Commonwealth Second Amendment filed suit earlier this month in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. They are challenging the lifetime ban by Massachusetts on the issuance of a license to carry for even minor drug offenses. Named as defendants are the towns and police chiefs of Salisbury and Natick.
The individual plaintiffs, Michael Wesson of Salisbury and Thomas Woods of Natick, each had a misdemeanor conviction for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in other states over 30 years ago. They are both well into middle age. Massachusetts law treats simple possession of an amount of marijuana this size a civil offense and not something which can be used to deny someone a LTC.
From Comm2A’s release:
Comm2A, the organization dedicated to preserving rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, has filed suit in federal court against Police Chiefs in Salisbury and Natick for denying plaintiffs the right to possess a firearm for self defense.
Massachusetts law currently imposes a lifetime ban on the issuance of a license to carry to anyone convicted of even minor drug related offenses.
“Practically speaking, what this means is that someone who plead guilty to possession of less than an ounce of marijuana when they were a teenager, paid a fine and served no jail time, isn’t eligible for an LTC, even if they’ve led an exemplary, law-abiding life for the past thirty or forty years. ” said Brent Carlton, President of Comm2A. “This represents an utterly unreasonable denial of a fundamental right and in no way can be justified by the legitimate need to keep firearms out of the hands of irresponsible or dangerous individuals.”
Both plaintiffs have a single misdemeanor conviction for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and have faced no other charges in the past 30-40 years. One plaintiff was convicted in 1982 and fined $10.00. The other plaintiff was convicted in 1973 and fined $300.00. Neither plaintiff was represented by an attorney at the time of their conviction.
Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is currently a civil offense in Massachusetts punishable by a $100 fine and by law cannot be used to deny someone a License to Carry.
Comm2A and the individual plaintiffs are represented by Attorney Jeff Scrimo.
The complaint, Wesson et al v. Town of Salisbury et al, seeks injunctive relief for the plaintiffs and a declaratory judgement stating that both the Massachusetts law and the denial of the plaintiffs’ LTC constitutes a violation of their 2nd and 14th Amendment rights.
The full amended complaint can be found here.