A national gun rights group has asked a federal judge to immediately halt Massachusetts’s longstanding ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines while the court decides whether the law should stand at all.

The National Association for Gun Rights, a Colorado-based Second Amendment advocacy group, on Tuesday, was heard by First Circuit U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV in their attempt to overturn a 1998 assault weapons ban made a permanent law in 2004 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney.

“Massachusetts has been directly violating the Second Amendment for decades,” NAGR President Dudley Brown said. “Under Bruen, there is no doubt in my mind the days of Romney’s Assault Weapons Ban are numbered. The National Association for Gun Rights will see to it that the rights of the people of Massachusetts are restored.”

The gun rights group says that their lawsuit comes following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which struck down certain licensing conditions in New York State and elsewhere, including Massachusetts.

According to the high court, states must fashion gun laws that are in keeping with the history and tradition of the Second Amendment. Brown says Bruen should also lead to the end of Romney’s ban on magazines that carry more than 10 rounds and some popular rifle styles.

“This law bans firearms that are in common use throughout the United States, including the most popular rifle in America. Our members are chomping at the bit to snuff out semi-auto bans nationwide, and taking a hatchet to the Romney gun ban will be a tremendous feather in our cap,” Brown said.


The group is asking the judge for a preliminary injunction against the law while the case carries on. Brown says they’ll take the matter to the high court if needed.

“If the court disagrees and refuses to grant us a preliminary injunction, we look forward to appealing to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and on to the Supreme Court if necessary. Bans on commonly owned weapons fly in the face of both the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s Heller and Bruen rulings, and they cannot be allowed to stand,” he told the Herald.

According to Jim Wallace, the executive director of the Massachusetts-based Gun Owners Action League, while he said he agrees with the need to see Romney’s ban overturned, Brown may need to bring his case to the high court, as he doesn’t think NAGR will have much luck arguing for gun rights with a Bay State based judge.

“Your chances in the First Circuit are slim to none,” he said. “That is why we can’t rely on the courts here in Massachusetts to protect our rights when it comes to the Second Amendment.

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