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Fleury v MA - Gun storage laws

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#1 Euler


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Posted 28 March 2021 - 12:01 AM


This case presents two questions regarding the firearms storage laws of Massachusetts whether the term 'large capacity weapon' is vague and violates due process where the improper storage of such designated firearms imposes significant enhanced penalties and whether the unit of prosecution under the same statute is ambiguous, subjecting defendants to double jeopardy upon trials alleging multiple counts of Improper Storage for one course of conduct, occurring at the same place and time.

On the morning of September 11, 2014, members of the State Police and various local police departments executed a search warrant for the residence of Edward Fleury located in Pelham, Massachusetts. The police were investigating an allegation that Mr. Fleury assaulted another person with a firearm. Mr. Fleury was not present at the time of the search. His wife who possessed a valid firearms license was at home. Mr. Fleury was an avid gun collector. At the time of the search he owned approximately two hundred firearms. The police claimed that the firearms were improperly stored.

Fleury's charges were severed. He was tried first on the charge of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, a firearm, and five counts of Improper Storage. At trial he presented an affirmative defense of entrapment. At the close of evidence three of the Improper Storage charges were directed out. The jury acquitted Fleury on the remaining counts.
At Fleury's second trial he was acquitted of ten counts of Improper Storage of a Firearm, and convicted upon twelve.
The definition of a Large Capacity Weapon, any firearm "that is semiautomatic and capable of accepting, or readily modifiable to accept, any detachable large
capacity feeding device," does not clearly inform an ordinary reasonably intelligent citizen of what type of firearm will trigger the more harsh penalties ...

The petition is set for conference on April 16.
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.

- Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion, and Death, 1960.

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