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The Danger Of Massachusetts' Mistake

The Danger Of Massachusetts' Mistake

We’ve seen an awful lot of awful moves by anti-gun politicians this year, from the political theater of the “sit in” by House Democrats, to California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom trying repeatedly to blame the NRA for the actions of violent criminals and terrorists. Heck, this week Hillary Clinton is publicly tying herself to America’s “nanny-in-chief” by allowing former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to address the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. As bad as those actions might be, however, they’re not as awful as the recent decision by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to completely rewrite the state’s gun laws in order to institute a sweeping ban on commonly owned firearms in the state. 

Healey’s reinterpretation of the state’s “assault weapons ban” means that she believes thousands of firearms legally sold in the state were actually illegal sales. While she says she won’t prosecute anyone for buying or selling semi-automatic long guns over the past two decades, she will indeed charge gun owners and firearm retailers if they sell any of the newly banned guns going forward. Not surprisingly, sales of the banned firearms soared on the day Healey made her announcement, and hundreds of gun owners turned out to protest in front of the state capitol on the Sunday after the AG made her decree public. 

That proclamation, by the way, flies in the face of the “How to Talk About Guns” talking points recently released by the anti-gun group Americans for Responsible Solutions. In their view, gun-control groups shouldn’t be pushing gun bans at all right now, because they need to portray themselves as “reasonable” people who aren’t really interested in gun control at all. That may be why you haven’t seen any of the big anti-gun groups comment on the sweeping gun ban dreamt up by the Massachusetts AG. They certainly aren’t opposed to such bans, but they don’t want to call attention to them, either. 

You’d think the media would be interested as well, but they seem strangely unwilling or unable to cover the state’s new gun ban. Sure, Boston media is covering the story, but The New York Times, the Washington Post, network and cable news outlets, and even most of the online media like Buzzfeed and Vox haven’t provided much (and in some cases, haven’t provided any) coverage of what is undeniably a huge story, particularly given the push for gun control that we’ve seen in the media recently. I would think that if an elected official took the step of declaring thousands of firearms to be suddenly illegal, the media would be full of figures standing up and cheering. Instead, we’re hearing the sounds of crickets chirping. 

Attorney General Maura Healey. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Then again, if you were a gun-control advocate, would you really be praising this move? The attorney general declares that certain firearms shouldn’t be sold to civilians, and that the state is a more dangerous place because those guns are available for sale. After the declaration that the sale of these firearms is now illegal, more than 2,200 of them were sold in a single day. And yet the attorney general doesn’t seem all that interested in arresting or prosecuting anyone for any of those sales. Even stranger, the attorney general says despite the spike in sales, the state is still safer because the law has now been clarified. But that “clarification” declared those thousands of gun sales to be against the law, and there are now thousands more firearms “on the street,” guns that the attorney general (and gun-control advocates) believes shouldn’t be in the hands of anybody but law enforcement and the military. Oh, and by the way, this has also ticked off a sizeable number of both Republican and Democrat lawmakers, who are now vowing to push back legislatively against Healey’s power grab. 

In one ill-considered move, Healey proved that the “no one’s trying to ban guns” argument is a flat-out lie; strongly suggested that she doesn’t want to arrest anyone (at least not before Election Day) for violating her new interpretation of the Massachusetts “assault weapons ban” for fear that gun owners would (rightfully) look like victims of an overbearing and out-of-control government agency; and made it clear that political concerns, not public safety, is the driving force behind the anti-gun movement. As an added bonus, Healey also laid bare the division in the gun-control movement about the tactics they’re using to advance their agenda while providing further motivation for gun owners in Massachusetts and around the country to get involved in this year’s election. 

Yeah, I can kind of understand why gun-control advocates aren’t talking much about Massachusetts. But I also understand that gun owners must talk about and take Massachusetts to heart, because similar “interpretations” of the law could be coming to your state next. Unless we stand and fight for our rights this election year, we could soon find that they’ve been “interpreted” out of existence.

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