Massachusetts Attorney General Accidentally Un-bans the AR-15


Massachusetts Attorney General Accidentally Un-bans the AR-15

The sad clown show that’s playing out where the “cradle of liberty” once rocked continues, with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s latest attempt to clarify her previous “clarification” of the state’s “assault weapon ban.” You know, the original “clarification” of the MA ban that appears to have banned every semi-automatic weapon in the state.

AG Maura Healey’s latest notice attempts to outline “Guns That Are Not Assault Weapons,” and the list looks like this:

  • Any handgun on the current version of the state’s Approved Firearms Roster
  • Any .22 caliber rifle
  • Any “Ruger Mini 14 or substantially-similar model weapon”
  • Any of the rifles or shotguns mentioned under the original 1994 list as exempt
  • Weapons operated by manual bolt, pump, lever, or slide action
  • Antiques, relics, or theatrical props
  • Semiautomatic rifles that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition
  • Semiautomatic shotguns that cannot hold more than five rounds of ammunition in a fixed or detachable magazine

So much fail in the above. For instance, at some point someone will clue Ms. Healey in to the fact that the Ruger Mini 14 is basically an AR alternative, and she’ll be forced to issue yet another clarification.

But the big one is the second bullet point: “Any .22 caliber rifle.” Oops.

For the non-AR folks reading, the AR-15 in its most common chambering is a .22 caliber rifle. So “any .22 caliber rifle” includes any AR-15 chambered in .223 (or 5.56 NATO), which is over 90% of the ARs in existence.

This isn’t some frivolous nitpick, either. That second bullet point literally undoes everything the first clarification attempted to do. There is no other way around it: the AR in .223 is absolutely, positively a .22 caliber rifle because it fires a .22 caliber bullet. Indeed, in states where hunting deer with a “.22 caliber rifle” is illegal, it’s illegal to hunt deer with the AR-15. The whole knock against the AR when it was launched was that it was a .22-caliber “poodle gun” and was considered a weakling compared to the .30-caliber firearms (i.e. rifles chambered in .308 Winchester and .30-06) that preceded it.

This is what happens when people who can’t even be bothered to learn basic facts about firearms are allowed to dictate what types of firearms everyone else can and can’t use. It’s disgraceful.

Update: As a few have remarked in the comments, the MA AG’s office has stealthily updated the notice to read “Any .22 caliber rimfire rifle.” The insertion of the word “rimfire” fixes the issue.

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