“It’s no surprise the Orlando killer chose an AR-15 style assault rifle. It’s a weapon of war, originally created for combat, and designed to kill many people in a short amount of time with incredible accuracy. It’s in the same category as weapons chosen by killers in Newtown, Aurora, and San Bernardino. These are not weapons of self-defense. They are weapons used to commit mass murder. And they have no business being in civilian hands.”
– Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy banned all new sales of modern sporting rifles yesterday in an action timed when the state legislature was on break. Massachusetts has one of the most onerous bans on firearms the law classifies as “assault weapons,” but because the law was written around features and not function, many manufacturers could meet the definitions in the law and supply modern sporting rifles to their dealers in the state.
Healy is using a part of the law that bans all “copies or duplicates” of specific firearms. She now interprets “copies or duplicates” as including any firearm with parts that could be interchanged with those specifically banned by Massachusetts law. “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,” she wrote in an op-ed published in the Boston Globe.
Letters were sent to every FFL in the state informing them to cease and desist all sales of such firearms immediately. Dealers report pulling every single modern sporting rifle off their shelves with no idea how they are going to sell their inventory and recoup their costs.
According to Healy, 10,000 firearms meeting her new definition of “copies or duplicates” were sold in Massachusetts in 2015. Healy has said that she will not be going after owners of such firearms that were purchased prior to July 20th, 2016. However, her new interpretation of existing Massachusetts law puts anyone in possession of these firearms in legal jeopardy.