The Codcast: Healey declares success on gun ban

It’s been more than a month since Attorney General Maura Healey announced her crackdown on sales of assault weapons she said are in violation of the 1998 state law barring such rifles, and the only thing that’s slowed down are sales.

The anger and vitriol from gun advocates continues – often in a vile and personal manner – while supporters continue to defend both her authority and her interpretation of the statute. But hanging over everything was the threat of sanctions against gun dealers who sold more than 2,200 of the guns the day Healey made her announcement – one-fourth the total of those rifles sold all of last year.

Because of what some say was confusion over when her enhanced action took effect, Healey said no one who bought one of the guns would be held responsible but she refused to exempt dealers, threatening them with sanctions for violating her order. After declining to reveal her decision one way or the other for weeks, Healey, in a conversation on The Codcast, said she’s decided to move on and not bring action against any dealers – for that day.

“We tried to be practical and reasonable about all this – and fair,” she said. “We knew there was going to be a run on guns that day, which there was. I have made a decision, exercising my discretion, that we are not going to pursue those transactions. We are going to pursue those transactions that were made and occurred after our enforcement notice went out there.”

Healey said despite all the grumbling, sales of the assault rifles “are down to virtually none,” which she said was the goal of her action.

Asked why the five previous attorneys general signed a letter supporting her but never took the same steps to stop the sales, Healey chalked it up to the recent spate of mass shootings involving AR-15s and other such guns that spurred her to action.

“I think context matters here,” she said. “Think about what’s happened just the last couple years when it comes to mass shootings… The weapon of choice in these mass shootings is assault weapons.”



Gov. Charlie Baker visits Berkshire Mountain Distillers to celebrate a new law allowing distillers to sell their products and not just give tastings. (Berkshire Eagle)

A Lowell Sun editorial says enough with the attacks on the state’s film tax credit. Film producers are wary of committing long term to Massachusetts because of the constant talk about whittling back or doing away with the credit. How else to explain why the TV series of The Departed is being filmed in ….Chicago.

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Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating $32 million to launch a program at Harvard that will provide free education and training to municipal leaders from around the world. (Boston Globe) Bloomberg and Harvard president Drew Faust lay out the institute’s goals and mission in a Globe op-ed.

Boston Police evict a large group of people who had been sleeping and hanging out on Boston Common near the T’s Park Street Station. Some call the area the city’s front door. (CommonWealth)

Amid stiff opposition from residents in a meeting that stretched six hours, the Southborough Zoning Board of Appeals gave unanimous approval for a 180-unit Chapter 40B housing project that will include at least 25 percent affordable units. (MetroWest Daily News)

A Herald editorial slams a Boston city council move to favor a medical marijuana license applicant with strong ties to a council member as the kind of shenanigans the body’s president, Michelle Wu, recently spoke out against.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera is frustrated with the city’s inability to demolish or secure some 150 empty buildings that are a danger to neighbors. The mayor spoke after a fire at one such building spread to surrounding structures and displaced 53 people. (Eagle-Tribune)

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The mean streets (and lawns) of Hingham are the dateline for this look at a suburban crime wave sweeping the region, as the well-heeled insist on keeping their lawns well-watered in spite of restrictions imposed because of the severe drought. (Boston Globe)


Hillary Clinton, in her most hard-hitting speech yet, said Donald Trump is “taking hate groups mainstream” and letting radical conservatives take over the GOP in his courting of the “alt-right” movement. (New York Times)

Trump says the same experts who predicted defeat of the “Brexit” vote in Great Britain are the same ones giving him little chance of winning. (National Review)

A Fall River shirt manufacturing company is featured in a new Clinton ad, with the owner lambasting Trump’s “hypocrisy” for having his clothing line made overseas. (Herald News)

Rush Limbaugh nearly chokes from laughing so hard (click on video in link) at Trump’s apparent retreat from a hard line on immigration. (American Spectator)

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren shrugs off a challenge from Curt Schilling. (Masslive) She also says she is “concerned” about a ballot question expanding the number of charter schools in the state and wants to learn more about it. (Masslive)

Two former employees of Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins allege he promotes staffers only if they donate to and work on his campaign. (Fox25)(


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Federal data shows cutbacks in support for public colleges and universities has spawned an exodus of students leaving their states to attend school out-of-state. In Massachusetts, for every out-of-state student at a public school, three Bay State residents went elsewhere. (New York Times)

Endicott College in Beverly wins a $1.4 million federal grant to build a new life science and business incubator center. (Salem News)


STAT profiles Heather Bresch, the CEO of EpiPen maker Mylan Pharmaceuticals, who is in the hot seat over the company’s huge price hikes for the product.

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Rhode Island boasts the highest vaccination rate in the country against the human papillomavirus, or HPV. (Boston Globe)


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A Salem News editorial applauds the Baker administration for issuing grants to help communities prepare for climate change impact on the shoreline.


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A judge refused to ease bail conditions for Anthony Stone, who is accused of threatening his sister, the wife of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. (Masslive)

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The owner of a small Vermont newspaper is having difficulty attracting enough entrants for his essay contest to award the paper to a new owner. (New York Times)