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Commonwealth v. McGowan

Massachusetts Supreme Court
982 N.E.2d 495 (2013)


John McGowan (defendant) owned a 40-caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun. He kept the gun loaded and unlocked in a bedroom side table drawer. McGowan got into an argument with his roommate, who went into McGowan’s bedroom and took the gun. The roommate then went outside and threw the gun into the bushes. When McGowan went outside to retrieve the gun, the roommate locked McGowan out of the house. The police received a report of a domestic disturbance and went to McGowan’s home. The police found McGowan outside with the gun, which was loaded with a round in the chamber. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts (plaintiff) charged McGowan with violating Mass. General Laws c. 140, §131L(a). The statute prohibited the storage of a gun not carried by or under the immediate control of the owner or other authorized user unless the gun was in a locked container or equipped with certain safety devices. McGowan moved to dismiss the charge, arguing that the statute was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The trial court certified the question to the court of appeals. The Massachusetts Supreme Court decided to hear the case directly.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gants, J.)

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