DAVID SETH WORMAN; ANTHONY LINDEN; JASON WILLIAM SAWYER; PAUL NELSON CHAMBERLAIN; GUN OWNERS' ACTION LEAGUE, INC.; ON TARGET TRAINING, INC.; OVERWATCH OUTPOST, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
MAURA T. HEALEY, in her official capacity as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; DANIEL BENNETT, in his official capacity as the Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security; KERRY GILPIN, in her official capacity as Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, Defendants, Appellees.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. William G. Young, U.S. District Judge]
Parker Sweeney, with whom James Michael Campbell, Richard
Paul Campbell, Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy PC, .
Sky Woodward, James W. Porter, III, Marc A. Nardone, and
Bradle T Arant Boult Cummings LLP, were on brief, for
Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, Matthew Larosiere, Joseph G.S.
Greenlee, and David B. Kopel on brief for Professors of
Second Amendment Law, Cato Institute, Second Amendment
Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear
Arms, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership,
Millennial Policy Center, and Independence Institute, amici
Peterson, Dan M. Peterson PLLC, C. D. Michel, Sean A. Brady,
Anna M. Barvir, and Michel & Associates, P.C., on brief
for Western States Sheriffs' Association, Law Enforcement
Legal Defense Fund, Law Enforcement Action Network,
International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms
Instructors, CRPA Foundation, International Law Enforcement
Educators and Trainers Association, and Law Enforcement
Alliance of America, amici curiae.
H. Thompson, Peter A. Patterson, John D. Ohlendorf, and
Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, on brief for National Rifle
Association of America, Inc., amicus curiae.
E. Kobick, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Maura
Healey, Attorney General, William W. Porter and Elizabeth
Kaplan, Assistant Attorneys General, and Gary Klein, Special
Assistant Attorney General, were on brief, for appellees.
Jonathan K. Baum, Mark T. Ciani, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP,
J. Adams Skaggs, and Hannah Shearer on brief for Giffords Law
Center to Prevent Gun Violence, amicus curiae.
Goetz, Kimberly A. Mottley, Laura Stafford, and Proskauer
Rose LLP, on brief for Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence,
Notis-McConarty, M. Patrick Moore, Jr., Vanessa A. Arslanian,
and Hemenway & Barnes LLP on brief for Massachusetts
Chiefs of Police Association and Massachusetts Major City
Chiefs of Police Association, amici curiae.
S. Grewal, Attorney General of New Jersey, Andrew J. Bruck,
Executive Assistant Attorney General, Jeremy M. Feigenbaum
and Glenn Moramarco, Assistant Attorneys General, Melissa
Medoway, Deputy Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, Attorney
General of California, George Jepsen, Attorney General of
Connecticut, Matthew P. Denn, Attorney General of Delaware,
Russell A. Suzuki, Attorney General of Hawai'i, Tom
Miller, Attorney General of Iowa, Brian E. Frosh, Attorney
General of Maryland, Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General of
Oregon, Josh Shapiro, Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Peter
F. Kilmartin, Attorney General of Rhode Island, Mark R.
Herring, Attorney General of Virginia, Thomas J. Donovan,
Jr., Attorney General of Vermont, Robert W. Ferguson,
Attorney General of Washington, Karl A. Racine, Attorney
General for the District of Columbia, on brief for states of
New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i,
Iowa, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont,
Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, amici
Tirschwell, William J. Taylor, Jr., Mark Anthony Frassetto,
Deepak Gupta, Jonathan E. Taylor, and Gupta Wessler PLLC, on
brief for Everytown for Gun Safety, amicus curiae.
W. Wallis, Elizabeth A. Ritvo, Tristan G. Axelrod, Brown
Rudnick LLP, Kenneth A. Sweder, and Sweder & Ross LLP, on
brief for Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Greater
Boston Interfaith Organization, Episcopal Diocese of
Massachusetts, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts,
Islamic Society of Boston, Massachusetts Council of Churches,
Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American
Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism, and Men of Reform Judaism,
Clements and Clements & Pineault, LLP, on brief for Stop
Handgun Violence, MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and
Massachusetts General Hospital Gun Violence Prevention
Coalition, amici curiae.
Murray, pro se, on brief for James Murray, amicus curiae.
Barron, Circuit Judge, Souter, [*] Associate Justice, and Selya,
high-profile case involves a constitutional challenge to a
Massachusetts law proscribing the sale, transfer, and
possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons and
large-capacity magazines (LCMs). See Mass. Gen. Laws
ch. 140, §§ 121, 131M (the Act). The plaintiffs
assert that they have an unfettered Second Amendment right to
possess the proscribed assault weapons and LCMs in their
homes for self-defense. The district court granted summary
judgment in favor of the defendants (a phalanx of state
officials). See Worman v. Healey,
293 F.Supp.3d 251, 271 (D. Mass. 2018). Although our
reasoning differs in certain respects from that of the court
below, we affirm.
assume, without deciding, that the proscribed weapons have
some degree of protection under the Second Amendment. We
further assume, again without deciding, that the Act
implicates the core Second Amendment right of self-defense in
the home by law-abiding, responsible individuals. We hold,
however, that the Act's burden on that core right is
minimal and, thus, the Act need only withstand intermediate
scrutiny - which it does.
start by rehearsing the background and travel of the case.
The Massachusetts legislature modeled the Act on the 1994
federal Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use
Protection Act (the federal regulation), Pub. L. No. 103-322,
§§ 110101-06, 108 Stat. 1796, 1996-2010 (1994),
which is no longer in effect. The federal regulation
prohibited the manufacture, transfer, and possession of
"semiautomatic assault weapons" and the transfer
and possession of "large capacity ammunition feeding
devices." Id. §§ 110102-03, 108 Stat.
at 1996-2000. For purposes of the federal regulation, the
term "semiautomatic assault weapon" was defined to
include nineteen specific models, as well as any
semiautomatic rifle, pistol, or shotgun with two or more
combat-style features or the ability to accept a detachable
magazine. Id. § 110102(b), 108 Stat. at
1997-98. The term "large capacity ammunition feeding
device" encompassed any magazine or other feeding device
that could accept more than ten rounds of ammunition.
Id. § 110103(b), 108 Stat. at 1999. The federal
regulation specifically exempted, inter alia, assault weapons
that were lawfully possessed on the date of its enactment
(September 13, 1994), semiautomatic rifles that could not
hold more than five rounds of ammunition or accept a
detachable magazine holding more than five rounds of
ammunition, and a specific list of "long guns most
commonly used in hunting and recreational sports." H.R.
Rep. No. 103-489, at 20 (1994); see Pub. L. No.
103-322, § 110102(a), 108 Stat. at 1996-97. In
explicating the purpose of the federal regulation, Congress
stated that semiautomatic assault weapons have "a
capability for lethality - more wounds, more serious, in more
victims - far beyond that of other firearms in general,
including other semiautomatic guns." H.R. Rep. No.
103-489, at 19-20.
years after Congress enacted the federal regulation, the
Massachusetts legislature passed a counterpart statute, which
made it a crime to sell, transfer, or possess semiautomatic
assault weapons as defined by the federal regulation, copies
or duplicates of those weapons, and LCMs capable of holding
more than ten rounds of ammunition. See Mass. Gen.
Laws ch. 140, §§ 121, 131M. The Act contained the
same exceptions as the federal regulation, including free
passes for weapons lawfully owned on September 13, 1994, and
for sundry automatic rifles commonly used for hunting and
sport. See id.
allowed the federal regulation to expire in 2004, but the
Massachusetts legislature struck out in a different direction
and made the Massachusetts assault weapons regulation
permanent that year. In signing the bill into law,
then-Governor Romney declared that semiautomatic assault
weapons and LCMs "are not made for recreation or