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The Codcast: Healey declares success on gun ban
Friday, August 26, 2016
It’s been more than a month since Attorney General Maura Healey announced her crackdown on sales of assault weapons she said are in violation of the 1998 state law barring such rifles, and the only thing that’s slowed down are sales.
The anger and vitriol from gun advocates continues –often in a vile and personal manner – while supporters continue to defend both her authority and her interpretation of the statute. But hanging over everything was the threat of sanctions against gun dealers who sold more than 2,200 of the guns the day Healey made her announcement –one-fourth the total of those rifles sold all of last year.
Because of what some say was confusion over when her enhanced action took effect, Healey said no one who bought one of the guns would be held responsible but she refused to exempt dealers, threatening them with sanctions for violating her order. After declining to reveal her decision one way or the other for weeks, Healey, in a conversation on The Codcast, said she’s decided to move on and not bring action against any dealers – for that day.
“We tried to be practical and reasonable about all this – and fair,” she said. “We knew there was going to be a run on guns that day, which there was. I have made a decision, exercising my discretion, that we are not going to pursue those transactions. We are going to pursue those transactions that were made and occurred after our enforcement notice went out there.”
Healey said despite all the grumbling, sales of the assault rifles “are down to virtually none,” which she said was the goal of her action.
Asked why the five previous attorneys general signed a letter supporting her but never took the same steps to stop the sales, Healey chalked it up to the recent spate of mass shootings involving AR-15s and other such guns that spurred her to action.
“I think context matters here,” she said. “Think about what’s happened just the last couple years when it comes to mass shootings… The weapon of choice in these mass shootings is assault weapons.”