Federal judge rules Massachusetts assault weapons ban is consistent with recent landmark

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CNN
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A federal judge ruled a Massachusetts ban on assault weapons is consistent with a recent landmark Supreme Court decision that established firearms regulations must be consistent with the nation’s “historical tradition.”

“The relevant history affirms the principle that in 1791, as now, there was a tradition of regulating ‘dangerous and unusual’ weapons – specifically, those that are not reasonably necessary for self-defense,” U.S. District Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV wrote in an order Thursday.

The assault weapons prohibited by the Massachusetts ban are “not suitable for ordinary self-defense purposes, and pose substantial dangers far beyond those inherent in the design of ordinary firearms,” the judge wrote.

The Massachusetts law prohibits some semiautomatic weapons and large-capacity magazines. It was passed in 1998 and was made permanent after a similar federal statute expired in 2004, according to the judge’s order.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Second Amendment opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, which expanded gun rights nationwide and established that firearms rules must be consistent with the nation’s “historical tradition.”

About three months later, the National Association for Gun Rights and a Massachusetts resident filed a complaint against the commonwealth’s attorney general attempting to block the assault weapons ban, claiming it infringed on their constitutional rights.

In a post on X, the executive director of the NAGR’s legal wing said the organization plans to appeal the decision.

CNN has reached out to the NAGR for comment.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell called the decision a “significant win” in a statement Friday.

“Gun safety laws work, and they can be enforced consistent with public safety and the Second Amendment,” Campbell said. “This decision to uphold the state’s assault weapons ban is a significant win that will protect the public and continue Massachusetts’ leadership on gun violence prevention.”

CNN’s Josh Campbell contributed to this report.



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