Yesterday the Boston Globe reported that Massachusetts has closed the final loophole in its assault weapons ban, making assault-style firearms completely illegal in the state. No other state has come so far in terms of gun legislation reform. The mass shooting in June at Pulse nightclub in Orlando spurred another wave of heated debate over firearm accessibility in America. We wholeheartedly applaud Massachusetts legislators who decided to take a stand against the National Rifle Association (NRA) and put the safety of the citizens they represent first.
According to the Globe,
“It’s no surprise the Orlando killer chose an AR-15 style assault rifle. It’s a weapon of war, originally created for combat, and designed to kill many people in a short amount of time with incredible accuracy. It’s in the same category as weapons chosen by killers in Newtown, Aurora, and San Bernardino. These are not weapons of self-defense. They are weapons used to commit mass murder. And they have no business being in civilian hands.”
Although Massachusetts already had a comprehensive ban, gun manufacturers found ways around it.
“The Massachusetts assault weapons ban mirrors the federal ban Congress allowed to expire in 2004. It prohibits the sale of specific weapons like the Colt AR-15 and AK-47 and explicitly bans “copies or duplicates” of those weapons. But gun manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to define what a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon is. They market “state compliant” copycat versions of their assault weapons to Massachusetts buyers. They sell guns without a flash suppressor or folding or telescoping stock, for example, small tweaks that do nothing to limit the lethalness of the weapon.”
As of yesterday, this has all changed. Massachusetts has explicitly defined a copy of an assault weapon as a weapon that has any interchangeable components with a banned firearm. With the final loophole closed, Massachusetts is officially the first assault weapon free state. We hope that other states follow in its footsteps so we can tackle the tragedy of gun violence head on. We have waited long enough to take down the NRA’s agenda, and in the meanwhile tens of thousands of our fellow citizens have lost their lives. Enough is enough.