Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey wrote to gun dealers last week decreeing that firearms that had been legal for 18 years under the state’s so-called “assault weapons” ban were now illegal, effective immediately. Now, Gov. Charlie Baker has demanded clarification of Healey’s unilateral and brazen extralegal maneuver.
In a letter, Baker warned Healey that “ambiguities in your notice require clarification for responsible gun owners who simply want to follow the rules and ... who were told they were following the rules for 18 years.” As Baker told WGBH-FM last Thursday, Healey’s effective rewrite of the law “potentially leaves tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens open to criminal charges.”
In a companion letter, Daniel Bennett, Massachusetts’ secretary of public safety and security, warned that Healey’s two-part so-called “test” for the legality of a firearm is so vague and ambiguous that it could ban many, if not all, semi-automatic pistols and rifles. So, is the attorney general just dumb about guns, or is an open-ended ban what she was shooting for all along?