Updated at 9:56 a.m. July 6

Police chiefs in Massachusetts can no longer reject applicants for licenses to carry firearms simply because the person lacks a good reason to carry a gun, according to guidance state Attorney General Maura Healey issued in response to a recent United States Supreme Court ruling.

But law enforcement leaders told GBH News that Healey’s new guidelines will not change the way they evaluate applications for licenses to carry a gun. Police leadership said they will continue to deny licenses to prohibited applicants, such as convicted felons, and scrutinize an applicant’s suitability to get a license based on their history of mental illness, substance use and domestic violence.

“As a police chief, you possess a certain amount of information and knowledge which the suitability standard allows you to consider when it comes to the whole process,” said Mark Leahy, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and a former chief of Northborough. “There are just those people that we interact with. And you think to yourself, you know, I just don't see anything good coming from this person having a firearm.”

Healey’s guidance for police chiefs came days after the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned a gun-permitting law in New York, which previously required residents to demonstrate a proper reason for carrying a concealed handgun in public.

"Going forward, if an applicant is not a prohibited person and is not unsuitable, the applicant must be issued an unrestricted license to carry," Healey’s guidance stated.

Massachusetts courts had previously ruled that if an applicant failed to show a “good reason to fear injury,” local police chiefs could restrict licenses, allowing permit holders to carry the firearm only in certain circumstances, such as for hunting or target practice. Law enforcement leaders say those restrictions are no longer in effect.

Ruth Zakarin, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, said Healey’s guidance shows that the state will continue to focus on gun laws that reduce gun violence.

“The way that this has worked in Massachusetts has always been very focused on prohibited persons. That hasn't changed,” she said. “Our package of legislation has really helped to keep our rates of gun violence and gun deaths down in Massachusetts.”

Zakarin stressed that Massachusetts’ police departments would still stop people with a history of perpetrating domestic violence from getting guns.

But Jim Wallace, executive director of Gun Owners Action League, said Healey and police are misinterpreting the Supreme Court ruling and still over-scrutinizing applicants for licenses to carry a firearm.

“There is no suitability standard anymore,” Wallace said. "It has to be strictly based on a prohibited person status that is based on criminal convictions or perhaps mental health commitments.”

Wallace added that he believed the Supreme Court ruling should also undo any bans on carrying a firearm in certain areas that are not considered sensitive, such as courthouses and schools.

“The Boston Common is supposed to be a gun-free zone,” he said. “I don't think that's going to pass constitutional muster anymore.”

Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque said he’s confident police in the state will continue to rigorously screen applicants for licenses to carry.

“Massachusetts has one of the most stringent gun firearms laws in the country,” said Vasque, who is vice president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association. “We're going through each [application] with a fine-tooth comb and making sure that the individual is someone who should be carrying a firearm.”

Chip Goines, a gun owner in Somerville, doesn’t object to the state’s gun laws.

“I do have faith in the gun owners that I’ve seen. Most of them are sane people, and they train,” he said. “It’s not going to [become] the wild west, at least not in Massachusetts.”

This story was updated to correct the name of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association.