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SCOTUS vacates ruling that upheld Massachusetts gun control law

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The Supreme Court of the United States has vacated a ruling that upheld a recent gun control law passed in Massachusetts. A lower court must now reconsider the law in light of a recent SCOTUS ruling regarding the Second Amendment.

On Monday, SCOTUS vacated the district court's decision regarding Morin v. Lyver. A Massachusetts resident filed the suit after he was barred from purchasing a handgun because he was convicted of unlawfully carrying a firearm back in 2004. The Massachusetts law in question forbids the purchase of a handgun by anyone who has ever been convicted of a nonviolent misdemeanor involving a firearm. It also requires a license to buy a pistol.

Both the district and appeals courts upheld the law. However, SCOTUS has since vacated that decision and asked an appeals court to reconsider now that SCOTUS took a broader view of the Second Amendment in its recent ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen.

Many Second Amendment advocates cheered the 6-3 Bruen ruling, which came down last June. Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the majority opinion in the case, asserted that "because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State's licensing regime violates the Constitution."

Thomas also added that the "constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense is not ‘a second-class right'" and that he and the other concurring justices "know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need."

The order to vacate the decision is brief, unsigned, and has no dissents. It reads in total: "21-1160 MORIN, ALFRED V. LYVER, WILLIAM, ET AL. The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit for further consideration in light of New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U. S. ___ (2022)."

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