Massachusetts long gun sales tumble one year after copycat ban
By Christen Smith
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced a prohibition on state-compliant versions of banned long guns on July 20, 2016, sparking an unprecedented buying frenzy. (Photo: Healey’s office)
Background check applications for long guns in Massachusetts decreased by more than half in July after a last-minute ban prompted an unprecedented buying frenzy the year before.
Dealers submitted 2,150 long gun applications to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month — 58 percent less than the 5,108 record-breaking checks processed in 2016. By comparison, dealers transferred just under 2,000 long guns in 2015, 8 percent behind this year’s projected sales.
The dramatic shift downward likely stems from last year’s surprise move from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who on July 20, 2016 announced a ban of “copy-cat assault weapons,” effective immediately.
Healey said during a press conference at the time her decision to ban “state compliant” versions of outlawed guns, including the Colt AR-15 and the Kalishnikov AK-47, was supported by the state’s 1998 assault weapons ban — a law she says the gun industry “has openly defied for nearly two decades.”
“I want to be perfectly clear — if a gun’s operating system is essentially the same as that of a banned weapon or