Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D) felt like one of the state gun laws needed revising, so she snapped her fingers and declared that the changes will be made, completely bypassing the state legislature.
Healy wrote in an op-ed in the Boston Globe that gun manufacturers found a way around the state's assault weapons ban, which includes "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," Healy lamented. "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."
Healy decided to end these "copycat sales" by executive fiat, and gave the definition of "copycats" as "a gun’s operating system" that "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." She also wrote that "assault weapons prohibited under our laws cannot be altered in any way."
Bearing Arms's Bob Owens writes that Healy's standard is incredibly vague and "ripe for prosecutorial abuse":
There are, after all, only a handful of basic operating systems for self-loading firearms:
- direct gas impingment
- long-stroke gas pistons
- short-stroke gas piston
Owens points out that the AG's interchangeable components standards also opens the door to other guns that aren't listed as an assault weapon to being banned since they have interchangeable parts that overlap with assault weapons under the law.
National Review's Charles Cooke writes that there are three different ways to look at Healy's actions:
- Any assault weapon on that list simply can't be sold, even if modified.
- It's a backdoor attempt to ban all semi-automatic weapons, since her standards "cover pretty much every modern firearm in existence."
- Healy will simply create her own definition of what constitutes an assault weapon.
In other words, if Healy decides that a certain weapon is banned, then she will simply declare it so, resulting in legal gun owners in Massachusetts finding themselves suddenly in possession of an illegal firearm.
Healy pulled a President Barack Obama, and has now opened the floodgates for gun rights to be curtailed by executive decree in Massachusetts.