Cato Institute, NRA-ILA and Others Agree Massachusetts “Assault Weapons” Ban Unconstitutional

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posted on November 14, 2019
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The Cato Institute recently filed an amicus brief in support of a U.S. Supreme Court petition against an unconstitutional Massachusetts firearms ban.

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.

The NRA believes this case embodies a critical moment for America’s gun owners. With 2020 presidential candidates and members of Congress encouraging the confiscation of commonly-owned firearms—like the AR-15—it is vital that the Supreme Court remind politicians that they swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, which includes our sacred Second Amendment,” said Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA executive director.

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