Federal Judge Upholds Massachusetts’s Assault-Weapons Ban

Massachusetts’ ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines doesn’t violate the Second Amendment of the Constitution, a U.S. judge ruled, handing a victory to gun-control advocates seeking to pass such a law nationwide as deadly mass shootings become commonplace.
"The AR-15 and its analogs, along with large capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to ‘bear arms,’" U.S. District Judge William Young wrote in a decision Thursday in Boston, dismissing a lawsuit over the state law.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was sued by a gun-rights group in response to her July 2016 decision to broaden the definition of “copies or duplicates" of AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles that are prohibited under the state’s 1998 assault-weapon bans.
“These are weapons of war that belong on the battlefield, and we were pleased today to see yet another court agree with that stance,” Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which wasn’t involved in the case, said in a statement.
Gun litigation has taken on a new urgency following the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were left dead. Survivors mobilized on social media and successfully pushed for a new gun-control law in Florida, which triggered a lawsuit by the National Rifle Association. The law raised the age to purchase a gun to 21 from 18. The U.S. Supreme Court in November left intact a ruling that upheld Maryland’s ban on assault weapons.
Healey beefed up enforcement after the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed by a gunman brandishing a semi-automatic rifle and a semi-automatic pistol. Healey said the decision vindicates the right of people to protect themselves.
"Strong gun laws save lives, and we will not be intimidated by the gun lobby in our efforts to end the sale of assault weapons and protect our communities and schools," Healey said in a statement. "Families across the country should take heart in this victory.”

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