The Massachusetts Gun Control Act of 1998 (“GCA”) was touted as a major public safety win for gun control activists who were seeking to limit individual access to firearms. This sweeping reform made Massachusetts one of the most difficult states in the country to exercise 2A rights. The GCA created new provisions which disqualified thousands of individuals with minor misdemeanor offenses from renewing their firearms licenses. The new law affected both law enforcement officers and regular citizens in equal measure. Many police officers found themselves unable to work due to the discovery of old criminal records. In response, law enforcement unions and 2A-friendly groups like the Gun Owner’s Action League lobbied the Legislature to provide relief and, in 2004, the Massachusetts Legislature created the Firearms Licensing Review Board (“FLRB”).
Can the FLRB help you?
The FLRB was empowered by statute to restore individual firearms rights to persons convicted of certain Massachusetts misdemeanor offenses punishable by a maximum possible term of imprisonment of 2 1/2 years. Typical offenses reviewed by the FLRB include:
- Operating under the influence (“OUI”) convictions (both first and second offense)
- Receiving stolen property convictions
- Assault and battery convictions (non-domestic)
- Resisting arrest convictions
- Negligent homicide by motor vehicle (not OUI related)
It is important to note that the FLRB cannot review drug convictions, weapons convictions, domestic-related violent crimes or felonies. The FLRB will also not be able to hear your case if you have more than one disqualifying conviction that did not arise out of the same incident or course of conduct. Finally, the FLRB cannot overturn “suitable person” decisions made by your Chief of Police (those cases need to go to court).
State/Federal law conflict
Approximately 400 people have successfully petitioned the FLRB since 2004 and subsequently obtained their LTCs in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, despite case law to the contrary, the federal government (“ATF”) maintains an unwavering position that the FLRB cannot restore an individual’s right to possess a firearm under federal law . The ATF position is based upon an expansive reading of the Supreme Court’s 2007 Logan decision which was rejected by the Supreme Court of the State of New Hampshire in 2015.
The FLRB has operated for many years despite ATF’s position on the issue. However, on May 23, 2018, the current executive administration, acting in concert with ATF, announced a new interpretation of state and federal law that invalidated all previously issued FLRB restorations and triggered a flurry of LTC revocations and denials.
Attorney Guida began litigating against this new interpretation of law in late-2018 with the support of Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A.org). Attorney Guida secured over 2 dozen successful decisions in District Courts throughout Massachusetts before forcing the executive administration to reverse its policy by virtue of a pair of Superior Court orders in March, 2021.
The FLRB is scheduled to begin meeting again in late-June, 2021 after a two year hiatus. We anticipate that the FLRB will begin working through a backlog of cases and make decisions on scheduling going forward.
Interested in petitioning the FLRB?
Attorney Guida served as the FLRB counsel for several years. He knows how to properly prepare a client for an FLRB hearing and has successfully represented clients from all walks of life, helped restore their firearms rights in Massachusetts and obtain their LTCs.
If you are planning to petition the FLRB, you need Attorney’s Guida’s proven experience by your side. Contact us at (617) 383-4652 or email us at 2A@lawguida.com.