A Massachusetts judge has ruled that the state’s ban on assault weapons aligns with a recent Supreme Court decision, reinforcing that firearm regulations must adhere to the nation’s “historical tradition.” The judge, U.S. District Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV, emphasized that in 1791, as now, there existed a tradition of regulating “dangerous and unusual” weapons not reasonably necessary for self-defense.
The Massachusetts law, in effect since 1998, prohibits certain semiautomatic weapons and large-capacity magazines. It was made permanent after a similar federal statute expired in 2004. The recent Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen in June 2022 expanded gun rights nationwide, stating that firearms rules must align with the nation’s historical tradition.
Despite a legal challenge from the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) and a Massachusetts resident, the judge upheld the assault weapons ban. The NAGR plans to appeal the decision. Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell welcomed the ruling, emphasizing that gun safety laws can be enforced consistently with public safety and the Second Amendment.
This decision is part of an ongoing national debate on firearm regulations and their alignment with historical precedents and constitutional rights.