Another city has been held to account for major delays to its 2020 processing of firearms permits.
The City of Boston agreed to settle a federal lawsuit on Friday over allegations it intentionally delayed the processing of gun-carry permits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the settlement, the city will be required to pay $10,000 to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees.
“The city had already been very slow processing applications for carry licenses, and when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, things completely ground to a halt,” Alan Gottlieb, whose group the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed the suit, said in a press release. “With things returning to normal, the city has agreed that all individuals who were on the list of applicants as of July 26 will be contacted so they may submit permit applications. The city also agreed to resume its pre-pandemic practice of accepting applications by Oct. 31, which has happened, and they are paying our legal expenses.”
The settlement agreement represents just the latest result in a number of lawsuits filed by gun rights groups across the country over delays in firearms permitting systems. The settlement and subsequent payout could serve as a future deterrent for cities using emergency powers to shut down Constitutionally-protected conduct. In Massachusetts, for example, a permit is required to both possess or carry a firearm, leaving residents without a viable option to exercise their Second Amendment rights when the city shut down the process for accepting new applications.
SAF and Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc. filed suit on behalf of several residents who experienced extensive delays in the processing of their firearm permit applications. But, Gottlieb pointed out Boston was not alone in permitting delays during the pandemic.
“This is one of the many COVID-related lawsuits to protect gun rights that we won,” he said.
He said the group was warning “several other jurisdictions around the country of probable legal action for similar shutdowns because of the pandemic.” He said the group is “happy” with the outcome of the case.
“Hopefully, this sort of thing will never happen again, anywhere,” Gottlieb said.