Well, we all knew it was coming. You can’t have a “mass shooting” without some political ladder-climber coming down hard on the rights of law-abiding Americans. And this time it is Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. She published this in The Boston Globe today.
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.
Yes, you’ve read correctly. Every black rifle, and all of the variants, compliant versions, and anything that any of these yokels think might be used for an “assault” is now strictly illegal.
What about all of those guns currently in the law-abiding hands of law-abiding gun owners?
We recognize that most residents who purchased these guns in the past believed they were doing so legally, so this directive will not apply to possession of guns purchased before Wednesday. In the dozen years since the federal assault weapons ban lapsed, only seven states have instituted their own assault weapons ban. Many of those bans have been challenged (unsuccessfully) by the gun industry, and we anticipate our directive may be too. But our job is to enforce state laws and to keep people safe. This directive does both.
Right. Because the criminals who are shooting up campuses and theaters and police protests–they’re all easily stopped by enacting a simple bit of legislation. I could tell you just how many mass murders were thwarted when the perpetrator ran up against a law like this, but I wouldn’t want to let the wind out of the AG’s sail.
In the face of utter inaction by Congress, states have a duty to enact and enforce laws that protect people from gun violence. If Washington won’t use its power to get these guns off our streets, we will. Not only do we have the legal authority to do so, we have a moral obligation to do so.
Wait–to get the guns off the street? I thought she’d just said it was legal to own them if you’d bought them before Wednesday. Now she’s got a moral obligation to get them “off our streets.”
If I were in Massachusetts, I’d be feeling a bit paranoid right now.
What does the state consider an “assault weapon”?
“Assault weapon”, shall have the same meaning as a semiautomatic assault weapon as defined in the federal Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(30) as appearing in such section on September 13, 1994, and shall include, but not be limited to, any of the weapons, or copies or duplicates of the weapons, of any caliber, known as: (i) Avtomat Kalashnikov (AK) (all models); (ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil; (iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70); (iv) Colt AR-15; (v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR and FNC; (vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9 and M-12; (vi) Steyr AUG; (vii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and (viii) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as, or similar to, the Street Sweeper and Striker 12; provided, however, that the term assault weapon shall not include: (i) any of the weapons, or replicas or duplicates of such weapons, specified in appendix A to 18 U.S.C. section 922 as appearing in such appendix on September 13, 1994, as such weapons were manufactured on October 1, 1993; (ii) any weapon that is operated by manual bolt, pump, lever or slide action; (iii) any weapon that has been rendered permanently inoperable or otherwise rendered permanently unable to be designated a semiautomatic assault weapon; (iv) any weapon that was manufactured prior to the year 1899; (v) any weapon that is an antique or relic, theatrical prop or other weapon that is not capable of firing a projectile and which is not intended for use as a functional weapon and cannot be readily modified through a combination of available parts into an operable assault weapon; (vi) any semiautomatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition; or (vii) any semiautomatic shotgun that cannot hold more than five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine.
Time for some crafty legal eagles to start dismantling this gibberish.