Judge upholds assault weapons ban

Also says Healey's crackdown on copycat guns was legal


A federal judge ruled the state’s 1998 assault weapons ban did not violate the Second Amendment and also upheld Attorney General Maura Healey’s 2016 decision to notify gun owners that “copycat” assault weapons were also subject to the ban.

In his  47-page order, US District Court Judge William Young said the AR-15 “and its analogs, along with high capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to ‘bear Arms.’ ”

“Both their general acceptance and their regulation, if any, are policy matters not for the courts, but left to the people directly through their elected representatives,” Young 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. 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.”

Young was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan. In his ruling, he said the phrase “copies or duplicates” associated assault weapons ban enforcement was “not impermissibly vague” and said gun owners who brought the suit offered no reason to believe “that the threat of arbitrary enforcement is not purely speculative.”

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Healey issued a statement saying Young’s decision “vindicates the right of the people of Massachusetts to protect themselves from these weapons of war and my office’s efforts to enforce the law.”

“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. Families across the country should take hear in this victory,” she said.