Last week, Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey went rogue, overstepping her authority as the state’s chief law enforcement officer to announce a ban on so-called “copycat assault weapons.”
This past Saturday, hundreds of gun owners from around The Bay State responded by gathering at the steps of the State House to express their ire at Healey’s sudden decree.
“If that woman was here right now, I might tar and feather her,” John Frye, of Tauton, told WCVB.
There has been a lot of confusion over what Healey’s new interpretation of the law means for gun owners.
GOAL, Gun Owners’ Action League, a Massachusetts-based gun rights advocacy group, said in a news alert that Healey has “essentially banned the possession, ownership, or transfer of ALL semi-automatic rifles that utilize a detachable magazine.”
Currently, GOAL is working with a number of attorneys to figure out what recourse gun owners have to challenge Healey’s prohibition.
“I’ll leave that up to the experts we’re talking with. And I’m sure that, hopefully, with a week or so, we’ll make an announcement,” said Jim Wallace, GOAL’s executive director.
Additionally, 58 state legislators sent a letter to Healey’s office expressing “strong concern” about her decision.
“For the last 18 years, the law has been implemented and enforced consistently, both by your office and your predecessors,” states the letter.
“Your new directive, which has been presented by your office as nothing more than a closing of ‘loophole’ in the current law, appears in fact to be much more than that: the enforcement of a whole new law that unfairly infringes on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners in Massachusetts,” the letter continues.
The lawmakers conclude by iterating their objection to Healey’s actions with the hope that she’ll reconsider and rescind the Enforcement Notice.
One shouldn’t hold their breath. Thus far, Healey hasn’t shown any remorse or regret for going rogue. However, her office has tried to set the record straight amongst all the panic and confusion.
“Claims that we are changing the law and taking guns away from law-abiding citizens are inaccurate and misinformed,” Jillian Fennimore, a spokeswoman for Healey, wrote in a statement.
The road forward is unclear. Surely there will be a legal challenge against the Enforcement Notice, but the fate of that challenge is uncertain. So, too, is the fate of any opposition in the Legislature. What is clear is it’ll take time before there is any resolution — how long is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, many law-abiding gun owners may find themselves — knowingly or unknowingly — in the crosshairs of Healey’s unconstitutional Enforcement Notice.