Gun owners in Massachusetts are running into all kinds of problems as they attempt to deal with Attorney General Maura Healey’s unilateral decision to ban hundreds of previously legal firearms by reinterpreting a 1998 law.
Boston Herald reported that Healey is taking a new approach to enforcing the law, which mirrors the federal assault Weapons ban which expired in 2004, to keep gun makers from producing state-compliant versions of the rifles on the ban list.
From the report:
Healey said the state law not only bans the sale of name-brand weapons, but also bans copy or duplicate weapons. She said gun manufacturers have marketed “state compliant” weapons with minor changes, such as being sold without a flash suppressor or with a fixed stock instead of a folding stock.
She said those weapons are still illegal under the 1998 law.
Healey said her office considers a weapon as a copy or duplicate if its “internal operating system is essentially the same as those of a specifically banned weapon or if the gun has key functional components that are interchangeable with those of a banned weapon.”
Basically, if it looks like a big, scary black gun, Healey wants it banned. And when she unilaterally made the change last month, she declared it “effective immediately.”
And then the confusion set in. Gun owners and sellers were told they faced a 10-year charge for selling banned weapons. But beyond the semi-automatic weapons already banned in the state, no one is really sure what firearms are now also on the list.
That’s because the AG’s edict made hundreds of previously legal guns illegal.
Groups like the Gun Owners Action League are suggesting that the AG made the changes intentially ambiguous to intimidate firearm owners.
“On July 20th Healey launched a campaign of intimidation, fear, and abuse at law abiding gun owners their families, and many family owned businesses throughout Massachusetts.” Said GOAL Executive Director Jim Wallace.
He added: “Not only is Healey threatening licensed gun owners with a felony for legally owned firearms, she is also changing the language of the enforcement notice on an almost daily basis. Nothing in the notice matches existing federal or state law, she literally made it up, and continues to do so as she goes along. Yet, the ten-year felony charge remains
“Gun owners are justifiably upset, the attorney general has disregarded due process, that’s the crux of the issue, and we have to ask, what and who is next? She is setting a dangerous precedent with this action.”
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