There has been a lot of news coverage about the incident in Wakefield where eleven armed men that created a tense situation with police. The men claimed to be traveling through the state lawfully and that they were protected by the US Constitution. They also claimed to be members of a group called “Rise of the Moors.” They appear to be an offshoot of the Sovereign Citizens movement, that tend to operate within their own interpretation of US law. In this instance, they are arguing that Federal law allows for them to carry their guns.

While the second amendment does protect ones right to bear arms, the right is not absolute. The right to own and carry guns and other weapons is regulated by both federal and state laws. Police encountered these gentlemen on a Massachusetts highway, and therefore are subject to the laws of the Commonwealth. Yesterday, they were arraigned on gun charges, and detained pending a dangerousness hearing. Most of the defendants either elected to represent themselves, or were appointed an attorney on a limited basis.

These men might claim that they are outside the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts court system, but they are mistaken. The sooner they realize this, the better off they are since some of the charges that they face carry minimum mandatory sentences of a year or more in prison or jail depending on their individual situations.

I expect that these cases will play out in court with as much drama as the standoff on I-95 did.