Our Opinion: No good case for copycat assault weapons


State gun dealers cited three constitutional amendments in filing a lawsuit against the attorney general, but didn't explain why copycat assault weapons must be protected.

The firearms industry and Massachusetts gun dealers have been up in arms for months over Attorney General Maura Healey's crackdown on efforts to get around the state's assault weapons ban by selling guns with minor differences from the prohibited weapons. That was a transparently cynical bid to get around a ban on weapons designed to kill quickly and indiscriminately, but the lawsuit claims Ms. Healey's responsible actions are in violation of not only the Second Amendment but the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments as well because gun dealers are deprived of due process.

While the lawsuit brought in U.S. District Court goes forward the crackdown will continue. Assault weapons, and their copycats, are not used by hunters or by gun owners to fight ISIS in Massachusetts. The rationale for the copycat weapons offered by manufacturers, dealers and buyers appears to be nothing more than "we want them," and that's not good enough in a gun violence plagued America.

"The gun industry doesn't get to decide what's compliant," said Ms. Healey in July. "We do." That is a dramatic and welcome contrast to the attitude in Washington, D.C. where the National Rifle Association does get to determine what is compliant through its hired help in Congress. Boston's system is preferable, and ideally it will be upheld in federal court.


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