A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged Massachusetts’ ban on so-called assault weapons and large capacity magazines, the Boston Globe reported.
In a ruling on Friday, U.S. District Judge William Young stated that the ban doesn’t violate the Second Amendment, claiming that such weapons are “military firearms” and are thus not protected by the constitutional right to “bear arms.”
“(T)he AR-15’s present day popularity is not constitutionally material,” he said.
Young also argued that the regulation of firearms is a policy issue, not a courts’ issue.
“Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens,” Young said. “These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment. Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy.”
The “assault weapons” ban was enacted in Massachusetts in 1998.
In January of last year, a lawsuit against the ban was filed by the Massachusetts-based gun organization Gun Owners Action League after Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey told gun dealers and manufacturers that her office would begin enforcing the state’s 1998 law.
The pro-Second Amendment group’s lawsuit argued the ban is unlawful, and said it prevents law-abiding citizens from buying and possessing some of the most popular rifles in the country.
“The level of hostility to the gun-owning public in the state of Massachusetts has grown to be intolerable,” said lawyer Jay Porter. “At this point, it had grown to the level where litigation had become necessary. At some point, if you have a fundamental right, you have to protect it.”
“Our position is that the state doesn’t have the authority under the Second Amendment to ban firearms that are commonly kept by responsible law abiding citizens for lawful purposes … The Supreme Court has told us emphatically that the government cannot ban popular firearms which are commonly kept for lawful purposes.”
Attorney General Healey, who was a defendent in the case, applauded the judge’s decision.
“Today’s decision upholding the Assault Weapons Ban vindicates the right of the people of Massachusetts to protect themselves from these weapons of war and my office’s efforts to enforce the law,” she said in a statement.
“Strong gun laws save lives, and we will not be intimidated by the gun lobby in our efforts to end the sale of assault weapons and protect our communities and schools. Families across the country should take heart in this victory.”
The state’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, also said he would support a federal ban on so-called assault weapons after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The executive director of the Gun Owners Action League said he hasn’t yet seen the ruling and can’t make a comment, according to Chicago Tribune.
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