The National Shooting Sports Foundation joined four Massachusetts gun shops to sue Bay State Attorney General Maura Healey over her "enforcement notice" expanding the state's assault weapons ban.
NSSF and the gun shops argue that Healey’s gun ban is “unconstitutionally vague, invalid, and unenforceable” and the way she implemented it robbed gun store owners of their right to due process.
Via the Boston Globe:
In the latest suit, the gunmakers argue that the federal law was never a broad ban on semiautomatic firearms but a prohibition of specific “assault weapons” and their exact duplicates or those with identical features. The law did not contain and was never interpreted to include a “similarity” test or “interchangeability” test to define what constitutes an assault weapon, the suit says.
When Massachusetts legislators enacted the assault weapons ban in 1998, they considered banning copycat guns by defining copies as those with nearly identical bolt and receiver designs. But the Legislature rejected that amendment, instead adhering to the definitions in the federal law. For over two decades, gun sellers in Massachusetts have interpreted that to mean that the only guns prohibited in Massachusetts are those that specifically appear on the list of banned assault weapons or that meet the features test.
The attorney general’s regulations reinterpreted the “assault weapon” definition without any notice or public hearing, and out of conformity with the law’s legislative history and intent, the suit states.
The enforcement notice “radically redefines the meaning of the statutory phrase ‘copies and duplicates of assault weapons’ in a manner specifically rejected by the Massachusetts Legislature before it amended the state licensing law in 1998,” the suit says.
The confusion was compounded when the attorney general’s office issued a followup notice in August delineating “Guns That Are Not Assault Weapons,” and then revised specific entries on that list several times, the suit says.
Read more here.