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Supreme Court upholds Massachusetts ban on high-powered weaponry

CNN reports the Supreme Court declined to hear ten gun-control cases, one of them a challenge to the way Massachusetts bans certain semiautomatic firearms and high-capacity magazines. The decision not to hear the case means our regulations stay in place.

Earlier:
Federal appeals court upholds Massachusetts ban on the sale of certain assault weapons.

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Comments

They didn't uphold. They didn't overturn. They didn't grant a hearing.

The headline isn't accurate from a legal standpoint. SCotUS punted from doing anything precedent setting. The status quo remains without any direction from the court either way.

Now about all those law enforcement carve outs in state law. Why's the legislature giving retired and off duty cops access to weapons of war that the average woman, trans, or person of color is banned from having? Some people and their unions more equal than others I guess.

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Botttom line, though? Massachusetts can continue to enforce its regulations

And since the court declined to hear the case, that means that what applies are rulings in the First Circuit, where, as the post notes, judges have specifically upheld the Massachusetts regulations.

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The court is refusing to hear cases on qualified immunity next term.

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When you have Amash and Pressley teaming up on qualified immunity, it may not last very long.

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There are some powerful forces (Unions, scared politicians, etc) which don't want to see it dropped.

It won't be an easy fight and it will never get approved by Trump. The court made a big mistake not being open to fixing the horrible decision which created it in the first place.

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Does not mean uphold. And the weapons banned for sale are not “high powered” , they have certain features like a pistol grip, collapsing stock, flash suppressor and bayonet mount. A bolt action 30-06 is a much more powerful gun than a semi auto 223.

The case is more about the AG creating law than guns, but nobody minds because they side with her on the issue. An “assault weapon“ ban should originate with the Legislature, not the Executive branch. The latter enforces the law, the former creates it. The AG “re-interpreted” the law and had to issue a “clarification “ so that people could figure out what she meant. I’m also surprised since a ban could easily pass through the legislature.

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Let’s not forget, the banned ar15’s in MA didn’t even have collapsible stocks/flash suppressors/bayonet lugs/high capacity magazines.

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Spins your wheels.

I think I'll stick to hentai myself. To each their own.

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It means the lower court ruling stands.

Yeah, they punted. But the result is the same.

I'm sure you worked very hard on all that gunsplaining, though. Makes impressive noise.

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However, 'Upholds' means the court reviewed the law and agreed with it. That is NOT the same as declining to review it, which is the case here.

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An “assault weapon“ ban should originate with the Legislature, not the Executive branch.

Well, Matt, it looks like it did.

''Assault weapon'', shall have the same meaning as a semiautomatic assault weapon as defined in the federal Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(30) as appearing in such section on September 13, 1994, and shall include, but not be limited to, any of the weapons, or copies or duplicates of the weapons, of any caliber, known as: [list of specific weapons]

If the AG doesn't have the authority to broaden the definition, presumably one of the courts that heard this case would have said so, since according to you, that's what it's about. None of them did.

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The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit specifically upheld the Massachusetts regulations, in a ruling last year. Absent any action by the Supreme Court, that's the law of the land here.

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But the law of the land should be created by our elected representatives in the legislature. It may not be a law you disagree with, but the principle hear stinks. Maybe someday it will be an “Enforcement Notice” you disagree with.

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It was created by our elected representatives in the legislature. That's what we're trying to tell you.

Here's the enforcement notice: https://www.mass.gov/doc/enforcement-notice/download

It's a clarification of what the state will consider a "copy" or "duplicate" of a banned weapon. The 1994 federal AWB did not provide guidance for determining if a weapon that isn't explicitly banned is a copy or duplicate of a banned weapon. The 2016 Enforcement Notice provided such guidance. The definition of a banned weapon was not changed: the list of specific weapons was not changed, the "features tests" and their criteria were not changed, and "copies or duplicates" of specific weapons were already explicitly banned. Only the definition of "copies or duplicates" was clarified, and courts have ruled that the clarification is reasonable and consistent with the law as passed by the legislature.

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Until that happens, and the legislature backs up the AG. Then it will suddenly be ceaseless anguished cries about MY SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS and HEY JUDGES - HELP! HELP! WE'RE BEING OPPRESSED!

Sure.

With that, I'll just list all the parts of a Volkswagen diesel engine to irrelevantly fill up twenty seven square feet of screen space ....(/s)

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But you left out the rest of the law. Section B of the 1994 AWB lays out a two point system for what defines a “semiautomatic assault weapon”. That’s what the Manufacturers had been producing for MA until the 2016 Enforcement Notice.

Semiautomatic rifles were sold in MA with a pistol grip and no bayonet mount, a non collapsible stock, and no flash suppressor.

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Your fetish object is apparently illegal in the state where I live. That pleases me, because I think it's a very bad idea to allow such things. If you don't want to have your fetish object be illegal where you live, you should move to somewhere that allows it. In any event, please stop whining about how the AG interpreted the law in a way you don't like. None of the judges who heard this case agree with you.

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It is a BFD. Because for 10 years people bought and sold those rifles legally, then one day the AG decided they were illegal. Gun owners, who have to follow more laws than the average citizen, were suddenly exposed to legal liability. The AG has to release a press statement saying she would not prosecute, but overnight a whole new class of criminal was created. Even if those people had turned in those supposedly illegal guns the next day, they still would have supposedly committed a crime.

That’s why an AG cannot just “expand” a law to mean what she wants it to mean. I don’t care if MA bans semiautomatic weapons, but have respect for the rule of law.

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YANAL, are you?

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Are you implying that there should be a statute on how long the AG can provide regulations & guidance on a law? What's the standard you want to see?

Without diving into constitutional law - it's long practice in this country that the executive branch continually re-evaluates how the law is relevant the circumstances of today. Executives come and go, and how the law is understood and applied changes as the reins pass, for good or bad - it's long established (within certain boundaries), and you need to have a hell of an argument to claim doing so doesn't "respect the rule of law" - I don't see such an argument here.

This system isn't new - and the remedies aren't either, whether through the legal system or extracurricular (just really be sure you have popular support before you try the latter).

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As far as I can tell, AG did make a press statement about not prosecuting individual owners of now-banned guns, but she didn't need to because they were specifically exempted in the text of the Enforcement Order:

Application of this Enforcement Notice (individual gun owners):

The Guidance will not be applied to possession, ownership or transfer of an Assault weapon
obtained prior to July 20, 2016.

She made a followup statement because apparently gun owners needed additional, redundant reassurance. This may be because many people didn't actually read the order and instead relied on second-hand reporting from their local information source of choice, some of which chose not to mention that individual gun owners were exempt.

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For example, the Browning Hi-Power, which fires an unremarkable 9mm cartridge, was a big deal in 1935 because it came standard with a 13-round magazine as compared to the 8-round Luger or the 7-round Colt M1911.

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The ban specifically calls out LCMs (Large Capacity Magazines).

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