Ban Assault Weapons

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton-Swing Left Western MA.

In addition to the recent carnage in Nashville, last Spring 18 year-old shooters in separate incidents killed 10 adults in Buffalo, NY, and 19 children and 2 adults in Uvalde, TX, ten days apart. Both shooters were using semi-automatic guns. Nationwide there are over 415 million guns circulating in our towns and cities, 25 million of which are semi-automatic military style rifles, the Colt AR-15 being the most popular. As dangerous as they are alone, these semi-automatic rifles can now be easily converted through a “Glock switch”, or a “machine gun conversion device”(MCD), to a large capacity, fully automatic, assault weapon. These devices and weapons are also being made in untraceable, 3-D plastic, like “ghost guns”  that can’t be traced. The legislation just passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Biden in June (Bipartisan Safer Communities Act), doesn’t come close to keeping up with this new threat. The gun lobby, the Republican Party and the Supreme Court, separately and together, have subverted all attempts at common sense gun control.

Thankfully, MA has some of the stricter gun laws in the country. A person can’t buy a gun or ammunition without a license that can take up to 30 days to obtain. The gun laws prohibit the purchase of “large capacity weapons”—assault weapons and those firearms that hold 10 rounds of ammunition, or more than 5 shotgun shells. As of January 2023, no one under the age of 18 may purchase a firearm or ammunition and no one under 21 may purchase “a handgun, large capacity weapon or large capacity feeding device.”  However, MA law currently says nothing about MCD’s or ghost guns.

Among the many firearms related bills filed in the MA House this year, two have local Rep. Mindy Domb, (D, 3rd Hampshire) as a sponsor.  MA bills HD.2959 would impose a 36% tax on all guns and ammunition sales with the money collected going to low-income communities gun buy-back programs, community based public health programs to prevent gun violence, and services for gun violence survivors and for victim family members. Another bill HD.503 (sponsored by Marjorie Decker, Vanessa Howard, and Mindy Domb) would make gun owners civilly liable for crimes committed with their lost and stolen weapons.

These are critical bills that should be passed. However, only one proposed bill strikes at the heart of the problem. MA House Bill HD.353 filed by David Paul Linsky (D, 5th Middlesex) would ban all semi-automatic firearms in MA by replacing the words “assault weapon” as a prohibited class of weapon with “any rifle or shotgun containing a semi-automatic mechanism.” A semi-automatic weapon fires one shot every time the trigger is pulled; an automatic weapon fires continually until the trigger is released. Magazines that can store 10-30 rounds are common in these weapons of war. This bill would address the MCD issue and the others proposed provide compensation for victims of gun violence and liability laws for gun owners.

These proposed changes are necessary steps to address gun violence in our communities. If you support any of this legislation please let the sponsoring representatives know and please write to all of your Western MA delegation about outlawing the “MCDs” and “ghost guns”. Our lives depend on it.






Susan Tracy

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton-Swing Left Western MA.