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星期三, 7月 20, 2016

AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES ENFORCEMENT OF BAN ON COPYCAT ASSAULT WEAPONS

AG HEALEY ANNOUNCES ENFORCEMENT OF BAN ON COPYCAT ASSAULT WEAPONS
In the Wake of Orlando Mass Shooting, AG Healey Warns Gun Makers, Dealers Against Selling Prohibited Assault Weapons in Massachusetts; Clarifies What Constitutes a Copycat Weapon

BOSTON –– Attorney General Maura Healey today issued a notice to all gun sellers and manufacturers in Massachusetts, warning that her office is stepping up enforcement of the state’s assault weapons ban, including a crackdown on the sale of copycat weapons.

The enforcement notice clarifies what constitutes a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon under the assault weapons ban. Copies or duplicates of banned assault rifles, including copies of the Colt AR-15 and the Kalishnikov AK-47, are prohibited by the Massachusetts assault weapons ban. Despite the law, an estimated 10,000 copycat assault weapons were sold in Massachusetts last year alone.
“The gun industry has openly defied our laws here in Massachusetts for nearly two decades,” said AG Healey. “That ends today. We have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that combat-style weapons are off our streets and out of the hands of those who would use them to kill innocent people. Increasingly, these guns are the weapon of choice for mass shooters, and we will do everything we can to prevent the kinds of tragedies here that have occurred in places like Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown and Aurora.”

The Massachusetts assault weapons ban mirrors the federal ban that expired in 2004. It prohibits the sale of specific and name-brand weapons and explicitly bans copies or duplicates of those weapons. Gun manufacturers, however, make and market what they call “state compliant” versions with minor tweaks to various parts of the weapon. Copycat guns are sold, for example, without a flash suppressor or with a fixed instead of folding stock. These changes do not make the weapon any less lethal and the weapons remain illegal.

The AG’s notice clarifies what constitutes a copy or duplicate weapon by outlining two tests. Under the tests, a weapon is a copy or duplicate if its internal operating system is essentially the same as those of a specifically-banned weapon or if the gun has key functional components that are interchangeable with those of a banned weapon.

The notice also states that assault weapons prohibited under state law, as manufactured, cannot be altered in any way to make their sale or possession legal in Massachusetts.

The notice makes clear that the guidance will not be enforced against gun owners who bought or sold these weapons prior to July 20, 2016. Dealers who currently have these weapons on hand are not permitted to sell them to Massachusetts buyers. They may transfer them out-of-state to jurisdictions where sales of these weapons are legal. The AG’s office expects substantial cooperation from gun sellers and will work to ensure that they understand and comply with the law. 

Today’s action is one more step in the AG’s effort to reduce gun violence in Massachusetts. Last year, AG Healey issued a notice to all 350 state gun dealers reminding them of their obligations under state law. Earlier this year, she led a multi-state effort urging Congress to lift the ban on gun-violence research by the Centers for Disease Control and is working with medical professionals to help develop guidelines for physicians to speak to their patients about guns in the home. AG Healey continues to investigate violations of the gun laws statewide.