Federal District Court for Massachusetts
Challenge to the Massachusetts ban on the possession of so-called "Assault Weapons"
Filed January 23, 2017
Worman v. Baker
Worman v. Baker is a direct challenge to the constitutionality of MGL Ch. 140 §131M which bans "the sale, transfer or possess of an assault weapon or a large capacity feeding device that was not otherwise lawfully possessed on September 13, 1994". The lawsuit also challenges the constitutionality of the Attorney General's July 20, 2016 Notice of Enforcement which rather than clarifying the statute, created more doubt and uncertainty about what firearms are and are not legal to possess in Massachusetts.
The complaint make three allegations:
- That the Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban is unconstitutional because it bans the possession of an entire class of 'arms' that are in common use by law-abiding adult citizens in violation of the Supreme Court's decision in DC v. Heller.
- That the Attorney General's July 20, 2016 Notice of Enforcement is unconstitutional because it amounts to an ex post facto enlargement of an existing criminal statute.
- That the term "copies or duplicates" is unconstitutionally vague because law-abiding citizens of average intelligence are not aware of what conduct is prohibited.
The lawsuit seeks declaratory judgements that the Assault Weapons Ban is an unconstitutional violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments; that the "copies or duplicates" language in the July Notice of Enforcement is a retroactive application of a new law in violation of the plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment rights; and that the phrase "copies or duplicates" is also a violation of Fourteenth Amendment because it is unconstitutionally vague. The suit also seeks to enjoin the Commonwealth from enforcing the Assault Weapons Ban.