment: while the difference between a restricted Class A license (which Hightower has not applied for) and an unrestricted Class A license (which Hightower has had revoked) may have some marginal impact on Hightowerâ€™s ability to use a gun to defend herself outside her home, it has no impact on her ability to defend hearth and home or to defend herself at home, which she can do adequately with a restricted Class A license or Class B license. Further, because the statutory scheme at issue here imposes only case-by-case restrictions, it creates a narrower restraint than the categorical prohibitions that, under certain circumstances, survive Second Amendment review.
You can read the whole opinion here. I’m not a lawyer, nor a serious scholar, but I find this opinion to be nearly incoherent. The Court essentially says the case is not ripe, because she could have re-applied for a permit. But that doesn’t address the deprivation of the right in the first place that occurred when the state seized the woman’s firearms. The district judge in this case seems to support the notion, without any analysis or justification, that it does not run afoul of the Constitution to have local authorities declare who is “suitable” and who is “unsuitable” for exercising their constitutional rights.
But the Court would find that the government has a legitimate interest in protecting public safety, especially in light of the prevalence of gun violence in Massachusetts and especially in Boston, would find further that this interest extends to an interest in removing, at least temporarily, guns from the hands of individuals initially deemed unsuitable for gun possession, and would find further still that these interests bear a meaningful relationship to the enforcement mechanism requiring local licensing authorities like the BPD Commissioner to determine whether an individual applicant appears unsuitable based on theÂ content of her application materials, subject to judicial review.
If this is the standard, then there is no right. It’s a privilege can be granted or revoked at the whim of the state. It’s worth noting that the judge in this case was appointed by President Obama. If you want to know why we have to get this guy out in 2012, this it. This judge has essentially ruled that the Second Amendment, as applied to the states through the 14th Amendment is without substantive meaning.