Keywords: Firearms. Constitutional Law, Right to bear arms. Practice, Civil, Judicial review of license to carry firearms, Action in nature of certiorari, Judgment on the pleadings. District Court, Jurisdiction
[Excerpt] – Until paragraph (1 1/2) was added to G. L. c. 140, § 129B, effective January 1, 2015, a licensing authority could only approve an application for a firearm identification (FID) card or deny it on the basis that an applicant was a “prohibited person” under the statute. Paragraph (1 1/2), which is at issue in this case, addresses the possibility that a licensing authority might conclude that someone who is not a prohibited person is “unsuitable” to possess an FID card. In that event, paragraph (1 1/2) does not empower the licensing authority to deny the FID card. Rather, it provides that “the licensing authority may file a petition” “in the [D]istrict [C]ourt of jurisdiction” “to request that an applicant be denied the issuance or renewal of [an FID] card.” The statute reserves to the District Court the decision whether the licensing authority has met its burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the applicant is unsuitable. G. L. c. 140, § 129B (1 1/2).
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