Federal Judge Sides With AG Healey, Rules Second Amendment Does Not Cover AR-15s & High-Capacity Mags

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/04/06/federal-judge-sides-with-ag-healey-rules-second-amendment-does-not-cover-ar-15s-high-capacity-mags/


BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey is hailing a federal judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Massachusetts’s 1998 assault weapons ban, a ruling she said “vindicates the right of the people of Massachusetts to protect themselves from these weapons of war and our efforts to enforce the law.”

The order was handed down by Massachusetts U.S. District Court Judge William Young, who concluded firearms such as “AR-15s and its analogs, along with large-capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to bear arms.”

Young later summarized his decision by hinting that if residents living in Democrat-dominated states like Massachusetts are fed up with strict gun laws, they should move elsewhere.

“Both their general acceptance and their regulation, if any, are policy matters not for courts, but left to the people directly through their elected representatives,” he wrote. “In the absence of federal legislation, Massachusetts is free to ban these weapons and large-capacity magazines.

“Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens.”

Young added the following, and included a nod to the deceased  conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

“These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment. Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous, and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy. Justice Scalia would be proud.”

Healey, meanwhile, called it a “victory.”

“Strong gun laws save lives,” she wrote in a Twitter post Friday morning. “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.

“Families across the country should take heart in this victory.”

Young also sided with the so-called “copycat” ban on weapons designed to look like AR-15s, initiated by Healey in July 2016. Young pointed out that Healey’s 2016 directive did not seek to prosecute individuals who had purchased firearms ahead of the release of her enforcement notice.

“That fact, together with the plaintiffs’ failure to provide this court with any other reason to believe they face imminent prosecution for these past transactions, weighs heavily against concluding that there is a credible threat of prosecution,” Young wrote.

Young was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

The lawsuit, filed in part by the Massachusetts Gun Owners’ Action League, was brought against Healey and Governor Charlie Baker’s administration in January 2017. The complaint claimed that the state’s ban “is a non-technical, entirely fabricated, and political term of uncertain definition and scope.”

Federal court records show that in December both sides motioned for summary judgement, and presented their arguments in February.

Young ultimately ruled that “assault weapons and LCMs [large-capacity magazines] are not within the scope of the personal ‘right to bear arms’ under the Second Amendment.”

His ruling plainly determined that AR-15 rifles, while lacking the automatic-firing of the similarly-looking M16s used in military combat, “fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment.”

“But wait, argue the plaintiffs, the AR-15 is an extraordinarily popular firearms,” Young noted, before ruling that the “AR-15’s present-day popularity is not constitutionally material.”

Young’s decision arguably proves he agrees with the plaintiff’s claim that the ban is political — but not in the manner in which the Gun Owners’ Action League had hoped — as he ultimately ruled that the ban constitutes a policy matter “left to the people directly through their elected representatives.”

Healey held a press conference Friday afternoon to celebrate Young’s ruling. Flanked by several Boston Public Schools students she said helped organize last month’s pro-gun control march on Boston Common, Healey called the ruling backing the ban a victory to those who are “tired of the gun lobby trying to re-write the rules.”

“I want to remind people about how we got here today,” Healey said before delving into describing how she arrived at her decision to issue the 2016 copycat directive — which landed following a deadly Orlando massacre and just prior to the Democratic National Convention. “Twenty years ago we decided as a state that these military-style weapons had no place in Massachusetts.

“But it turned out the gun manufacturers were selling them here anyway,” she added.

Healey said the “gun lobby” took to the courts to “overturn our law.”

“Today, they got their answer,” she said. “Today the court declared that our constitution provides no right to own an assault weapon or a large-capacity magazine, and Massachusetts has a right to keep our people safe.”

She added that it will be “up to the gun lobby” as to whether the case is appealed, and added that her office is “ready to confront whatever challenges the gun lobby puts in our way.”

A little less than two hours after Healey finished holding her press conference, the Gun Owners’ Action League released a statement criticizing the ruling and Healey, but not saying whether an appeal is forthcoming:

Chris Pinto of Massachusetts Gun Rights also expressed concerns with Young’s decision, calling it “clearly political.”

“But what nobody seems to mention is that from 2007 to 2014, not one person in Massachusetts died because of a rifle, but in 2016 Healey issues an enforcement diktat against rifles,” Pinto told the New Boston Post in an email. “The constant claims she makes that gun laws reduce crime is simply impossible to prove.”

WATCH: Healey presser on court ruling:

READ Judge Young’s order:

Worman Dismissal-SJ Ruling 4-6-18 by Evan on Scribd