Currently, Massachusetts law prohibits the ownership of “assault weapons.” This definition includes the “most popular semi-automatic rifles in the country, as well as ‘copies or duplicates’ of any such weapons,” according to the Cato Institute. The law was passed in 2004 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, who said semi-automatic firearms “are not made for recreation or self-defense.”
A group of plaintiffs challenged the ban only to see both a federal trial judge and appellate court – which included former Justice David Souter – upheld the ban. The plaintiffs are now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case, arguing that the lower courts has improperly applied the “common use” test from the court’s District of Columbia v. Heller decision.
The institute joined the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) and the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL), an NRA Massachusetts state affiliate and plaintiff in the case: Worman v. Healey. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide later this fall whether or not to hear the landmark case.