Aaron Powell of Brockton had bail set at $50,000 today on gun charges stemming from his arrest at Broadway and Dorchester Street in South Boston early this morning - after he was ordered out of a car linked to a Roxbury shooting, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
This is not Powell's first arrest on gun charges; in fact, his first resulted in a case that went to the Supreme Judicial Court.
In 2008, when he was 18 and a Roxbury resident, he was arrested on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of a loaded firearm after two gang-unit officers stopped to break up what appeared to be an incipient brawl between three groups of men on Sonoma Street and he tried to flee the scene, which led to a chase and his arrest after the officers stopped him and found he had a loaded gun. In 2009, in a trial in Roxbury Municipal Court, a judge found Powell guilty and sentenced him to 18 months in the county jail, followed by three years of probation.
Powell appealed his conviction. His appeals lawyer cited several reasons - including his alleged right to own a gun for protection under the Second Amendment even without a Massachusetts license and alleged discrimination because he was at the time too young to get a gun license without parental consent.
In a 2011 ruling, the state's highest court rejected all of his arguments and upheld his conviction.
The court said that the Supreme Court decision his lawyer cited, the Heller decision, along with a followup decision, did not outlaw all gun-control regulations, but simply said states could not ban all gun ownership. Therefore, Massachusetts was free to continue to require would-be gun owners to first get a license from their local police.
And the court noted that Powell had never actually applied for a firearm permit, which, the court said, meant he could not argue he was discriminated against - especially because it meant he never even tried to use the appeal system set up for people denied gun licenses.
"Instead of applying for an FID card, the defendant chose to violate the law," the court concluded.