Good fellow moves to Mass., complies with gun laws, winds up sentenced to a year
Meet Clint Cornelius. He decides to move to Northampton, MA. He researches MA gun laws, and notes that a person moving there has sixty days to register guns and comply with its laws (which also restrict ammunition). He transports his three firearms in accord with MA law.
But he didn't realize that MA also has a ban on large capacity magazines, and that is NOT subject to the sixty day window. The firearms are, the ammo is, but magazines are not. So he winds up serving a year in jail for having three, unloaded, pieces of metal. And he only got that by taking a plea -- if convicted of having the pieces of metal, he'd have gotten a mandatory minimum of 2.5 years in prison!
As outrageous as the law itself is, I don't have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Cornelius. If he researched the laws, how did he miss the high-cap ban?
In just five minutes or so of Googling, I found this:
Firearms and feeding devices for firearms are divided into classes. Depending on the class, a firearm identification card (FID or “card”), class A license or class B license is required to possess, purchase, or carry a firearm, ammunition therefor, or firearm feeding device, or “large capacity feeding device.”
One’s home or place of business is not exempt from the FID or class A or B license requirements.
A FID authorizes a person to possess, purchase, or carry only a non large capacity rifle or shotgun and feeding devices and ammunition therefor.
You better believe if I was moving to a state, I would do a lot more than five minutes of Googling.
Posted by: Joshua at September 6, 2011 10:40 AM
There is no requirement in the state of Massachusetts to register any firearms that are brought into the state from someone moving into MA.
Registration only occurs when a firearm is transferred inside the state of Massachusetts - when a firearm changes ownership. If you move in from out of state and maintain ownership of the firearms, no registration is required. The only requirement is that the person moving into MA apply for their MA firearms permit within 60 days.
Posted by: Jay G. at September 6, 2011 10:56 AM
Joshua, if it's really that clear cut, why did the appeals court require 17 months to answer the lower court judges question and consider consulting the US Supreme Court?
If the facts presented in that blog are true and complete, then this is a terrible lack of justice.
Posted by: Jim at September 6, 2011 11:53 AM
There are going to be a lot more victims of these laws before we are through. He plead guilty instead of trying to fight. I don't know what he plead to but there isn't much that one can plead to in MA that doesn't remove your firearms rights under today's laws. I highly doubt the ADA let him plead to something with less than 2 years as it's max penalty.
Posted by: Terraformer at September 6, 2011 12:00 PM
The same, one, singular license that he had 60 days to procure to protect his firearms also would have made legal his magazines.
This is true only if the magazines in questions were manufactured prior to September, 1994. Massachusetts law incorporates the old federal AWB and large-capacity magazine ban, including the grandfathering clause. If they were new magazines, then no license would protect him. It was all stupid when the feds did it originally, so of course Massachusetts has to keep it in force.
Posted by: Ken at September 6, 2011 07:21 PM
It's really pretty simple: Don't move to MA.
Posted by: Griz at September 7, 2011 07:03 AM
"f they were new magazines, then no license would protect him." A license "to sell, rent or lease firearms, rifles, shotguns or machine guns, or to be in business as a gunsmith" issued under Ch 140 Sec 122 would.
Posted by: Jeff at September 7, 2011 12:06 PM
I never set foot in NY, NJ or Mass. I fly to Europe from Detroit or Atlanta. In fact, I never visit (since March 1975) or purchase anything from a business in any of those states.
I live, travel, and shop in Free America.
Posted by: Law Prof at September 7, 2011 06:45 PM
This fellow fell victim to the AW ban that Romney signed, didn't he?
One day even that law will be overturned in Federal court. But until that day comes; keeping a list of the peaceful citizens such as Clint Cornelius who fall victim to such laws, and tying that list around the necks of the politicians who promote such laws, is a worthy endeavor.
Posted by: Brad at September 7, 2011 06:50 PM