by Kat Ainsworth - Wednesday, August 10, 2016
July was a busy month for anti-gunners in Massachusetts as state attorney general Maura Healey took firearm legislation into her own hands. By July 20, she had rewritten state gun laws, reinstating and expanding the state’s 1998 ban (which was actually former President Bill Clinton’s rather extensive 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban) and issued enforcement notices to FFL (Federal Firearms License) holders informing them it was effective immediately.
"Gun manufacturers have manufactured these weapons as legal versions of prohibited guns, but they are illegal," Healy stated. "They are copies or duplicates of banned weapons and cannot be bought or sold in Massachusetts."
Taken from the enforcement notice regarding "copies or duplicates": "A weapon is a Copy or Duplicate and is therefore a prohibited Assault weapon if it meets one or both of the following tests and is 1) a semiautomatic rifle or handgun that was manufactured or subsequently configured with an ability to accept a detachable magazine, or 2) a semiautomatic shotgun.
If Healey believed that lawmakers who support the Second Amendment wouldn’t react, she was mistaken. By July 26, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker had issued a formal request for clarification of the ban, which he feels is ambiguous at best. At the same time, 58 bipartisan lawmakers sent AG Healey a letter stating they opposed not only her methods in issuing the new gun control measures, but the measures themselves. And on July 29, Massachusetts state senator and minority leader Bruce Tarr filed a bill that could strip Healey of her authority regarding firearm legislation.
Specifically, the act would forbid her to “govern, limit or otherwise relate to weapons as defined in Section 121 of Chapter 140, the manufacture of weapons or the sale of weapons.” And in a further display of the firearm community’s willingness to fight back, on Aug. 5 National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) senior vice president and general counsel Lawrence Keane announced the group will file suit against Healey "in the near future."
“This is a clearly naked political play by a zealous anti-gun politician simply looking to advance her political career at the expense of law-abiding gun owners by turning hundreds of thousands of law-abiding gun owners and businesses into felons overnight with the stroke of a pen,” said Keane, referring to Healey's actions.
The Massachusetts ban, which went into effect two weeks ago, duplicates the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but includes a greatly expanded and indiscernible definition of "assault weapons." The addition of the “Guidance” section instructing FFL holders to carry out “similarity” and “interchangeability” tests is so vague that it has the potential to ban all manner of semi-automatic firearms—including 911 pistols.
The NRA-ILA is fighting back, and so can you. On Monday, Aug. 15, the Gun Owner's Action League (GOAL) of Massachusetts is hosting a call-to-action rally and fundraising dinner at the Boxborough Holiday Inn from 6-9 p.m. Speakers include Second Amendment Foundation Founder Alan Gottlieb, NSSF General Counsel Lawrence Keane and GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace, who has long warned that the attorney general is attempting to "come in unilaterally" and change all of the rules that have been in place for almost 20 years.
Contact your legislators today and let them know you are against Healey's abuse of power and the ban itself. Tickets to Monday's event are $25 per person and must be purchased in advance. To purchase your ticket, click here.
E-mail your comments/questions about this site to:
Get the NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum newsletter for at-a-glance access to all the latest news about the legislative challenges hunters face—delivered directly to your Inbox.