A few weeks ago, MA Attorney General Maura Healey unilaterally changed the state’s “assault weapon” ban to include thousands of weapons that the legislature never intended to ban when they passed the law in the early 1990s.
Like most assault weapons bans, the MA law has two components: (1) weapons that are banned by name (AR-15, AK-47, UZI, etc) and (2) significantly similar weapons that have 2 or more ‘evil features’ that are common to ‘assault weapons’ (flash hider, pistol grip, collapsable stock, etc).
In the wake of this ban, gun manufacturers did what they always do: comply with the ban and make MA-legal weapons.
The law prohibited them from calling their rifles “AR-15s” so they called them something else. Then, it was just a matter of building the firearm without using a prohibited number of ‘scary’ looking parts.
Well, the Massachusetts Attorney General decided to redefine what constitutes an “identical” firearm. Instead of using the “evil features” test as the law requires, the AG has decided to define an identical firearm as any weapon that utilizes parts that would fit in an assault weapon.
Using an AR-15 trigger pack automatically makes a gun an “assault weapon.” Using an AR-15 gas tube automatically makes a gun an assault weapon.
If the part fits into a gun banned exclusively by name, then any gun that uses that part is also banned.
You can imagine that gun owners are not pleased. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced it will be officially challenging the change.
“For 20 years the requirements of the act were well understood by industry and consumers exercising their Second Amendment rights in the state of Massachusetts,” NSSF General Counsel Lawrence Keane said. “This attorney general, for purely political reason to advance her career, has chosen to trample on the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
It will take court action to put a stay on the ruling. Then, pro-gun lawmakers plan to overrule the AG’s decision by pushing legislation through the legislature.