IF YOU WISH TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEY SMITH, OR ARRANGE FOR A CASE EVALUATION (IF YOU HAVE ONE OR MORE PRIOR CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS THAT MIGHT PREVENT YOU FROM OBTAINING A FIREARMS LICENSE) PLEASE GO HERE: Consultations & Criminal Record Evaluations If you do not already have the password to access the applicable document, kindly TEXT (only) Attorney Smith at (774) 364-1754.

Second Amendment Gun Rights in Massachusetts

As a Massachusetts gun law attorney, Attorney William S. Smith is exceptionally knowledgeable about the extremely complex Massachusetts firearms laws and regulations.   Beyond this, unlike most attorneys working in criminal law, and even many handling firearms licensing matters, he has highly extensive practical experience with firearms and gun safety.

He is one of the most highly-qualified gun rights lawyers in Massachusetts. He works tirelessly to restore gun rights. A small sample of some of the most recent results he has obtained for our clients, includes:

  • Client’s LTC was suspended due to the Improper Storage law. Result: After filing and arguing a legal action in court, Attorney Smith was able to get the licensing authority to agree to issue the LTC.
  • Client’t LTC was suspended due to the Improper Storage law. He was also criminally prosecuted for that alleged violation. Result: Attorney Smith won a motion to dismiss the criminal charges, and our client’s LTC was returned.
  • Client was viciously attacked and assaulted in the city near his place of business. Despite having merely drawn his handgun in lawful self-defense, the licensing authority suspended the client’s LTC. Result: After filing and arguing a legal action in court, Attorney Smith was able to get the licensing authority to reinstate the client’s LTC.
  • Client, an attorney at law, had been denied his LTC application because the licensing authority erroneously concluded he had a disqualifying out-of-state conviction. After filing and arguing a legal action in court, Attorney Smith was able to get the licensing authority to agree to issue the LTC.
  • The successful appeal to the District Court of the suspension of our client’s LTC by a Massachusetts police chief due to a call for a domestic disturbance
  • The removal of a decades-old felony conviction that had disqualified our client from obtaining his LTC via a legal action prepared and litigated by Attorney Smith
  • The successful appeal to the District Court of the suspension of our client’s LTC by the chief of a Massachusetts police department that had been entered against our client due to the suspicion he had engaged in criminal activity.

Attorney Smith is a volunteer firearms instructor for a licensing class approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   He also serves as a lecturer and firearms range educator and instructor to other attorneys who are not versed in the practical dimensions of the use of firearms.  He has advised and counseled numerous gun store owners, retailers and Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL).

His experience in attacking criminal convictions even includes in a myriad of first and second degree murder appeals. This is an invaluable asset to have on your side when confronted with the need to try to get convictions removed that are disqualifying you from owning and buying a firearm.

  • Firearms Licensing and Renewal – LTC and FID
  • Firearms License Denial – LTC and FID
  • Firearms License Suspension and Revocation – LTC and FID
  • Appeals of Firearms License Suspension and Revocation to the District Court
  • Appeals of Firearms License Suspension and Revocation to the Superior Court
  • Appeals of Firearms License Suspension and Revocation to the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court
  • Appeals of Firearms License Suspension and Revocation to the Federal Courts
  • Firearms rights restoration due to disqualifying past convictions

Attorney Smith also offers regulatory, legislation and public policy analysis advice to retailers, distributers as well as gun rights groups and organizations.  His experience includes having worked with a legislative counsel (lobbyist) on behalf of a bar association. 

In addition to his law practice, Attorney Smith is also a Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Studies.  He recently completed a graduate-level program in Public Policy Analysis at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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In a recent case wherein his client was prosecuted for improper storage of a firearm, Attorney Smith prepared and litigated a motion to dismiss.   Using new precedent from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, he argued that the actions of his client did not actually constitute “storage” within the meaning of that offense.   Result:  Motion to Dismiss ALLOWED.

Attorney Smith recently represented a client whose LTC had been suspended because he got intoxicated one night. This was despite the fact that he possessed no firearm, nor was any firearm near him. When the client had first represented himself, the District Court judge upheld this suspension. However, Attorney Smith then filed an appeal in the Superior Court. Result:  LTC ordered REINSTATED by the Superior Court.

Our client- a former law enforcement official- had his LTC suspended on the grounds that the licensing authority claimed he’d had “mental health issues.” Attorney Smith argued at the hearing that there had, in fact, been no mental health “commitment” within the meaning of the law. Result:  LTC ordered REINSTATED by the District Court.

Our client’s LTC was suspended because of an alleged “domestic altercation.” After a lengthy court hearing with testimony, the judge ordered his LTC to be REINSTATED.



Supreme Court flips playing field for gun rights lawyers

By: Pat Murphy July 15, 2022

Second Amendment attorneys are eager to shape a new legal landscape in Massachusetts in the wake of a landmark affirmation of gun rights by the U.S. Supreme Court.

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision struck down a New York law requiring an applicant to show “proper cause” to obtain a concealed carry license.

Under the law, an individual seeking a license to carry a firearm outside the home was required to show a “special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community.”

Writing for the majority in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen, Justice Clarence Thomas said New York’s proper-cause requirement violated the 14th Amendment by preventing “law-abiding citizens” with “ordinary self-defense needs” from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.

“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” Thomas wrote.

The hand-wringing by media pundits in the wake of Bruen perplexes Princeton attorney William S. Smith.

“At its core, the decision does little more than state the obvious: The text of the Second Amendment guarantees the right of law-abiding, peaceful Americans to carry firearms in self-defense outside the home,” Smith says.

But what has been obvious to Smith and the majority in Bruen has not been shared by lawmakers in Massachusetts. The state has its own analog to New York’s gun law in G.L.c. 140, §131(d), which provides a list of categories of people prohibited from obtaining a license to carry — most notably those with certain disqualifying criminal convictions.

Otherwise, the statute directs that a license to carry shall be granted to an applicant who “has good reason to fear injury” to themselves or their property. Moreover, the statute authorizes the licensing authority to deny an application to applicants or licensees deemed “unsuitable.”

The majority in Bruen noted the parallels between the “proper cause” requirement struck down in the New York law and similar requirements in Massachusetts.

“The law at issue in Bruen that the Supreme Court invalidated was virtually identical to the Massachusetts LTC restrictions,” Smith says.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Attorney General Maura T. Healey’s office and the Executive Office of Public Safety & Security issued guidance on July 1 explaining how the state’s gun laws should be implemented in the aftermath of Bruen.

Most notably, the guidance makes clear that licensing authorities should no longer enforce the “good-reason” provision of the license-to-carry statute.

“Authorities should no longer deny, or impose restrictions on, a license to carry because the applicant lacks a sufficiently good reason to carry a firearm,” the guidance states.

On the other hand, the new guidance leaves intact the “prohibited person” and “suitability” provisions of the LTC statute.

But firearms attorneys view the statute’s suitability provision as being imperiled by Bruen, too.

“We anticipate that the Bruen decision will impact not only the requirement that license applicants demonstrate a showing of need but also the subjective determination of the suitability of the applicant,” says Saugus attorney Jason A. Guida, a former director of the state Firearms Records Bureau and a former counsel to the Firearms Licensing Review Board.

“The [Bruen] court did imply that that’s next on the chopping block — the idea that a police captain can say you don’t seem to be the kind of person who needs a gun license because you were arrested 20 years ago,” Boston firearms attorney Matthew W. Peterson says.

In fact, Peterson says that getting rid of the “suitability” determination would have more of an impact in Massachusetts than bidding farewell to the good-reason standard in terms of those who are otherwise eligible to obtain a license.

“Generally, suitability is the reason why people get denied a license,” Peterson says. “I don’t get a lot of calls from people who say they were denied because they didn’t give a good-enough reason [to fear injury].”

Smith likewise sees so-called “suitability” denials, suspensions and revocations as being called into question under Bruen.

“Of course, the state can permissibly regulate and intervene in instances where there is a manifest present and/or future danger palpably established by the licensing authority,” Smith says. “However, a great many ‘suitability’ licensing actions in Massachusetts, from my experience, do not fall into this category.”

For example, he points to one of his clients who lost his license to carry due to a case of intoxication.

“No gun was on him — or near him — and all his firearms were securely locked up in a safe at home a mile away,” Smith says. “Despite this, the police suspended his LTC in 2020 and it remains suspended to this day.”

Smith says he has another client who lost his LTC because he allegedly gave someone the finger and acted in a manner the police found indicative of some unspecified “mental health issue.”

Bruen will encourage some people who may not otherwise have decided to appeal licensing decisions to do so,” Smith predicts


Most attorneys working in criminal law, and even many handling firearms licensing matters, have little or no practical experience with firearms. Attorney Smith DOES!

The above is merely a small sampling of a select few of our past cases. They are set forth solely for illustrative purposes of some the types of matters we have handled and as examples of the results we have obtained for our clients in some cases. No lawyer, however, can guarantee any specific results in any client’s case. The facts, relative strengths and weaknesses of a client’s case, and the applicable law, all vary from matter to matter.