Appeals Court Upholds Massachusetts ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

The Appeals Court found in favor of defendant Maura Healey. (Photo: 1st Circuit)

The First Circuit Court of Appeals sided with state Attorney General Maura Healey and upheld the Massachusetts “assault weapon” ban. Healey expanded the ban in 2016 to include firearms previously unaffected by state law.

“In a defeat for the gun lobby and a victory for families everywhere, the First Circuit has upheld the Massachusetts assault weapons ban,” said Healey on Twitter. “Once again, the courts have agreed that the people of our state have the right to protect themselves by banning these deadly weapons.”

“This case concerns an issue of paramount importance. In the wake of increasingly frequent acts of mass violence committed with semiautomatic assault weapons and [large-capacity magazines], the interests of state and local governments in regulating the possession and use of such weapons are entitled to great weight,” reads the ruling. “Even so, we recognize that such interests must be balanced against the time-honored right of individuals to bear arms in self-defense — a right that is protected in varying degrees by the Second Amendment.”

The appeals court argued that the ban was not so far-reaching that it damaged the core of the Second Amendment and that intermediate scrutiny was sufficient. Because gun owners still have the right to defend themselves with guns that don’t count as “assault weapons,” the ban is constitutional.

See Also: Massachusetts Lawmaker: ‘It is a privilege to have a gun license’

“In this instance, that decision rests on a web of compelling governmental interests, and the fit between those interests and the restrictions imposed by the Act is both close and reasonable,” the court concluded.

Healey expanded the state’s 1998 law amid controversy, saying “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.”

Gun rights proponents argued that the expanded “assault weapon” ban could be used to target gun owners who bought their “copycat” guns prior to 2016, and that semi-automatic firearms were not military-style since they are not capable of fully-automatic fire.

Healey directed prosecutors not to apply the law to gun owners who could prove they purchased their guns prior to the 2016 expansion, although it is a directive, unwritten into the law.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Buddha0360 March 29, 2021, 10:57 am

    The camel has put his nose in the tent in several locations now. A camel like that needs to be traded off.

  • Charlie B. May 12, 2019, 6:56 am

    It’s so Sad that once the Senator were lying about her statutes as an American Native now they AG done the same things ??
    Way back then when Paul Revere said British are coming !! But hey We not teaching Americans histories any more We’ll teaching how to Cheat on an MCAS no need to studying hard just cheat on it or buys your way in to any school in US . Then We’ll blame China , Korea , Japan, Turkey, Iran, Russia for they studying hard and out smart Us all ??? What the great Country .

  • The Millionth Counsel May 3, 2019, 4:08 pm

    Massachusetts, the state that gave us Ted Kennedy. So they decide to elect a republican Governor named Mitt Romney. In any event they are not alone many NE states “assault weapons and magazine bans were up held by their state courts and even by a federal judge. The only and last hope is the supreme court.Only I would like to see at least one more pro gun judge on it before they take a semi auto/ magazine limitation . Right now with a suspected 5-4 margin we are on shaky ground

  • Fujian Xiamen Guo May 3, 2019, 12:46 pm

    Time for the American people including the people of the Great State of Massachusetts to rise up, defend the Constitution, and take lawmakers who violate the Constitution out and hang them by their necks until death is achieved….Of course, the question become, “Are there any men left in the State of Massachusetts, or are they now Communists?”

    • GWOT Vet May 3, 2019, 8:00 am

      This is precisely the type of comment that Gun-Grabbers use to label all Firearm Rights Advocates as crazy psychopaths with a propensity toward violence–further supporting their efforts to strip away our rights. Furthermore, it demonstrates just how ignorant and naive you are regarding your understanding (or lack thereof) of political systems. The revocation of the right to firearm ownership is not a Communist thing, it’s a Fascist thing. What most people don’t seem to understand, or admit, is that Fascism is firmly rooted at both extremes of the political spectrum–Right and Left, Conservative and Liberal.

      From this veteran’s perspective, Right extremists (Conservative Fascists) are just as much a threat to Humanity and Liberty as Left extremists (Liberal Fascists). Both are only interested in promoting, no, forcing, their beliefs and views upon everyone else who doesn’t share them. But in this age of ego, ignorance, and entitlement, it’s apparently taboo to have a moderate position grounded in reason and demonstrative of independent thought. That is exactly why everything important in the world is already a lost cause. Thank you for that.

      • JOHN AMATO May 3, 2019, 10:45 am

        I for one, disagree. So will countless others.

      • scott goodman May 3, 2019, 3:14 pm

        At this point I essentially agree with Fujian. Hanging is a bit too extreme. I think tar and feathering is more appropriate. This gets the message across without taking their life.

      • Dave Emery May 3, 2019, 5:31 pm

        All I know is we have the 2nd Amendment and we need to defend it, even with our lives if necessary. It is that important. I’m sure this won’t be posted, GA is a joke.

  • B May 3, 2019, 11:47 am

    Ok fine. This law should also be extended to ALL Massachusetts law enforcement, security details for politicians and private security of celebrities and the wealthy elite. They need no more protection than common people do now that “assault weapons are banned!

  • Francis Miller May 3, 2019, 9:58 am

    So since 2016 this law will prevent any deaths from occurring by the use of a semi-auto rifle in the State of MA and if it does not we can hold the State responsible?

  • Keith Clark May 3, 2019, 9:18 am

    Laws that have ZERO effect on Criminals as they buy their guns at the Mafia Flea Market.

    Want to see what you have lost oh leaders of the First Revolution.

    Just look to Venezuela. Rocks Vs Rifles….

    I guarantee the Government in Massachusetts still has plenty of rifles.

  • joefoam May 3, 2019, 8:25 am

    The quotes from the talking heads are laughable. Families are somehow safer and the NRA loses. Assault weapons are rarely used on families and the NRA is an organization of gun owners not some evil empire designed to kill innocents. With proper marketing the MSM can sell anything to an uneducated populace. As for judges siding with unconstitutional laws, they should be unseated from their benches, They should not be activists.

  • Dr Motown May 3, 2019, 6:40 am

    Until SCOTUS has the cajones to review these cases, the 2A will be chopped up piece by piece until the sheeple are completely impotent

    • Michael Gothard May 3, 2019, 8:58 am

      Took the words right out of my mouth.

    • The Bearded Pretender May 17, 2019, 7:57 pm

      Until Ginsberg has the decency to die so President Trump can put another Justice that believes in the Constitution, maybe they should wait.

  • Sean Carberry May 3, 2019, 5:15 am

    Sucks to be you dumbassachusetts😀
    Sorry for such a juvenile reaction/comment but I figured it’s what they would comprehend with the small mindedness going on there.

  • Joe Friday May 3, 2019, 4:16 am

    What does this law define as an assault weapon? Anyone convicted of an assault and using some device to exacerbate injury such as a toaster, automobile, metal vase, hammer, electric cord, pencil, etc has turned that device into an assault weapon! Prove me wrong!

    • BR549 May 3, 2019, 9:18 am

      What about the assault that greedy, self-serving, communist politicians of ASSachusetts have made on the US Constitution?

  • J Franks May 3, 2019, 2:57 am

    One more step towards total civilian disarmament. Revolution can’t happen soon enough.

  • Mike V April 30, 2019, 9:54 pm

    Yes banning the whole civilian citizen population from owning common rifles because said rifles are very occasionally used in crimes, is an entirely appropriate response and wholly consistent with the constitutional guarantee individuals have to possess arms.

    The inside out upside down and sideways logic from people whose job it is to protect our liberties is astonishing and very depressing.

    • AJ May 1, 2019, 11:06 am

      The fact that theyve been used in a few crimes has nothing to do with it. If it was the case, Muslims would be banned from entering the U.S.

      This is about tearing small chunks out of the 2nd amendment. And they’re going to tear those chunks away until the amendment is unrecognizable.

      • Mike V May 1, 2019, 12:35 pm

        And people keep swallowing the BS.

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