Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey is finding it difficult to ban a weapon she doesn’t understand.
“We could not be more explicit,” she said. “The law and our enforcement does not apply to pistols, does not apply to handguns, does not apply to any number of weapons that are already out there, available for purchase. Contrary to what the governor has suggested, there’s not confusion about this. There’s no lack of clarity about this.”
After all, what could possibly be confusing about a ban on weapons with actions “substantially similar” to AR-15s and AK-47s?
A lot, it turns out, because despite her claims of absolute clarity, Healey’s office still felt the need to release this helpful list of “Guns That Are Not Assault Weapons”:
- Any handgun on the current version of the state’s Approved Firearms Roster;
- Any .22 caliber rifle;
- Any Ruger Mini 14 or substantially-similar model weapon;
- Any of the hundreds of rifles and shotguns listed on this list;
- Any weapon that is operated by manual bolt, pump, lever, or slide action;
- Any weapon that is an antique, relic, or theatrical prop;
- Any semiautomatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition;
- Any semiautomatic shotgun that cannot hold more than five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine.
Finally, the notice concludes, “a weapon that is manufactured as an Assault Weapon cannot be made legal by alterations that allow it to discharge .22-caliber ammunition.”
So that thing about “any .22-caliber rifle” being legal (bullet #2)? Yeah, that’s not true.
The second revealing point in Healey’s list is her assurance that a “Ruger Mini 14 or substantially similar model weapon” is not an assault rifle. That’s great news for any Ruger Mini 14 fans, but anyone with an ounce of real firearm knowledge knows that a Ruger Mini 14 in 5.56 is, for all intents and purposes, functionally similar to the AR-15.
Healey’s inconsistency on this point does nothing but demonstrate her ignorance of firearm mechanics, a serious flaw for any public official looking to make rules on the manufacture and sale of these products. For the sake of MA residents, let’s hope she continues in that ignorance.