Attorneys Nicole J. Costanzo and Brian W. Riley successfully argued before the Appeal Court, in Town of Plymouth v. Robert J. Power, et al., 2020 WL 2791851, at *5 (Mass. App. Ct. May 29, 2020), that the Firearms Licensing Statute, G. L. c. 140, § 129B does not provide for constructive approval of an application for a firearms identification card (FID card) if the licensing authority does not petition the District Court for an unsuitability within a certain time frame.
General Law chapter 40, § 129B, paragraph (1 1/2), does not expressly provide a deadline for a licensing authority to petition the District Court for a determination of unsuitability to possess an FID card. The plaintiff, however, claimed that the forty-day deadline for a licensing authority to approve an application for an FID card or deny it on the grounds that an applicant is statutorily prohibited person, as set forth in Section 129B (3) of the statute, should be applied to the deadline for filing petitions to the District Court. The plaintiff further argued that failure to timely file a petition results in constructive approval of the FID card application. While the Appeals Court did not rule on whether the forty-day deadline in paragraph (3) applies to petitions filed pursuant to paragraph (1 1/2), it was persuaded by Attorneys Nicole J. Costanzo and Brian W. Riley and held that even if the forty-day deadline applied, a licensing authority’s failure to petition the District Court within forty days does not constitute constructive approval of the FID card application.