November 13, 2016
Here is why Maura Healey is wrong in her egregious unauthorized re-interpretation of settled law regarding so-called 'assault weapons'
The following letter is posted on the Gun Owners Action League Blog page and copied here.
GOAL Director Keith Langer is an attorney and a subscribing member of Mass Lawyers Weekly. He was dismayed recently to read an op-ed in their members only news, which supports the actions of Attorney General Healey.
KEITH G. LANGER
Attorney at Law
Admitted in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
255 Harvard Lane, Wrentham, MA 02093-1069
Phone: (508) 384-8692 Fax: (508) 384-3547
October 23, 2016
10 Milk Street, Suite 1000
Boston, MA 02108
In the October 20th issue of MLW, the editorial board declared, “AG on right side of ‘copycat’ gun issue.” I beg to differ.
Specifically, I believe the AG’s precipitate and unilateral action flouts over two decades of settled law, with little substantive basis for that action. It logically follows that the MLW editorial board’s endorsement of that fiat is disappointing.
Let us review the facts:
1. The criteria determining what is an “assault weapon” was set forth in Federal law in 1994. It remained law for a decade; from Maine to American Samoa. Everywhere, its identification of those guns specifically (if speciously) identified as “assault weapons” was understood, as were the detailed criteria and features by which other guns would be so deemed. The statutory criteria were duly applied, and the gun makers complied with them, removing those features.
2. In 1998, Chapter 180 adopted the Federal definition and criteria verbatim, incorporating it into Massachusetts law. All firearms meeting the Federal criteria, therefore, necessarily met the new, identical, Massachusetts criteria. The criteria are set forth in M.G.L. c. 140, §121.
That act further established a separate license, the License To Carry Firearms (LTC), which was required to possess any “large capacity” gun, including long arms. So-called “assault weapons” were, inherently by definition, “large capacity,” meaning the legislature created a new firearms license which was required to own these guns.
Therefore, the Massachusetts legislature clearly knew what an “assault weapon” was, as it defined both the guns and “large capacity feeding devices” which are the fundamental basis for that definition. Expressly addressing those issues, the legislature specifically provided for the legal ownership of “large capacity” guns and mags, both “preban” and “postban,” including those guns defined it defined as “assault weapons.”
In short, the legislature statutorily authorized the possession and transfer of the very class of firearms AG Healey has unilaterally declared “illegal.” Yet the MLW Editorial Board endorses her action.
3. In 2005, Chapter 150 again addressed firearms ownership and licensing. It re-enacted the exact same definition of “assault weapon” verbatim, and again kept the requirement of a specific license, the LTC, to possess any “large capacity” firearm.
4. In 2014, after exhaustive “listening tours” and protracted negotiations between the house and senate, Chapter 284 was enacted. Yet again, no change was made to the well-settled, twice-enacted definition of “assault weapon,” or the criteria by which a gun would be so defined. Yet again, the LTC was kept as a requirement for owning any “large capacity firearm.”
AG Healey’s directive flouts all of the above statutes; she ignores the clear intent, express language, and documented legislative history of one Federal statute and two state statutes specifically defining “assault weapon.” She does so with no consultation with, still less prior notice to, those directly affected; gun owners and dealers.
Such notice as was given was, initially, in a letter to the Globe, with mere hours before her reversal of two decades of settled law took place. It resulted in those guns lawfully acquired and possessed unilaterally being declared unlawful, exposing the owners to criminal sanctions. Yet the MLW Editorial Board endorses that act.
Note that all three (3) of AG Healey’s immediate predecessors never interpreted the “assault weapon” statute, M.G.L. c. 140, §121, as she does. That includes Editorial Board member Harshbarger. Are we really to believe three (3) consecutive Attorneys General failed to comprehend the law?
AG Healey’s dictat goes directly against the well-settled, clearly defined, and thrice-enacted law. The MLW editorial board’s endorsement of that act is ill-considered.
Very truly yours,
Keith G. Langer
October 1, 2016
DAVE SOUZA: Dear AG Healey, ban pressure cookers, not guns
A few months ago, in a major publicity stunt prior to the Democratic National Convention, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey banned the sale of assault weapons in Massachusetts. Just like that, she overstepped the state politicians in Boston and decided to call the shots .............read more, click either link below....
or use http://tinyurl.com/zft7y8d
OPPOSE H.3081 THIS IS A DANGEROUS BILL! Last Wednesday, in addition to the bills to legalize stun guns/tasers, the Committee heard testimony on H.3081 An Act establishing extreme risk protective Orders.
This is more than just an anti gun bill it is a serious dangerous step toward your health provider, or social worker or local official, or family member, or a copy of an out of state restraining order to allow the government to place you under this 'extreme risk protective order' and immediately confiscate your firearms and ammo!
On the sworn or certified word of one of these people who think you might be a danger to yourself or to others what is essentially a 'restraining order' ... can be placed on you, not by the person abused, but by anyone who thinks you might perpetrate an abuse. And this bill gives a number of different people the power to do this.
This is very dangerous precedence to set when you start broadening the type and number of people with power to strip your civil rights. Where are we headed? This law says a family member can file this against you! A Social Worker can file against you!! Do you trust all your family members?? What's next? Your neighbor? Are you going to think twice now about getting mental health services from a social worker or health provider??
the NRA has provided a summary and contact link to the Judiciary Committee to oppose the bill.
Here's a copy of the bill from the State website:
Also here is a link to a newspaper article describing some of Jim Wallace's (Exec. Director of GOAL) testimony on the bill and additional reporting on the common sense suppressor bill.
Please use the NRA Link to oppose H.3081
PS: H.3081 was filed by Rep David Linsky of Natick. Mr. Linsky is a prolific filer of anti 2A/gun rights bills!
6/13/2017 Brits want their guns back!!
Still no sufficient response from Healey.
See January 4, 2017 report from MassLive.com
Mass. gun owners appeal for more information about Attorney General Maura Healey and her 'copycat' weapons crackdown.
Read more below at either url:
Rep Jim Lyons statement about Maura Healey.
Liberty Doll explains the Enforcement Notice
August 6, 2016 Great News!
National Shooting Sports Foundation to file suit against Maura Healey UNCONSTITUTIONAL action expanding MA Assault Weapon Ban.
National Shooting Sports Foundation to take legal action against Maura Healey
Posted on August 4, 2016
NSSF Seeks Massachusetts Retailers to Join Legal Action
NSSF announced earlier today that we have retained expert counsel and will be proceeding with a challenge in Massachusetts against Attorney General Maura Healey’s “Enforcement Notice” that has had the effect of banning the sales of semiautomatic rifles in the Commonwealth. NSSF is seeking Massachusetts retailers willing to join in the lawsuit as plaintiffs. There will be no legal cost to those doing so. Interested retailers should contact Patrick Shay email@example.com with all necessary contact information as soon as possible.
NSSF for the past two weeks has been inundated with calls and emails seeking clarifications to the “Enforcement Notice.” Unfortunately, they are in the dark. The Attorney General’s Office has offered little to no guidance and simply directs our licensed retailers to its website. At the this time we recommend that retailers cease any communications with the Attorney General’s Office conducted without the assistance of legal counsel. Anyone who could potentially be in violation of the new interpretations, or a further amendment of them, may be subject to future prosecution. This means any information you might give that office, no matter how innocuous, could be used against you.
We would also strongly recommend that if the Attorney General, or other agency, contacts you requesting information that you do not respond until you have consulted legal counsel. Make especially certain that any legal counsel you seek is an expert on firearms and constitutional law.
Once again, NSSF is seeking any retailer who wants to be a part of the lawsuit to contact us immediately. This is, most likely, not the end of her blatant attack on our industry. Late last week, the AG’s office sought information from some of our member companies regarding manufacturing dates of specific firearms. The lack of action on behalf of the legislature could be interpreted by the AG’s office as providing tacit approval to continue.
Our retailers have been operating in the state for the past 18 years under the same interpretation that has been supported by all state regulatory agencies. During this time no prior attorney general has attempted to usurp the constitutional role of the legislature or the courts to essentially rewrite state law. This action indicates a clear antigun political agenda that overnight turned law abiding Massachusetts citizens and federally licensed manufacturers, distributors and retailers into potential felons.
NSSF will continue to update you as we move forward in our legal challenge.
Maura Healey Bans semi- auto rifles immediately!! Without notice or any input from Legislature! If you own one you are now potentially a felon. Dealers cannot sell their inventory!! It went into effect immediately!
Women Leading Growth in CCW permits!
July 2017 Crime Prevention Research Center