March 14, 2018
U.S. District Court Denies Mass. A. G. Healey’s Motion to Dismiss Suit against Overreaching ‘Enforcement Notice’
NEWTOWN, Conn. – A U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts judge has denied state Attorney General Maura Healey’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by four federally-licensed Massachusetts firearms retailers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, challenging the overreaching “Enforcement Notice” issued by her office in 2016 that deprived the retailers of their due process protections. The suit, which seeks declaratory relief and a permanent injunction enjoining enforcement, can now move forward.
“Attorney General Healy overstepped her authority when she issued the ‘enforcement notice’ banning certain firearms that have been lawfully sold in the state since at least 1998. Firearms retailers in Massachusetts were left to 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.”
Representing 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 (ATF).
Read the Memorandum and Order.
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 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.