National Shooting Sports Foundation, Gun Stores Sue Massachusetts AG over Unilateral Expansion of ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

BOSTON - JULY 20: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey speaks during a news conference to announce the enforcement of a ban on the sale of copycat assault rifles in Boston on July 20, 2016. (Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and individual Massachusetts gun stores are suing Attorney General Maura Healey (D) for her unilateral expansion of the state’s “assault weapons” ban.

On July 20, Breitbart News reported that Healey issued a “directive” to all gun makers and sellers which said firearms that comply with the “assault weapons” ban but are cosmetically similar to banned weapons can no longer be sold. In other words, the measure now bans guns that were not part of the ban.

Healey announced the ban in The Boston Globe, where she alleged that gun manufacturers and sellers have been circumventing Massachusetts “assault weapons” ban via cosmetic changes to firearms, whereby said firearms are rendered “state compliant.” She accused the “gun industry” of finding a way to “exploit” Massachusetts’ law by selling AR-15s and/or AK-47s “without a flash suppressor or folding or telescoping stock, for example.” She described these as “small tweaks that do nothing to limit the lethalness of the weapon.”

Her expanded ban took effect after the close of business on the 20th, and NSSF and gun stores filed suit on September 22. The Boston Globe quotes NSSF president Lawrence Keane, who explained that Healey’s unilateral actions deprived gun makers and sellers of their rights to “due process protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.” Keane pointed out that Healey bypassed the legislative process, instead choosing to go it alone and put gun makers and sellers in a position where they “could face criminal penalties for violating the statute.”

It is interesting to note that 10,000 rifles–configured in ways that fall under Healey’s expanded ban–were sold in Massachusetts last year alone. Healey stressed this as if such a number of rifles was ominous proof of the need for new limitations. What she did not say is that FBI stats for 2014 show no rifles of any kind–therefore no “assault weapons” either–were used in the commission of a crime in 2014. (2014 is the most recent year for which such data is available.)

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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