Richmond v. Peraino

Federal District Court for Massachusetts

Challenge to the lifetime license to carry ban for anyone convicted of minor possession

Filed March 17, 2015

Richmond v. Peraino challenges the lifetime ban on the issuance of a License to Carry to anyone convicted of even minor drug related offenses.

This case is very similar to Wesson v. Fowler in that the plaintiff has a decades-old out of state conviction for simple marijuana possession and unlike individuals with Massachusetts convictions cannot have his record seal and regain his eligibility for a license.  The lawsuit is necessary because Massachusetts has consistently  refused to honor the court's ruling from Wesson v. Fowler with respect to other similarly situated individuals.  This despite having conceded in their response to our Wesson lawsuit that there is no reason to deny a license to these individuals:

In these circumstances, Massachusetts law precludes an argument that plaintiffs pose a risk to public safety if they possess a firearm in the home for self-defense. For that reason, the Commonwealth does not oppose the entry of narrowly drawn declaratory relief in favor of the plaintiffs on their as-applied Second Amendment claim. (Wesson v. Fowler, Commonwealth's Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgement , page 5.)

Massachusetts law imposes a lifetime ban on the issuance of an LTC and therefore a lifetime ban on handgun possession for anyone convicted of any drug related offense.  The current law was passed in 1998 and imposed retrospectively against anyone with an existing conviction or guilty plea.  This broad prohibition persists despite a 2008 law decriminalizing the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and the recent legalization of medicinal marijuana in Massachusetts.  In addition to decriminalization small amounts of marijuana, M.G.L. Chap c. 194 § 32L prohibited the imposition of "any form of penalty, sanction or disqualification on an offender for possessing an ounce or less of marihuana.”

Mr. Richmond was convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana more than forty years ago, paid small fines, and has, by any measure, been an upstanding and responsible citizen ever since. Yet he has been denied the ability to exercise a fundamental right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.  The lawsuit seeks declaratory judgements that the denial of an LTC violates the plaintiffs' Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights and injunctive relief prohibiting the continued enforcement of the state's lifetime ban. 

What is particularly galling about this case is Comm2A has already won an identical case on this point. But yet, the state continues to deny licenses to similarly situated people to Wesson and Woods.

Comm2A and the Mr. Richmond are represented by Lenox, Massachusetts attorney Jeff Scrimo.

Status:

Complaint Filed. 

Updates: