Today the Supreme Court declined on the reviewing the Massachusetts ban on some semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines in their next term.

The Supreme Court also declined on hearing a number of other challenges to other state bans and gun regulations. This is considered to be a big win for gun control advocates as it effectively kills nearly a dozen challenges to state gun control measures. The NRA and others have been pressuring lawmakers to expand gun rights by challenging the restrictions placed on firearms passed at the local and state level.

The Massachusetts ban on some semi-automatic firearms was enacted in 1998 as was a model for the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.  Many believe that because of the heat placed on Republicans in Congress by the National Rifle Association, the federal law was allowed to expire in 2004.

For 22-years these guns have been banned in Massachusetts, primarily because they fall within the category of a semi-automatic firearm or have key components that are interchangeable with assault weapons.

Avtomat Kalashnikov (AK)

Colt AR-15

UZI and Galil

Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR and FNC

Beretta Ar70

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Revolving cylinder shotguns

Steyr AUG

INTERATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22

SWD M-10, M-11 and M-12

Since the law went into effect over two decades ago copy-cat type assault weapons have been an issue. This is the what appears on the mass.gov website pertaining to “what type of weapons are prohibited as copies or duplicates of the assault weapons ban in Mass…

Under Massachusetts law, Assault Weapons are defined in several ways. Among other things, the law sets out a list of weapons, by make and model, that are prohibited. The law further states that “copies or duplicates” of the listed weapons are also banned.  Separately, there is a list of features that make certain guns Assault Weapons.

The Attorney General’s Enforcement Notice describes two tests the AGO uses to identify guns that are “copies or duplicates” because those guns are sufficiently similar to be considered “copycats” of the listed guns.

As explained in the Notice, “copies” or “duplicates” of banned Assault Weapons include semiautomatic weapons that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and that meet one of the following tests:

The weapon’s internal functional components are substantially similar to the construction or configuration of a weapon that is expressly banned under the law (such as a Colt AR-15 or a Kalashnikov AK-47);

Or

The weapon has a receiver that includes or accepts key operating components that are interchangeable with those of a banned weapon.  The relevant operating components may include, but are not limited to:

1) the trigger assembly;

2) the bolt carrier or bolt carrier group;

3) the charging handle;

4) the extractor or extractor assembly; or

5) the magazine port.

You can get more information on Mass gun laws by clicking this link at mass.gov.