A Texas man is playing as a one man band as he takes on the state of Massachusetts in court, representing himself. Here’s what we know:
- John Cassidy is a Texas man who moved to Massachusetts to attend UMass Law School at Dartmouth
- He got into a spat with his roommate, resulting in the police showing up
- He was arrested in 2001 for possession of 2 firearms, five firearm magazines, and about 150 round of ammunition inside the apartment
- He bought toe guns legally in Texas, however he had not gotten his new Massachusetts permit
- A jury found him guilty of seven firearm related felonies in March 2015
- Cassidy spent 26 months in state prison
Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to hear Cassidy is take on the state’s gun licensing demands in a Hail Mary appeal.
Cassidy said, “I’m swinging for the fences, but I think what Massachusetts did to me was outrageous,” he continued, “I’m not an attorney, but it has always been my plan to fight this.”
Now, Cassidy wants his convictions erased so that he can go back to law school and purchase guns again. He argues in his pitch to the SJC that the state’s licensing demands infringe on his Second Amendment rights.
“Massachusetts has stripped his Second Amendment right for simple in-home possessory offenses,” Cassidy wrote to the high court. “These unconstitutional violations are ongoing and continue to violate his natural rights.”
Last week, the SJC agreed to hear Cassidy’s case. He said he plans to come back to the Bay State and fight state prosecutors without a lawyer by his side. If he loses, he says he will take the fight to federal court.
“I’m going to go it alone. I have yet to find a Massachusetts lawyer that passionately believes in gun rights,” he said. “People don’t understand the idea of owning a gun simply because it’s your right.”
Brent Carlton, co-founder of Commonwealth Second Amendment, a nonprofit promoting the interests of Bay State gun owners, certainly gets that. But he’s concerned about the SJC’s decision to take Cassidy’s case. He says the high court picks cases that will allow it to restrict Second Amendment rights through precedent.
“They have a history of picking bad cases that are ripe for bad case law,” Carlton said. “The fact that they have accepted this case is setting off alarm bells for me.”
Meanwhile, Cassidy is researching gun laws and corresponding with the court from his family’s auto repair shop in the Lone Star State. And he says he can beat the odds.
“I think I have a shot,” he said. “I just want to be able to own guns and to go back to law school.”
While I see where he is coming from, and I don’t think that the laws in place are right when it comes to states recognizing permits from other states. Unless they decide to grant some serious mercy, I do not think he has much of a shot here. He did not obey the law in place and they will not care that he did not know the laws of his new home.
What do you think?