Criminal Charges Dismissed After Lawful Self-Defense

On a recent summer afternoon my client, a valid LTC holder, and his wife went to a shopping mall in a South Shore community.  When they pulled into the parking lot they observed a large male arguing with a female and noticed that a crowd was gathering near the disturbance.  As my client exited his vehicle, he observed the male shove the female into the passenger seat of a nearby car and jump on top of her.

Concerned that he was witnessing an abduction or perhaps something worse, my client ran quickly towards the parked vehicle.  As he approached, the male assailant aggressively sprung from the driver’s side door and took a fighting stance.  My client jumped back, removed his firearm from his pocket holster in a low ready position and put his left hand up, yelling “Stop, Stop!”  The assailant retreated and my client re-holstered his weapon.  The police arrived a short time later and the male assailant was arrested for domestic assault and battery.  My client was interviewed, his firearm was seized and he was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

In Court, it was essential to prove that my client used no more force than was reasonably necessary to protect himself.  Our evidence showed that my client wisely disengaged and called the police once it became clear that his assailant was no longer a threat.  After a hearing, the Court agreed that my client drew his weapon in lawful self-defense and dismissed the charges.

The use of a firearm in self-defense should always be a last resort.  If you are ever involved in a self-defense situation, please call my office as soon after the incident as possible.

 

 

 

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Medical Marijuana Cards, LTC’s and Firearms Possession

BATFE released a newsletter this summer reinforcing its position on the use of medical marijuana.

In short, BATFE has determined that any person who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes is an unlawful user of controlled substances and prohibited under Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.  BATFE has instructed FFL dealers to 1) inform customers to answer “yes” to question 11(e) on Form 4473 if they disclose that they hold a medicinal marijuana card and 2) withhold the transfer of firearms and ammunition to any person who they have reasonable cause to believe possesses a medical marijuana card.  BATFE’s position on medicinal marijuana was upheld by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Nevada in August of 2016.

The effect of medicinal marijuana cards on Massachusetts firearms licensing remains cloudy.  On one hand, G.L. c. 140, sec 131(e) requires a licensing authority to determine whether the possession of a firearm by an LTC applicant would be a violation of state or federal law.  On the other hand, the medicinal marijuana law states clearly that people who qualify for medicinal marijuana cards shall not be denied any right or privilege under state law.  There have been no published cases to date addressing this issue.  However, if you are denied an LTC or FID due to your possession of a medicinal marijuana card, please contact my office at (617) 383-4652.

The original 2011 ATF opinion can be read here:

https://www.atf.gov/file/60211/download

The June 2016 newsletter can be read here:

https://www.atf.gov/explosives/docs/newsletter/explosives-industry-newsletter-june-2016/download

Wilson v. Lynch, 2016 WL 4537376, ____ F.3d____ (2016) can be read here:

https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2016/08/31/14-15700.pdf