Blogging about laws are generally not much fun but sometimes the impact on our little corner of the universe is noteworthy and unavoidable. Back on July 20th Pete blogged about the Attorney General of Massachusetts’ clarification as to what they consider “copy” or “duplicate weapons to those that are already prohibited by current state law. Governor Charlie Baker and his Public Safety Secretary, Daniel Bennett, sent letters to the AG with a simple request to clarify her position.
Secretary Bennett went on in his letter to say “There is a great deal of uncertainty as to which weapons you consider to be assault weapons” in his two-page letter. “This uncertainty could easily lead to uneven application of the law … and it would be in the best interest of all involved to have additional clarity.”
Bennet seems to be inferring that the Attorney General was not clear on the distinction between semi-automatic modern sporting rifles and true, fully automatic assault rifles. He even went on to say that “a large number of firearms, including pistols that have been sold here legally for decades, may be unintentionally affected.”
Haley’s directive that was unveiled last week states the following:
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.
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