Former AGs back Healey’s ban on ‘copy’ assault weapons

Healey is getting support from her five most recent predecessors

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s crackdown on so-called copycat assault weapons is getting support from her five most recent predecessors.

Former Attorneys General Martha Coakley, Thomas Reilly, Scott Harshbarger, James Shannon and Francis Bellotti released a statement Thursday expressing “full confidence” that Healey’s actions were “constitutional, lawful, and consistent with the duties and responsibilities of her office.”

Healey, a Democrat, recently sent an enforcement notice to gun sellers and manufacturers to clarify what constitutes a “copy” or “duplicate” weapon under the state’s 1998 assault weapons ban.

Gun rights advocates and some legislators claim Healey exceeded her authority and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has cited “ambiguities” in the enforcement notice.

Healey said the new rule would not be enforced against gun owners who bought or sold these weapons prior to the notice.

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