Massachusetts Democrat introduces ban on all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns

Massachusetts Democrat introduces ban on all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Which is weird, because Massachusetts already has an “assault weapons” ban on the books dating back to 1998; one that was dramatically expanded through a “re-interpretation” of the statute by then-Attorney General Maura Healey in 2016.

Those bills defined “assault weapons” by features, and in some cases by name, but Rep. David Linsky’s new bill takes a much simpler approach; defining all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns as “assault weapons”.

SECTION 1. Subsection (b) of section 61 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the words “assault weapon”, in line 13, and inserting in place thereof the following words:- any rifle or shotgun containing a semiautomatic mechanism.

SECTION 2. Section 121 of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the definition of “Assault weapon”.

SECTION 3. Said section 121 of said chapter 140, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the definition of “Large capacity weapon” and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-

“Large capacity weapon”, any firearm, rifle or shotgun: (i) that is semiautomatic with a fixed large capacity feeding device; (ii) that is semiautomatic and capable of accepting, or readily modifiable to accept, any detachable large capacity feeding device; (iii) that employs a rotating cylinder capable of accepting more than ten rounds of ammunition in a rifle or firearm and more than five shotgun shells in the case of a shotgun or firearm; or (iv) any rifle or shotgun containing a semiautomatic mechanism. The term “large capacity weapon” shall be a secondary designation and shall apply to a weapon in addition to its primary designation as a firearm, rifle or shotgun and shall not include: (i) any weapon that was manufactured in or prior to the year 1899; (ii) any weapon that operates by manual bolt, pump, lever or slide action; (iii) any weapon that is a single-shot weapon; (iv) any weapon that has been modified so as to render it permanently inoperable or otherwise rendered permanently unable to be designated a large capacity weapon; or (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 large capacity weapon.

I honestly wonder why Linsky didn’t go ahead and include semi-automatic handguns in his “assault weapon” definition. I mean, if you’re going to ban an entire class of firearms, you might as well go all in and target handguns as well.

So what are the odds that Massachusetts Democrats actually pass this flagrantly unconstitutional ban? Pretty good, unfortunately.

Many of the Massachusettsbills are similar to ones that have failed to pass multiple sessions in a row,such as tightening the state’s assault weapons ban or forbidding the sale of guns without serial numbers, so-called “ghost guns.” But supporters of the measures said they have higher hopes this year, given strong support from the Speaker of the House, and Democrats firmly in control of both the legislature and the governor’s office — although former Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, was a vocal supporter of the state’s strict gun laws.

But Bay State gun rights enthusiasts could mount a more visible fight against measures to limit their rights than they have in prior years.
“We never stood a chance in local state courts, or even local federal courts, because they were so anti-Second Amendment civil rights,” said Jim Wallace, executive director of the state gun rights group Gun Owners’ Action League.
“But now, I think any attack on the Second Amendment is gonna [be met with big protests here], especially after Bruen. Because now, the highest court in the land finally agrees with us that [the Second Amendment] is indeed a civil right,” he said.
I know Wallace would rather defeat these gun control bills in the legislature, but having them tossed out in court is the more realistic possibility given the anti-gun majorities at the statehouse. Gun owners, even those outside the state of Massachusetts, should support GOAL’s efforts, because they’re going to be waging a number of important and expensive legal battles in the months ahead.