GOAL Issues Important Warning to Gun Owners Concerning AG Healey’s Enforcement Notice
Most gun owners across the Commonwealth should be aware of the deplorable actions taken by Attorney General Healey against lawful citizens.
On July 20, 2016, Attorney General Healey put forth a brand new interpretation of Massachusetts gun laws in an attempt to ban semi-automatic firearms without due process. The AG invented new definitions of so-called “assault weapons” that turned hundreds of thousands of law abiding families and individuals who own guns into “felons in waiting” overnight.
This information should already be widespread throughout firearm owning families across Massachusetts. However, GOAL is becoming increasingly concerned about the potentially disastrous misinformation being spread. Of great concern is the belief that the new interpretations only affect firearm manufacturers and retailers. This could not be further from the truth!
If the AG’s enforcement carries any legal weight, it is clear that the mere POSSESSION of a newly defined assault weapon is and has been a crime under Section 131M of Chapter 140 of the Massachusetts General Laws. According to the AG’s actions this includes mere possession going back to, at least, 1998 when the law was enacted.
To further the danger, many people believe that the AG has “grandfathered” anyone who transferred or possessed one prior to July 20, 2016, this is simply not supported by law. In her enforcement notice she has basically promised not to prosecute anyone prior to that date, but she could change her mind at any point. It also does not mean that another government official can’t use it against you. Remember, on July 19, 2016 we all knew what the laws were. She has made it clear that she believes that the laws can be changed at any time, retroactively, and without notice.
Many people have contacted GOAL asking if they should get rid of any guns that might meet the AG’s new definitions. Sadly, our answer is that according to Healey, you have already committed the crime since you have already possessed it. A crime that carries with it a potential ten-year prison sentence for the first offense!
GOAL would strongly advise that gun owners exercise extreme caution in following the supposed exemptions in the AG’s Q&A web page. Just as she cannot grandfather gun owners because it does not exist in law, it is our opinion that the AG cannot invent exemptions that don’t exist. Regardless of her claims, we believe a Q&A web page is not a legal document and is not supported by law.
It is clear to everyone that her office is simply making these new interpretations up as they go along. The Q&A page has been changed numerous times since the initial announcement, but the enforcement notice remains unchanged. Gun owners cannot, and should not be expected to comply with laws that continually change at the AG’s whim. What we knew to be legal yesterday may not be legal today and then changed again tomorrow.
The bottom line is that we advise gun owners to be very careful. The AG’s actions are an historical attack on civil rights. To our knowledge no group in the United States has ever had to deal with this kind of abuse and confusion over their civil rights. As we do our best to wade through this unprecedented abuse of authority, we urge gun owners to proceed with great caution. Finally, be extraordinarily careful when trusting anything the AG says or publishes, because it could change tomorrow. GOAL stated at the beginning that this was a campaign of confusion, fear, and intimidation against lawful gun owning families and that is exactly what Healey has done.
If they can do this to us, they can do this to you!
Chapter 140, Section 131M. No person shall sell, offer for sale, transfer or possess an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994. Whoever not being licensed under the provisions of section 122 violates the provisions of this section shall be punished, for a first offense, by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and for a second offense, by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $15,000 or by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 15 years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to: (i) the possession by a law enforcement officer; or (ii) the possession by an individual who is retired from service with a law enforcement agency and is not otherwise prohibited from receiving such a weapon or feeding device from such agency upon retirement.