A week ago, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey slammed the ban-hammer on sales of “copycat” AR-style rifles in The Bay State. While her interpretation of the existing statute was legal, it sure wasn’t popular. Republican legislators are falling all over themselves trying to show their outraged constituents this will not stand! Rep. Susannah Whipps Lee, R-Athol, for example, wrote a sternly worded letter to the MA AG . . .
“If, in fact, these guns were actually banned under the 1998 law, then why has there been no prosecutorial action taken by your office or your two predecessors as Attorney General over the last two decades? What, exactly, has changed that led to your determination that these weapons were banned and being sold illegally all these years?”
Maybe that’s not the best question to ask; it’s daring Healey to outlaw previously sold “copycat assault rifles” — not just prevent their future sale.
Meanwhile, Healey’s midnight raid on Massachusetts’ residents’ gun rights set off a frenzy of buying of the very rifles she claims are so dangerous. Dealers have reported record sales.
According to data from the state Firearms Records Bureau, gun enthusiasts bought 2,549 rifles on Wednesday, the same day Healey announced that her office would rigidly enforce a 1998 law that prohibits the sale of specific semi-automatic guns such as AK-47s and AR-15s, as well as “copies or duplicates of the weapons.” By contrast, 132 of the guns were sold on Tuesday and just 51 on Monday. About 10,000 of the guns were sold in 2015.
The purchases were in defiance of an order issued by Healey that none of the guns could be sold in Massachusetts after Tuesday. Now Healey, whose intent was to get rid of the weapons, finds herself in the awkward position of trying to undo a run on what she has called “weapons of war” after they’ve already been sold.
Somehow I don’t think she’s feeling awkward. Anyway, Republican Governor Charlie Baker has written a letter of his own to Ms. Healey asking for “clarification.” (Click here to read.)
Long story short, Governor Baker suddenly woke up and realized that his previous statement of support for Healey’s immediate blanket ban on AR-style rifles had created a voter backlash destined to terminate his political career.
To forestall that event, Governor Baker’s Director of Public Safety rips Healey’s a new one, asking important questions about the technical definitions under the directive. (Click here to read.)
There is legislation afoot to modify the AG’s enforcement directive, but there’s next to no chance it will lead to a repeal of Massachusetts’ “assault weapon” ban. That train has left the station and the Democrat Party owns the railroad. Make no mistake: Healey’s lightning-like assault on “assault weapons” has generated plenty of home-state attaboys.
Statements of support for Healey came from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and others.
“These types of assault weapons have no place on our streets. We have tough gun laws in our state, and this notice will make them even tougher. I applaud AG Healey and her efforts to help make our state and all our cities safer,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.
This from the birthplace of the American Revolution, an event predicated on excessive taxation, lack of political representation and…gun control. The more things change?