Per Supreme Court, Haverhill Police Remove ‘Good Reason’ Rule from ‘License to Carry’ Gun Rule

Haverhill's Bailey Boulevard police station. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill Police Department has revised its “license to carry” firearm rules to remove the “good reason” provision following the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the requirement.

The Massachusetts requirement was specifically referenced when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen late last month.  Responding to a query from WHAV News, Haverhill Deputy Police Chief Stephen J. Doherty Jr. said the department is following recommendations from the state’s Firearms Records Bureau. Doherty referred to guidance issued by Haverhill Police Chief Robert P. Pistone.

“Based on this decision, any restrictions appearing on any license holder’s License to Carry—limiting the license holder to carrying a firearm only for such activities as hunting, target shooting, employment or the like—are no longer enforceable.”

Other cities such as Boston and Springfield have also begun revising their rules.

The court decision does not affect most of Massachusetts’ other strict gun laws and these remain in force. The state attorney general’s office and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security issued a joint statement to police chiefs earlier this month. It said, in part, “We are proud to continue to partner with you in implementing and vigorously enforcing Massachusetts’s gun safety laws. These laws help keep our state a safe place to live, raise families, work and visit.”

The joint guidance notes “It remains unlawful to carry a firearm in Massachusetts without a license,” “licensing authorities should continue to enforce the ‘prohibited person’ and ‘suitability’ provisions of the license-to-carry statute,” “licensing authorities may continue to inquire about the reasons why the applicant wants a license, but may only use that information to assess the prohibited person and suitability requirements of the statute” and firearm identification cards remain required.

Haverhill will issue new licenses omitting the “good reason” provision on request. Otherwise, the change will be reflected upon license to carry renewals provided applicants are not a “prohibited person” or “unsuitable” under the law.

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