Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, fabricates an “assault rifle loophole” as a way to take extraordinary action to ban semi-automatic rifles in the state. Her op/ed in the Boston Globe with my commentary is below.
ORLANDO. BATON ROUGE. Falcon Heights. Dallas. Baton Rouge again.
Five horrific headlines in five weeks. Each story unique in its circumstances, but bound by a common thread: human lives taken by a gun.
There are myriad issues underlying each of these tragedies: fear, racism, mistrust, hate. These are critical issues that we, as a country, have an obligation to honestly and forthrightly address. And they’re issues my office is working hard to tackle alongside our partners in the community, in law enforcement, and in government.
But there’s one issue that can be addressed right now — the proliferation of guns, particularly assault weapons.
By excusing the antagonist human element in each of these cases—ignoring that it was a hateful human who chose to murder—Healey is aiding the criminal by lessening the heinousness of the crime with her insistence that an inanimate object have equal share of the blame. The problem is the anti-cop rhetoric encouraged by her party from her party's voters, the problem is the racial politics her party employees as a GOTV effort. We are at the point where the left's longstanding use of identity politics to spark racial divides and disregard for authority results in dead cops. Admitting this causes Healey to indict her own party and self, and this is an ideology more concerned with winning than doing right by the republic.
Here in Massachusetts, 10,000 assault weapons were sold just in the last year — each one nearly identical to the rifle used to gun down 49 innocent people in Orlando. In the week after the Pulse nightclub massacre, sales of weapons strikingly similar to the Sig Sauer MCX used at Pulse jumped as high as 450 percent over the previous week — just in Massachusetts.
Probably because the first remarks from the mouths of anti-gun politicians were calls to ban these firearms. Democrats and the press didn't even accurately identify the rifle in question until days after, which is important to get correct when your first response is to call for a specific gun ban.
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.
What is an “AR-15 style assault rifle?” The Sig Sauer MCX has two things in common with the AR-15: They both come in black and are rifles. Bob Owens has a terrific primer on how the MCX is not an AR-15 or AR-15 “style” and anyone arguing such is an idiot.
Additionally, such firearms are not sued to commit mass murder. They're used by mothers to defend themselves and their children against home invaders. They're used by teens home alone who have to defend themselves during a home burglary. They're used by men to defend themselves and their wives against criminals who would harm them. They're used by college students to defend themselves against home intruders who waited in a basement for a planned ambush. They're used to defend businesses from robbers. They were used by business owners to defend themselves and their livelihoods during the LA riots when police were overcome. They're used by young competitive shooters like this 15 year-old and my own oldest child who is entering competitive shooting. They're used by moms like me as another home defense rifle. Murder by AR-15 or semiautomatic rifle—let's be adults and use accurate terms here, not “assault weapons” as applied to civilian use firearms—accounts for barely a fraction of gun homicides. The impotent “assault weapons ban” in the 90s had zero effect on gun homicides as it only regulated cosmetic features (any two from a list of five, including a detachable magazine) which Democrats determined made rifles shootier. (No one has been able to explain how a collapsable shoulder stock, forward grip, suppressor, or any of these things make bullets shoot faster from the barrel of a gun.) You're more likely to be murdered by hands, feet, and fists than a rifle. I don't see the Healey moving to ban those things as it doesn't advance the narrative of anti-gun ideology. In fact, gun homicides have decreased by 40% and Americans are safer now than they've been at any point in my lifetime (this as the number of gun owners has dramatically expanded), but fewer than 12% are aware because the media colludes with anti-gun lobbyists and activists to suppress this information from the public.
Just because several murderous thugs choose to commit evil with stolen, illegally transferred, and questionably obtained (Newtown, San Bernardino respectively) is not a Constitutional justification to disarm the law-abiding.
How in Massachusetts, then, home to some of the strongest gun laws in the country, do we allow people to buy these guns?
Because it is their right and they are not prohibited possessors.
The gun industry has found a way to exploit our laws, a loophole of potentially horrific proportions. And it’s time we act.
Here is where Healey goes crazy(ier). Because the Second Amendment protects a citizen's right to bear arms, it's the fault of the “gun lobby” that people exercise this right and purchase them. That this right exists is a loophole, according to Healey.
The Massachusetts assault weapons ban mirrors the federal ban Congress allowed to expire in 2004. It prohibits the sale of specific weapons like the Colt AR-15 and AK-47 and explicitly bans “copies or duplicates” of those weapons. But gun manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to define what a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon is. They market “state compliant” copycat versions of their assault weapons to Massachusetts buyers. They sell guns without a flash suppressor or folding or telescoping stock, for example, small tweaks that do nothing to limit the lethalness of the weapon.
That will end now. On Wednesday, we are sending a directive to all gun manufacturers and dealers that makes clear that the sale of these copycat assault weapons is illegal in Massachusetts. With this directive, we will ensure we get the full protection intended when lawmakers enacted our assault weapons ban, not the watered-down version of those protections offered by gun manufacturers.
What is a “copycat assault weapon?” This is a firearm-illiterate term. Manufacturers followed laws—like Black Rain Ordnance with their NY compliant AR-15. Healey wants to ban semi-automatic rifles and spitefully penalize manufacturers for duitfully following existing laws. Healey shows her hand and the hands of anti-gun advocates everywhere: It isn't about banning accessories, it's always and only ever been about banning the entire gun.
The directive specifically outlines two tests to determine what constitutes a “copy” or “duplicate” of a prohibited weapon. 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. Assault weapons prohibited under our laws cannot be altered in any way to make their sale or possession legal in Massachusetts.
This is an idiotic description that will classify even more firearms as “assault weapons” because some share interchangeable mags or other parts with the black scary rifles. Bob Owens hit it out of the park detailing just how idiotic this new law is in this regard, particularly how the interchangeability of certain parts renders things like a bolt-action Mossberg MVP Scout an “assaulty weapon”:
Healey also states that firearms that have “has components that are interchangeable with those of a banned weapon” are also illegal. This is even more ripe for abuse than the blatantly unconstitutional and flippant “essentially the same” operating system test, as many firearms—including those that are clearly not “assault weapons” by even the most insane definition—share components with firearm on the list.
This bolt-action rifle is the Mossberg MVP Scout. It is designed to use the same magazines as a number of .308-caliber rifles absurdly defined as “assault weapons” by name and Healey’s capricious “duplicate” definition under Massachusetts law. It also have a threaded muzzle designed to use common .30-caliber muzzle devices share with rifles on the “you can’t have it, prole” list, and features sections of picatinny rail (both fixed and detachable) familiar to a wide range of firearms, including many on the banned list. Because of these multiple “shared components,” this bolt-action rifle is clearly defined as an “assault weapon” according to Healey’s insane edict.
So now everything is illegal except handguns, which account for double what rifles such as this do respective to gun homicide, but it's bad optics for anti-gun groups to target hand guns, thus the focus shift in the 90s.
We recognize that most residents who purchased these guns in the past believed they were doing so legally, so this directive will not apply to possession of guns purchased before Wednesday. In the dozen years since the federal assault weapons ban lapsed, only seven states have instituted their own assault weapons ban. Many of those bans have been challenged (unsuccessfully) by the gun industry, and we anticipate our directive may be too. But our job is to enforce state laws and to keep people safe. This directive does both.
It doesn't do anything but violate the Second Amendment.
In the face of utter inaction by Congress, states have a duty to enact and enforce laws that protect people from gun violence. If Washington won’t use its power to get these guns off our streets, we will. Not only do we have the legal authority to do so, we have a moral obligation to do so.
Healey also has an obligation to make educated, informed decisions, which this isn't. She also has an obligation to be truthful, which she isn't on gun homicides. Her legal authority is derived from the consent of the governed and if Massachusetts voters don't like that their consent is being abused to remove their freedoms they should act at the ballot box and in the courts against this gun grab.