Gun group protests Mass AG Healey’s ‘copycat’ weapons ban

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WORCESTER — A gaggle of gun owners staked out a busy downtown street corner Wednesday morning, the latest in a series of organized demonstrations against what they claim has been an unconstitutional expansion of the state’s assault weapons ban by Attorney General Maura Healey.

Bryan Donovan of Holden was one of about 25 people who held “Healey Hurts Families” signs and said he doubts whether the attorney general even cares about licensed gun owners.

“This is just a tactic that can be used in any form of control,” Donovan said about Healey’s enforcement order, issued in July.

He suspected that of the 400,000 licensed gun owners in the state, none have or will be voting for Healey when her term expires, meaning she “doesn’t care about their opinions.”

“Even if she cares about getting reelected, those people aren’t going to vote for her anyway,” said Donovan. “But everybody else should care about the rights abuses going on here.”

“But it’s going to be too late I’m afraid.”

Wednesday’s protest was organized by the Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts. GOAL Executive Director said he doesn’t think Healey is looking to prosecute any gun owners and instead stressed that the “political power of intimidation over hundreds of thousands of families is a lot more effective than actually prosecuting them.”

“Then everyone lives in fear because they don’t know,” Wallace added.

The state’s 1998 assault weapons ban prohibits the sale of specific guns like Colt’s AR-15 in addition to their duplicates, but Healey claims gun manufacturers have subtly changed firearm designs to make them compliant.

Wallace pointed out that the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security is responsible for approving all gun transactions. A Sept. 22 lawsuit filed jointly by several Massachusetts gun dealers and the National Sports Shooting Foundation rips Healey’s order as “unconstitutionally vague, invalid and unenforceable.”

Most recently, Healey’s office defended its decision not to make public records that may provide some insight as to how Healey arrived at her decision.

Wallace said GOAL will continue to  help organize various demonstrations to try and keep the issue in the public eye.

“I’ve always used the term that she’s launched a campaign of confusion, fear and intimidation against Massachusetts families that she didn’t politically agree with,” he said.