April 6 (UPI) — A federal judge has upheld Massachusetts’ ban on assault weapons, a court victory for gun control advocates.
U.S. District Judge William Young dismissed a case that challenged state Attorney General Maura Healey’s 2016 interpretation of the Second Amendment, which broadened the definition of “copies or duplicates” of assault rifles banned under a 1998 law.
Healey’s reading of the amendment allows a ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles and similar “copycat” assault-style weapons in the state.
In his ruling, Young said “The AR-15 and its analogs, along with large capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional rights to ‘bear arms.’
“In the absence of federal legislation, Massachusetts is free to ban these weapons and large capacity magazines.”
Healey announced the ban two years ago without prior notice to Massachusetts gun dealers, saying she would apply her interpretation of current law. A lawsuit was brought by the Gun Owners Action League and several gun shops in the state, which argued her ban was vague and unenforceable.
In his ruling, Young said Healey acted within her authority to “exercise her discretion” in banning the weapons.