Without approval from a single elected official in Massachusetts, the State’s Attorney general took it upon herself to expand and rewrite the state’s 1998 Gun Control Act. According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, all modern sporting rifles – or as she calls them assault weapons – will now be banned in the state.
After the Massachusetts 1998 Gun Control Act banned residents from owning a number of modern rifles, gun manufacturers had to completely redesign versions of their firearms to comply with the state’s law. But now, even those firearms that specifically comply with those regulations laid out in the 1998 legislation will be illegal in the state of Massachusetts.
Attorney General Maura Healey announced her unconstitutional edict to The Boston Globe. She told them:
The Massachusetts assault weapons ban mirrors the federal ban Congress allowed to expire in 2004. It prohibits the sale of specific weapons like the Colt AR-15 and AK-47 and explicitly bans “copies or duplicates” of those weapons. But gun manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to define what a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon is. They market “state compliant” copycat versions of their assault weapons to Massachusetts buyers. They sell guns without a flash suppressor or folding or telescoping stock, for example, small tweaks that do nothing to limit the lethalness of the weapon.
That will end now. On Wednesday, we are sending a directive to all gun manufacturers and dealers that makes clear that the sale of these copycat assault weapons is illegal in Massachusetts. With this directive, we will ensure we get the full protection intended when lawmakers enacted our assault weapons ban, not the watered-down version of those protections offered by gun manufacturers.
The directive specifically outlines two tests to determine what constitutes a “copy” or “duplicate” of a prohibited weapon. If a gun’s operating system is essentially the same as that of a banned weapon, or if the gun has components that are interchangeable with those of a banned weapon, it’s a “copy” or “duplicate,” and it is illegal. Assault weapons prohibited under our laws cannot be altered in any way to make their sale or possession legal in Massachusetts.
What does this mean for gun owners in Massachusetts?
Well nobody really knows. But we do know, criminals are going to love it!
In 1998, Massachusetts enacted some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country. The 1998 Gun Control Act banned semiautomatic “assault” weapons, prohibited anyone convicted of a violent crime or drug trafficking from ever carrying or owning a gun, imposed some of the strictest licensing laws in the country, and even made it a criminal offense for people who stored their firearms unlocked.
While state legislators would like you to believe the legislation helped reduce crime, it did nothing to stop criminals from committing violent firearms-related offenses. In fact, according to state crime statistics, between 1998 and 2011, robbery with firearms climbed 20.7 percent and aggravated assaults in the state jumped 26.7 percent.
Massachusetts Gun Stores Pull all Modern Sporting Rifles from Shelves
Even though the Attorney General has no real power to rewrite existing legislation, gun stores across Massachusetts have started pulling modern sporting rifles from their shelves in fear that they may be prosecuted for selling what may be an illegal firearm in Massachusetts.