BOSTON (UPI) — The attorney general of Massachusetts warned gun dealers and manufacturers this week that her office is cracking down on the sale of “copycat” rifles designed to skirt the state ban on assault weapons.
“The gun industry has openly defied our laws here in Massachusetts for nearly two decades,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a press release. “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.”
The notice her office issued to gun makers and to the 350 gun dealers in the state clarified that guns sold with minor modifications or lacking add-on pieces — so-called “copycat” or “duplicate” assault weapons — are illegal in the state.
She said that despite the state’s assault weapons ban, an estimated 10,000 copycat assault weapons were sold in Massachusetts in 2015.
The notice notes two tests of a duplicate weapon: if the internal operating system is essentially the same as the specifically banned Colt AR-15, Kalashnikov AR-47 or similar assault weapon, and if parts are interchangeable between specifically banned weapons and the duplicate weapon.
Jim Wallace, of the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, called Healey’s action Wednesday a political stunt, adding her enforcement statement is vague.
“The language in the enforcement letter is very confusing. It could include a lot of types of firearms that normally wouldn’t be considered so-called assault weapons,” Wallace told WFXT-TV, Boston.
The Massachusetts law is identical to a federal law, which also banned copycat assault weapons and expired in 2004.
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