Four federally-licensed Massachusetts firearms retailers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, filed action in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts this week to challenge on Constitutional grounds the “Enforcement Notice” issued by state Attorney General Maura Healey. The lawsuit states that her office overstepped its legal authority and deprived the retailers of their due process protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. The action seeks declaratory relief and a permanent injunction enjoining enforcement.
“Attorney General Maura Healey’s actions were unconstitutional. Firearms retailers in Massachusetts cannot determine the meaning or scope of the Attorney General’s Enforcement Notice and subsequent explanations,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Because criminal penalties can result due to Attorney General Healey’s unilateral reinterpretation of a state statute done without administrative process or input from affected parties, her office exceeded its lawful authority and retailers were deprived of their due process protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.” “In addition, if the Attorney General’s Enforcement Notice is understood as applying to all semi-automatic firearms, it violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to keep and bear arms because it bans the manufacture, sale, and possession of a broad range of firearms in common use by the citizens of Massachusetts,” Keane said. “Unfortunately, Attorney General Healy’s unconstitutional action has left us no other option than to seek relief from the courts.” Representing the NSSF and the retailers are the Boston-based law firm of Kenney and Sams, P.C., and Michael Sullivan of the Ashcroft Law Firm, who is a former United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and former Acting Director, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Read the Civil Action.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 13,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.