Court OKs AR-15 Assault Weapon Ban
A federal district court judge in Boston has upheld the state’s ban on assault weapons – AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines – finding that the issue is not a constitutional matter but one for each state to determine on its own politically.
“The AR-15 and its analogs, along with large capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to ‘bear arms,’” U.S. District Judge William Young, a Reagan appointee, wrote in a decision Thursday in Boston, dismissing a lawsuit over the state law.
Young was ruling for the state in upholding Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s decision in 2016 to broaden the definition of “copies or duplicates” of AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles that are banned under a 1998 state law covering assault weapons.
Healey’s decision, which was challenged by a gun-rights group, came in the wake of the June 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people were killed by a gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle and semi-automatic pistol.
The issue has taken on a new sense of urgency following the Valentine’s Day killing in Parkland, Fla., of 17 people by a gunman armed with an AR-15. Student survivors of the Florida shooting have mounted a campaign calling for a nationwide ban on the weapons.
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