Healey gun order prompts political backlash

The political backlash to Attorney General Maura Healey’s crackdown on what she calls illegal copycat assault weapons began over the weekend, as legislation was filed to strip her of her power to regulate gun sales and 56 lawmakers sent her a letter asking her to stand down.

Neither effort is likely to have much immediate impact. The Legislature is wrapping up its business for the year in a few days on July 31 and the letter of protest was primarily an initiative of Republicans, who are a distinct minority on Beacon Hill. Still, 18 Democrats signed the letter to Healy, including Reps. Thomas Golden Jr. and David Nangle of Lowell, and Stephen Kulik of Worthington.

The letter accused Healey of issuing her directive on copycat assault weapons “unilaterally, with very little, if any, advance notice.” The signers said Healey’s action was much more than the closing of a loophole, describing it as “the enforcement of a whole new law that unfairly infringes on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners in Massachusetts.” Healey’s office has described the directive as merely closing a loophole in the existing 1998 law.

It will be interesting to see how aggressive Healey is in enforcing her ban on copycat assault weapons. She unveiled her new directive last week and said it would take effect as of Wednesday July 20. Yet gun dealers sold 2,251 of the weapons on Wednesday, a fourth of the total sold all of last year. And they even sold 143 of the weapons on Thursday.

Before leaving for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Healey said she would not prosecute individuals who bought the guns, but indicated she might go after gun dealers operating in defiance of her order. So far, no action has been taken.

Gun owners protested at the State House on Saturday and Fall River gun stores said Healey’s ban on copycat assault weapons would cripple their business. Republican Sen. Don Humason of Westfield filed legislation that would strip Healey of her authority to regulate gun sales. Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners Action League, said Healey’s directive has mobilized gun owners in Massachusetts and elsewhere. “This has gone national,” he said.

–BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Lawmakers over the weekend overturned $100 million worth of spending vetoes. They also sent a pay equity bill to the governor’s desk. (State House News) What Gov. Charlie Baker’s cuts in arts funding will mean. (WBUR)

A Boston Herald editorial laments Baker going wobbly on taxes, saying he would support a tax on Airbnb lodgings.

A Boston Globe editorial urges lawmakers, and Baker if necessary, to reject a tax credit for theatrical productions.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Massachusetts communities are increasingly driving hard bargains with medical marijuana facilities, extracting larger and larger payments from them. (Boston Globe)

A member of the Easton Conservation Commission is coming under fire for his anti-Muslum postings on Facebook. (The Enterprise)

CASINOS

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is just about out of options to block the Wynn Resorts casino in Everett, as the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection affirms a key environmental permit for the project. (CommonWealth)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Two people are killed and 17 wounded at a teen party in the Fort Meyers, Florida, club. (Associated Press)

ELECTIONS

New CNN poll indicates the Republican convention bounced Donald Trump into the lead over Hillary Clinton. Libertarian Gary Johnson grabs 9 percent.

At the Democratic National Convention: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC, resigns in the wake of the release of internal emails showing favoritism toward Clinton and hostility to Bernie Sanders. (Boston Globe) Politico has the inside maneuverings around Wasserman Schultz. There are also reports that Russian intelligence agencies may have played key roles in leaking the documents. (New York Times)

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to endorse Clinton. (Boston Globe)

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg says Massachusetts, particularly the Senate, is addressing income inequality the way the DNC should be addressing it. (Boston Globe)

Former Vermont Gov. Madeline Kunin says Clinton faces a tough road ahead simply because she is a woman and voters are much more unforgiving of women. (Boston Globe)

Globe columnist Adrian Walker says Massachusetts is better off with US Sen. Elizabeth Warren remaining where she is.

Unbeknownst to most communities, medical marijuana facilities could benefit from a ballot question legalizing marijuana. (South Coast Today)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Even as Bay State tax revenues grow slower than expected, job growth in Massachusetts remains strong relative to other states. (Governing)

Verizon to pay $4.8 billion for Yahoo’s core business. (New York Times)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Steward Health Care, the for-profit hospital company, reported its first profit in 2015. (Boston Globe)

An increasing number of cancer patients are abandoning chemotherapy. (Lowell Sun)

TRANSPORTATION

Someone seems to be lying about armored car sunroofs, as Gov. Charlie Baker suggests the roofs are more evidence of wastefulness at the T while the Carmen’s Union says the cars arrived with the moon roofs. (CommonWealth)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

As much as 90 percent of Massachusetts groundwater is corrosive, and could cause chemicals to leak out of drinking water pipes. The danger is greater for those who rely on well water. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

More and more defendants are being hidden from view when they appear in court. (Gloucester Times)

MEDIA

Donald Trump unfairly attacks the media, and his political base eats it up. (Washington Post)

Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby suspects media types will be less shocked at the hatred Dems show for Trump than they were at the hatred Republicans had for Hillary Clinton.