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Firearms Records Bureau v. Simkin, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-150-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11295   FIREARMS RECORDS BUREAU  vs.  JAY E. SIMKIN & others.[1]   Suffolk.     April 4, 2013.  ‑  August 8, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, & Lenk, JJ.     Firearms.  Practice, Civil, Action in the nature of certiorari, Judicial review of license to carry firearms.  License.  Statute, Construction.  Administrative Law, Regulations.  Words, “Suitable Person”.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on February 1, 2011.   The case was heard by Bonnie H. MacLeod, J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Penny Dean for Jay E. Simkin. David R. Marks, Assistant Attorney General, for the plaintiff. Karen L. MacNutt & J. Steven Foley, for Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc., amicus curiae, submitted a brief.       CORDY, J.  Jay E. Simkin, a New Hampshire resident, held a temporary nonresident Class A unrestricted license to carry firearms in Massachusetts (license).  Following an incident that occurred on November 6, 2009, the firearms records bureau[2] (bureau) revoked Simkin’s license, deeming him no longer a “suitable person” to possess it.  A judge in the Chelsea District Court ordered that Simkin’s license be reinstated.  The bureau appealed the decision to the Superior Court, where a judge ruled in favor of the bureau and vacated the order of the District Court.  We granted Simkin’s application for direct appellate review to consider whether the “suitable person” requirement set forth in G. L. c. 140, § 131, applies to temporary nonresident licenses issued pursuant to G. L. c. 140, § 131F.  Although we conclude that it does, we also conclude that in the absence of regulations further defining unsuitability, no reasonable ground existed to revoke Simkin’s license.  Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Superior Court.[3]   1.  Background.  We summarize the relevant facts as found by the District Court judge, supplemented where necessary by undisputed facts in the record.  Simkin is a New Hampshire resident and a federally licensed firearms dealer who is engaged in the “buying and selling [of] firearms in the region, from private parties, at gun shows, and at auctions.”  Since 2002, he has held a temporary nonresident Class A unrestricted license to carry firearms in Massachusetts.  In February, 2009, Simkin applied to the bureau for a renewal of his license, stating as his purpose for requesting the renewal that he […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm

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