Boston, MA – A lawsuit that challenged Massachusetts’ ban on firearms determined to be “assault weapons” was dismissed by a federal judge on Friday.
The federal lawsuit, filed by the Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts (GOAL) in 2017, alleged that the ban violated citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the Associated Press reported.
In his 47-page decision, U.S. District Judge William Young determined that the weapons and magazines banned by state law in 1998 were “not within the scope of the right to ‘bear Arms’ under the Second Amendment,” according to The Hill.
Young, a President Reagan nominee, argued that military-style rifles were “designed and intended to be particularly suitable for combat rather than sporting applications,” and that the state had rightfully issued the ban through elected representatives.
“Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens,” the judge continued. “These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment.”
The Massachusetts ban mirrored the federal ban that expired in 2004, the Associated Press reported.
Young also upheld Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s 2016 “copycat weapon” enforcement order, which clarified which weapons were illegal to copy or duplicate.
In the lawsuit, GOAL argued that Healey’s order retroactively criminalized the possession and sale of “tens of thousands” of firearms, which were legal at the time they were purchased, Universal Hub reported.
According to Young, because the enforcement order has not yet become a final state regulation, and because the state has said they do not intend to prosecute people who purchased the weapons prior to the order, the issue was not “ripe” for further consideration by the court, according to Universal Hub.
Healey praised Young’s decision, and announced that the ruling "vindicates the right of the people of Massachusetts to protect themselves from these weapons of war,” the Associated Press reported.
"Families across the country should take heart in this victory," she added.