Democrat Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that she is unilaterally redefining what constitutes an “assault weapon” under Massachusetts law, in order to outlaw the sale of the most popular firearms sold in the United States.
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.
Healey’s arrogance is clear. I don’t like that manufacturers complied with the letter of the law we passed, so I’m going to redefine what it means.
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.
Healey’s “test” is arbitrary and capricious, as defining an operating system of a firearm as being “essentially the same” is ripe for prosecutorial abuse.
There are, after all, only a handful of basic operating systems for self-loading firearms:
- direct gas impingment
- long-stroke gas pistons
- short-stroke gas piston
But that’s not the worst of it.
Healey also states that firearms that have “has components that are interchangeable with those of a banned weapon” are also illegal. This is even more ripe for abuse than the blatantly unconstitutional and flippant “essentially the same” operating system test, as many firearms—including those that are clearly not “assault weapons” by even the most insane definition—share components with firearm on the list.
Here’s a perfect example.
This bolt-action rifle is the Mossberg MVP Scout. It is designed to use the same magazines as a number of .308-caliber rifles absurdly defined as “assault weapons” by name and Healey’s capricious “duplicate” definition under Massachusetts law. It also have a threaded muzzle designed to use common .30-caliber muzzle devices share with rifles on the “you can’t have it, prole” list, and features sections of picatinny rail (both fixed and detachable) familiar to a wide range of firearms, including many on the banned list. Because of these multiple “shared components,” this bolt-action rifle is clearly defined as an “assault weapon” according to Healey’s insane edict.
But be of good cheer, MAssholes. Princess Dictator Healey will graciously not send agents of the government to confiscate the millions of “Massachusetts-complaint” firearms in the possession of the proletariat, at least not yet.
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.
How generous of you, ma’am.
I’d like to remind Healey, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and the citizens of the state that there have been unilateral attempts by power-crazed petty tyrants in Massachusetts history to strip the People of the right to bear those arms most useful for the common defense.
It didn’t go well for them.
The Second Amendment was written to reflect a preexisting natural right of citizens to bear arms of contemporary military utility for the defense of their individual lives and their communities from foreign enemies, domestic threats, and power-mad would-be despots.
Maura Healey has grossly exceeded her constitutional authority and has enacted by executive fiat a directive that would have roused our Founding Fathers to action.