Federal judge denies request to block Massachusetts assault weapons ban

Federal judge denies request to block Massachusetts assault weapons ban

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A federal judge in Massachusetts shut down an attempt to block the state’s assault weapons ban Friday, arguing that the law does not break with recent Supreme Court precedent that has severely shaken gun control legislation.

District Judge Dennis Saylor said the state ban keeps with “historical tradition” of gun control regulation, after the high court ruled last year in the landmark New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen decision that all gun control legislation must keep with that 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,” Saylor wrote.

The judge added that the assault weapons in question are “not suitable for ordinary self-defense purposes, and pose substantial dangers far beyond those inherent in the design of ordinary firearms.”

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) requested a preliminary injunction against the law, which would have prevented its enforcement during the legal challenge.

The 1998 law bans assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, similar to the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell celebrated the ruling on Friday.

“Gun safety laws work, and they can be enforced consistent with public safety and the Second Amendment,” she 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.”

NAGR has pledged to appeal the ruling.

Last year’s Bruen decision, which limited New York laws on handgun regulation, has radically changed gun control legislation as gun rights groups challenge state laws across the country in an effort to hold them to the same “historical tradition” standard.

Just this year, courts have struck down or limited gun control legislation in New York and Maryland, and upheld laws facing similar challenges in Oregon and Illinois.

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