Massachusetts gun rights group to Healey: ‘Rescind and resign’
By Evan Lips | August 16, 2016, 6:11 EST
BOXBORO — Weeks after Attorney General Maura Healey released an “enforcement notice” which opponents claim unconstitutionally expanded the state’s assault-weapon ban overnight, a crowd of more than 500 Massachusetts gun owners filled a hotel conference room to plan their next move.
Jim Wallace, executive director of the the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, claims that Healey’s new, sudden gun law interpretation means that thousands of Massachusetts residents are now at risk of being charged with a felony.
“She reinvented the gun laws of the state, and actually placed hundreds of thousands of families at risk of prosecution, so we’re here tonight to rally to the cause — basically what we’re here to try to tell the world is, if this can happen to us, this can happen to you,” Wallace said Monday night just before GOAL’s banquet was slated to begin.
“We understood the rules. The industry understood the rules. The government understood the rules. And then suddenly one day the attorney general decides she’s going to change those rules, placing — again — hundreds of thousands of families in jeopardy.”
Wallace said Monday night’s rally and banquet was a sellout:
— GOAL (@GOALupdate) August 15, 2016
Outside the banquet hall, Wallace told a NewBostonPost reporter that the event was not open to the press.
“This one’s closed, this is for the members,” he noted.
Healey announced her new interpretation of a section of Massachusetts firearm law on July 20. She claims that her new enforcement notice “clarifies what constitutes a ‘copy’ or ‘duplicate weapon’ under the assault weapons ban.
“Copies or duplicates of banned assault rifles, including copies of the Colt AR-15, and the Kalashnikov (sic) AK-47, are prohibited by the Massachusetts assault weapons ban,” her July 20 interpretation states. “Despite the law, an estimated 10,000 copycat assault weapons were sold in Massachusetts in 2015 alone.”
Wallace called Healey’s act a “political stunt.”
“We know this isn’t about public safety,” Wallace said. “There is not a problem in Massachusetts with any of these types of guns. There may be a situation across the country, but those issues are mental health issues and terrorism on U.S. soil.
“So rather than handle those issues, the attorney general is going to come after hundreds of thousands of lawful families. We know this is a political stunt, so, what we need her to do — is rescind, and resign.”
On July 26 Gov. Charlie Baker wrote Healey a letter, telling the elected attorney general to clarify several “ambiguities” for “thousands of gun owners who were told they were following the rules for 18 years.”
Wallace said Monday’s GOAL event is “just the beginning.”
“There’s going to be more events down the line,” he added. “We need to get this message out to people. And even to people who might agree with what she did, because they don’t like families who own firearms, just remember that the next attorney general — if you allow an attorney general to have this much power, the next attorney general may not agree with you.
“Figure out how bad your life could be overnight if they suddenly decide to change the rules.”
Healey meanwhile has pointed out that the five previous elected attorney generals — all Democrats — have said they support her new gun law interpretation:
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) August 14, 2016