Healey cracks down on more gun sales

AG reaches agreement with Worcester shop to cease dealing illegal handguns, comply with state regs

ATTORNEY GENERAL MAURA HEALEY continued her crackdown on the sale of illegal guns in the state by forcing a Worcester gun dealer to stop selling illegal handguns and pay $35,000 in costs and penalties.

Healey, in her latest display of imposing Massachusetts regulations long on the books but rarely enforced, charged that The Gun Parlor sold handguns that were not on a state-approved list; sold handguns that had a barrel length less than three inches without giving the mandated warning about accuracy limitations; and sold Glock handguns that did not have the required load indicators or magazine safety disconnect. In addition, the dealer was charged with failing to confirm customers who claimed to be law enforcement officers were actually in service and allowed to buy certain handguns.

The owners of The Gun Parlor agreed to pay $10,000 in attorney fees and court costs as well as a $25,000 fine, which will not be collected if the dealer abides by the agreement for two years. They also agreed to stop selling guns that are not in compliance with state regulations as well as stop advertising inventory that misleads customers into believing they can buy an outlawed weapon.

It is the first enforcement agreement with a gun dealer by Healey involving violations of the state’s gun laws and regulations since she took office. Healey has made a national name for herself as well as an army of gun-advocate critics for her interpretation of state laws she says gives her the power to ban the sale and ownership of certain guns and rifles.

“In Massachusetts, we rely on gun dealers to help ensure responsible gun ownership and use by following the law,” Healey said in a statement “Today’s agreement requires this Worcester gun dealer to come into compliance with our firearm safety laws and regulations, and do its part to prevent access to unsafe and illegal weapons in our communities.”

The action came after Healey sent out a directive to the state’s 350 gun dealers in December, 2015, that she intended to enforce consumer protection regulations that were enacted in 1997 that tightened up the sale of handguns and restricted sales to only those on approved lists or were in compliance with the regulations if purchased by law enforcement officials. The regulations also included requirements for safety warnings and disclosures on handguns.

Healey has been buffing her bona fides as a gun safety advocate and leading the charge to crack down on gun sales since taking over the office in 2015. She signed onto a national effort to get Congress to lift the ban on gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control.

Last July, she created a firestorm by announcing a ban on the sale of copycat assault weapons she said violated the state law passed in 1998. She said dealers and manufacturers were flaunting the law by making minor adjustments and claiming the rifles were “Massachusetts compliant” despite being the same as the guns that were banned by statute.

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Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

Her directive triggered a gun-buying frenzy in which more than 2,500 of the rifles were bought the day she made the announcement, though she declined to prosecute dealers or buyers because of confusion over when the enforcement would take place. A gun owners group backed by manufacturers has also filed suit against her for the action and that suit is still pending.

Also, the Gun Owners’ Action League, saying Healey was acting form political motives rather than enforcement powers, had filed a public records request demanding documents showing how her office reached its decision to launch the assault weapons ban. Though the office provided more than 1,000 pages of records, GOAL officials said other pertinent information was withheld and on Monday filed an appeal with the Secretary of State’s office demanding the missing documents.