The National Rifle Association has issued a blistering response to Friday’s ruling by a federal judge who dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Massachusetts ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and promised to assist the plaintiffs’ attorneys as they review their options.
The decision, by US District Judge William Young, included what gun rights advocates suggest is an appallingly shallow contention that, “The AR-15 and its analogs, along with large capacity magazines, are simply not weapons within the original meaning of the individual constitutional right to ‘bear Arms.’”
By that same reasoning, Second Amendment activists say the First Amendment could not possibly protect broadcast media, material published on social media, especially on such mediums as YouTube, and even newspapers printed on web offset presses wouldn’t be protected because they didn’t exist when the Bill of Rights was ratified.
Here’s the NRA statement:
“Like all law-abiding Massachusetts gun owners, the NRA was extremely disappointed that the court upheld Massachusetts’s ban on many of the most popular firearms in America. Even more disturbing was Judge Young’s assessment that the ‘AR-15’s present day popularity is not constitutionally material’ and that ‘Justice Scalia would be proud’ of this ruling.
“It is outrageous that Judge Young is taking advantage of the fact that Justice Scalia is unable to refute such a claim. Justice Scalia’s position on the question of whether the AR-15 is protected by the Second Amendment is clear. In the 2015 Friedman v. City of Highland Park case, Justice Scalia joined a dissent which stated that the decision by millions of Americans to own AR-style rifles for lawful purposes ‘is all that is needed for citizens to have a right under the Second Amendment to keep such weapons.’ As long as politicians and judicial officials continue to flout the law in order to advance a political agenda, the five million members of the NRA will be here to hold them accountable
“While the plaintiff’s attorneys are reviewing their options those of us here at the NRA will be here to assist in any way possible.”
Judge Young acknowledged in his 47-page ruling that, “Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens… These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment. Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy.”
Some gun owners are suggesting it is actually “judicial activism.”
The case was brought by the Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts.
CBS News reported that anti-gun Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the decision “vindicates the right of the people of Massachusetts to protect themselves from these weapons of war.”