Fearing that Congress will let federal ban on assault-style weapons expire, Massachusetts legislators voted yesterday to bar the sale of the same 19 weapons in the state. The Boston Globe says advocates attracted gun-rights supporters by including a half-dozen provisions designed to make it easier to own legal guns. The measure would bar the sale of semiautomatic, military-style assault weapons like the AK-47, the Uzi, and shotguns with certain accessories. The gun-friendly provisions include a six-year gun license instead of the current four years, a new review board with power to restore gun licenses to people convicted of certain misdemeanors, and a 90-day grace period for expired firearm identification cards and licenses to carry. Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners Action League, said, “the bill represents… the beginning of the healing process, between lawful gun owners and the Massachusetts Legislature.”
The federal law is set to expire Sept. 14. The U.S. Senate approved an extension last March, but the House has failed to follow suit.
Massachusetts enacted its own assault-weapons ban in 1998, including it in a sweeping package of gun-control measures. Because the state law relies on the federal definitions of the prohibited weapons, legislators feared that if the federal law expired, the state ban also would dissolve. Seven other states are considering their own bans, says the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a Washington-based gun-control group.