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Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court gets something right

This is something I wouldn't expect from Massachusetts: "SJC calls illegal gun possession victimless."

The Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that illegal gun possession is a "passive and victimless crime" and that those charged with having illicit firearms cannot be held without bail as a danger to society.

In a 4-to-1 ruling, the state's highest court rejected the law enforcement strategy of Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter to cut down on gun violence by seeking pretrial detention for every person charged with illegal gun possession in his jurisdiction, which includes New Bedford.
Sutter's "strategy" for fighting violent crime (David Codrea discussed it here) was to lock up violators of any regulatory gun law for months on end, while they awaited their trial. This being MA (tied for third most draconian state in the nation, according to the Brady Bunch), falling on the wrong side of the innumerable regulatory hurdles is quite easy to do, even by people with exactly ZERO violent intent.

Of course, not all the justices got it right.
Five of the court's seven justices heard the case. In a stinging, lone dissent, Justice Judith M. Cowin ridiculed the court's conclusions, saying the ruling ignores the reality that illegal guns are at the heart of crime in the state.

"When a handgun or automatic weapon is involved, the purpose of the firearm is to injure or kill; there is no other reason for that weapon's existence," Cowin wrote. "We have recognized in various contexts that firearms are, by nature and design, dangerous instrumentalities."

The majority, Cowin wrote, "reduced to its minimum, that is simply a reiteration of the tired slogan that 'guns don't kill people, people do.' We know this to be a dangerous oversimplification. The fact is that people kill people with guns, and in a substantial number of cases those guns are unlicensed."
No judicial activism there, obviously.

I would like to be able to praise the court (apart from Cowin) more, but until they take the next, obvious step--acknowledging that a victimless "crime" is no crime at all, and thus overturn these laws, they are not getting the job done. Still, with the 9th Circuit incorporating the Second Amendment, and the MA Supreme Judicial Court ruling that "illegal" possession of a gun harms no one, the courts have been giving me some pleasant surprises of late.