Interesting Second Amendment Case Out Of Massachusetts

If you travel abroad to a foreign country you carry your US Passport with you to prove that you are an American citizen. You don’t carry your birth certificate nor, if you weren’t born in the United States, do you carry your Certificate of Naturalization. Every foreign country around the world recognizes a passport as evidence of citizenship yet the Boston Police Department would not recognize Phuong Ngo’s US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship when he applied for a License to Carry. They demanded a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization and only would accept only one of  those documents.

Mr. Phuong Ngo came to the United States as a child with his parents. In  2006 his father became a naturalized citizen of the United States. 8 U.S.C. § 1431 provides that a child born outside the United States automatically becomes a citizen if at least one parent is a US citizen by either birth or naturalization; that the child is under age 18; and that the child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence (i.e., not an undocumented or illegal alien). Mr. Ngo thus became a US citizen without having either a US birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization. Nonetheless, he is a US citizen or the Department of State would not have issued him a passport.

22 U.S.C. § 2705 states that during its period of validity a US Passport shall have the same force and effect as proof of United States citizenship as certificates of naturalization or of citizenship issued by the Attorney General or by a court having naturalization jurisdiction.

Because of the intransigence of the Boston Police Department acting as the BPD Licensing Authority, Mr. Ngo and Commonwealth Second Amendment have filed suit in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Commissioner William Evans. They are seeking to have Boston’s requirements for a License to Carry to be declared unconstitutional, as applied and facially, on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds as well as on the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. They are also seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction enjoining the BPD Licensing Authority from refusing to accept Mr. Ngo’s US Passport as evidence of his US citizenship.

From Comm2A’s press release on the case:

NATICK, MA – On Monday September 22nd, Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) and an individual plaintiff filed suit in federal district court against Boston Police Commissioner William Evans seeking a temporary restraining order against the department’s policy of refusing to recognize valid US passports as proof of US Citizenship.

“I think most Americans would find it deeply offensive to learn that the police don’t consider a US passport evidence of citizenship,” said Comm2A President Brent Carlton. “Sadly this is no surprise from a Police Commissioner who believes no one in Boston ‘needs’ a rifle or a shotgun. The US Constitution that Commissioner Evans has sworn to uphold has a Bill of Rights, not a bill of needs. This is just one more tool that the Boston Police use to prevent the people of Boston from exercising a fundamental right.”

Despite federal law to the contrary, the department refuses to acknowledge that a valid US passport is proof of US citizenship. The Plaintiff attempted to apply for a ‘License to Carry’ on several occasions but was turned away by the Boston Police Department because he did not possess the requisite birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo became a US citizen as a minor child when his father became a citizen. Mr. Ngo does not possess nor is he able to obtain either a US birth certificate or certificate of naturalization. Mr. Ngo was repeatedly told that his valid US passport would not be accepted.

In refusing to acknowledge a valid US passport as evidence of citizenship, the complaint alleges that the Boston Police have trampled upon Mr. Ngo’s rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, as well as violated the Supremacy Clause of Article IV of the US Constitution.

Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Margarita Smirnova and J. Steven Foley.

Frankly, I don’t see that Boston has a leg to stand on but that certainly has NOT stopped anti-gun bureaucrats in the past.

SAF Sues Massachusetts … Again

The Second Amendment Foundation in conjunction with Commonwealth Second Amendment filed suit today against Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. The suit was filed in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The suit challenges Coakley enforcement of consumer protection laws that prevent the sale of some handguns. The law in question requires a “load indicator” on handguns which is rather vague.

For example, 3rd and 4th generation Glocks are banned but other handguns with a similar extractor-based load indicator are allowed.

From SAF’s release on the lawsuit:


BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation, joined by Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc., two commercial dealers and six private citizens, filed a lawsuit today in federal court in Massachusetts, seeking an injunction against the State Attorney General’s enforcement of state consumer protection regulations that prevent the commercial sale of certain semiautomatic handguns.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, asserts that the regulation requiring a “load indicator” on a semiautomatic handgun is “unconstitutionally vague and ambiguous” because it does not define what this device is, or what it is intended to do.

“We’re asking the court to put a stop to what we believe is arbitrary enforcement of the regulation, because it deems 3rd and 4th generation Glock pistols lack an ‘effective load indicator’ device,” said SAF Founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “How can anyone design something when there is no description, or explanation of exactly what such a device is supposed to do and how it is supposed to do it?”

SAF General Counsel Miko Tempski, coincidentally a Glock factory certified armorer, added, “Our individual plaintiffs want to buy Glock pistols and our retail plaintiffs would be delighted to sell the firearms, but the regulation is being enforced by Attorney General Martha Coakley with no real foundation, because there are no specifics about the device in the regulation. Essentially, it appears the enforcement is pretty much on a whim.

“If the interpretation of the regulation is unclear to the AG’s office and to experts,” Tempski added, “no reasonable person in Massachusetts can know which guns are allowed.”

Adding to the dilemma, according to the lawsuit, is the fact that the 3rd and 4th generation Glock pistols at the center of the dispute have an extractor-based load indicator that reveals at a glance whether there is a cartridge in the chamber. This is virtually identical to extractor-based load indicators on competing pistols from other manufacturers, all of which are legal in Massachusetts.

“We’re hopeful that we can get this resolved rather quickly because the way the regulation is currently being enforced makes absolutely no sense at all,” Gottlieb stated.

The case is Draper et al v. Coakley. The complaint can be found here.

More about the case can be found on the Comm 2A website.

Comm2A Files Suit Over Denial Of License To Carry

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.

Comm2A Goes To Federal Court Against Four Police Chiefs

Commonwealth Second Amendment, the Massachusetts gun rights organization, has filed suit in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts against four Massachusetts police chiefs. They allege that the chiefs have violated the Second Amendment rights by imposing unreasonable and unlawful licensing restrictions on the plaintiffs.

Comm2A filed suit in federal court against four police chiefs in Massachusetts alleging that they violated citizens Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

With support from the National Rifle Association, Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) and six individual plaintiffs filed suit challenging the constitutionality of restrictions placed on the Licenses to Carry issued by police chiefs in the towns of Weymouth, Danvers, Peabody, and Worcester. The suit alleges that the plaintiffs were denied their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms because the defendants imposed unreasonable and unlawful licensing restrictions on the plaintiffs.

“The fact that there are 351 unregulated and arbitrary practices of issuing licenses in Massachusetts is ridiculous,” said Brent Carlton President of Comm2A. “No one would stand for it if it was arbitrarily determined who has the ability to access other rights granted by the Constitution such as free speech.”

In all six cases Chiefs determined that individuals who were otherwise lawfully suitable would be restricted from having a firearm for self defense. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit seek a declaratory ruling that the Massachusetts licensing statute and practices of the defendants that prohibit qualified citizens are unconstitutional because they prohibit qualified citizens such as the plaintiffs from carrying a loaded operable handgun for the purpose of self-defense. The suit also seeks to direct defendants to issue plaintiffs licenses to carry without restrictions that would otherwise prohibit the carrying of firearms for personal protection.

Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) is a grassroots civil rights organization dedicated to promoting a better understanding of rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The case is Davis v. Grimes and the complaint can be found here. The attorneys for the plaintiffs are Patrick M. Groulx of Melrose, Massachusetts and well-known Second Amendment attorney David Jensen of New York.

Commonwealth Second Amendment Sues Massachusetts In Federal Court

Commonwealth Second Amendment or Comm2A has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts challenging the state’s use of bonded warehouses for holding confiscated firearms.

Comm2A Sues over Property Forfeiture

For Immediate Release: 3/28/2012

NATICK, MA – Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc. (Comm2A) has filed suit in federal court in Massachusetts challenging the state’s misuse of bonded warehouses to force the forfeiture of privately owned firearms in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process guarantees.

Comm2A’s lawsuit on behalf of Russell Jarvis, James Jarvis and Robert Crampton is supported in part by a grant from the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David Jensen of New York and Patrick M. Groulx of Somerville, Massachusetts. Defendants are Village Vault, Inc. and Mary E. Heffernan, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Complaint

Massachusetts law allows police departments to turn confiscated firearms over to unregulated bonded warehouses who then charge the firearm owners onerous and prohibitive fees for the storage and ‘administration’ of those firearms. Bonded warehouses are authorized to sell these firearms once accumulated fees are in arrears for 90 days.

Massachusetts has failed to regulate bonded warehouses allowing them to levy fees that quickly exceed the value of the confiscated property and virtually assure that confiscated property is forfeit to the bonded warehouse. In many cases gun owners are not properly notified that their property has been transferred to a bonded warehouse until fees have accumulated to a point where they exceed the value of the seized property making their recovery economically irrational.

Valuable firearms belonging to each of the individual plaintiffs were involuntarily transferred to the bonded warehouse operated by defendant Village Vault. Those firearms were subsequently sold at auction by the defendant. In no instance did the plaintiffs have any meaningful opportunity to challenge the forfeiture of their property in a court or other neutral venue. None of individual plaintiffs have ever been convicted of or charged with any crime or are otherwise disqualified from possessing firearms under state or federal law.


Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) ( is a Massachusetts based non-profit dedicated to preserving and expanding the rights of gun owners in the northeast. Our activities include educational programs designed to promote a better understanding of Massachusetts and Federal firearms laws and rights as well as legal action programs to defend and protect the civil rights of Massachusetts gun owners.