BOSTON (WWLP) — Hundreds of gun rights advocates have rallied outside the Massachusetts Statehouse to protest Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey’s crackdown on the sale and manufacture of what she’s called copycat assault weapons.
Activists attending the Saturday rally said Healey is taking rogue actions that will turn thousands of gun owners into “future felons.”
Some waived “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. One held a poster depicting Healey with a Hitler mustache and the words “Heil Healey.”
Healey on Wednesday sent an enforcement notice to gun sellers and manufacturers clarifying what constitutes a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon under the state’s assault weapons ban, including copies of the Colt AR-15 and the Kalashnikov AK-47.
Healey said the rule won’t be enforced against gun owners who bought weapons prior to the notice being sent out.
Thomas Montgomery, a gun owner, told 22News, “We have the right to bear arms, and if you let these politicians chip away at it, you lose it forever.”
State Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick) supports Healey’s efforts, pointing to several high-profile mass shootings across the country. He said, “I applaud her in taking the initiative and making sure that these weapons of war that were designed to kill as many people as possible are not legal in Massachusetts.”
Hundreds of protesters and several Republican state lawmakers disagree. One demonstrator told 22News he feels as though Attorney General Healey is targeting lawful gun owners.
“Why doesn’t she concentrate on going after the criminals, tougher enforcement of the law leave the gun owners alone,” said Dave King, a gun owner.
Westfield state Senator Don Humason also believes Healey has gone too far. He plans to file legislation to limit the Attorney General’s authority to interpret the state’s law gun laws.
State Sen. Don Humason told 22News, “Weapons in the hands of criminals are going to do bad things, but in the hands of law abiding citizens, they do good things. They protect families.”
Attorney General Healey said roughly 10,000 copycat weapons were sold in Massachusetts last year.