Contents below updated 11/29/17
This is a long read about how MMA AR's are legal - it was written for another website, but.. it's worth reposting. I think. ;)
As much as I'd like to proclaim that we are the pioneers on the "selling AR's in Massachusetts" thing. We're not. We are, as far as I know, the only manufacturer/dealer IN Mass to be selling them. The others are California guns to some variant or another. And that’s OK, ANY AR is better than NO AR.
As to the legality:
1) The AGs office HAS contacted us. (the following paragraph is an update) We have been to 1 and then 7 Ashburton Place in Boston to discuss the rifles, how they are built and their legality. We brought in physical samples and left with with 1 less shoe than we entered with. On, October 26th, we were sent a letter stating, roughly, that the AGs office has chosen not to make a determination on whether or not the rifles are compliant or not. We asked for clarification and phone calls and no clarification was granted. As a result we have taken extra measures to ensure that the rifles are both compliant in LETTER and SPIRIT of the AWB as written. It was also pointed out to us that they (The AG's office) doesn't like being made fun of and poked at by MMA. Well, that's unfortunate. But what I will say is that every contact that the shop has had with the AGs office has been polite, civil, non-confrontational and, when they choose to communicate they are forthcoming when they are unable and/or unwilling to answer certain questions. (end update to this paragraph)
We have registered every single AR pattern rifle since then and nary a call.
2) HOW IS IT LEGAL THOUGH??
Again, my law school training amounted to "being accepted to law school and not being willing to pay the bill". So, I deferred to the ACTUAL lawyers. One of whom spent nearly a decade as a lawyer FOR the state FRB.
It goes roughly like this:
Go to the AGs website - http://www.mass.gov/…/assault-weapons-enforcement-notice.pdf
This is directly off the AGs website.
Read it. Go ahead, I'll wait.
OK, back? Cool.
As you notice.. we appear to violate section IV in that we are a copy of a Colt AR15.
Now, since you kept reading you saw that after I (discussing shotguns) there is the sentence:
"provided, however, that the term assault weapon shall not include:"
What this says, is, that "ok, you read the above, and those weapons are bad UNLESS THE FOLLOWING IS TRUE".
It's like saying "Hey.. you can't have any candy made of candy, unless I say you can have candy made of candy.. and I'm about to say you can have candy"
The next critical section is VI, which reads - "any semiautomatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition or (then you'd go to X which refers to a shotgun, so that doesn't apply)
So, back to the MMA rifles.
Are we a copy of a Colt AR15? Yep. However (a legal term in this case) the rifle DOES NOT accept a detachable magazine that holds more than 5 rounds of ammunition.
In fact, it's not detachable at all. Not only is it not detachable, it’s not removable as manufactured.
Now, does that mean that we could put on a 20 or 30 round magazine and pin it in place? Nope. Because they we'd be violating the magazine limits law. So we use a 10r mag. Could we use a preban magazine? Maybe, but we’re not interested in going there yet. Plus it makes the gun a bear to put in a bag or a safe and you can’t really easily bench rest it. So, whatever.
Now, i know you read the rest of the article and noticed the "summary" at the bottom of the actual law..
#1: We are not an enumerated weapon. That would be, specifically, a Colt AR-15.
#2: We are possibly a copy, except that we neatly fall in to the "however" exemption.
#3: Doesn't count because we qualify under #2.
The document continues on with the AGs "Guidance" section. In case the above wasn't clear enough. That said, we are legal according to the ACTUAL LAW.. but perhaps the AG can decree these rifles as illegal according to the rules that she fabricated for the July 20th announcement.
So let's read.
Her guidance - A weapon is a copy or a duplicate and is therefore a prohibited assault weapon if it meets one or both of the following tests and is 1) a semiautomatic handgun or rifle that was manufactured or subsequently configured with an ability to accept a detachable magazine, or a 2) semiautomatic shotgun.
Well, we aren't making a pistol, and we're not a shotgun. So that leaves "A semiautomatic rifle that was manufactured or subsequently configured with the ability to accept a detachable magazine".
Again we are a federally licensed manufacturer and we are using our own factory new lower and factory new parts to fabricate rifles from scratch, we are not converting an existing rifle. The rifles that we make were designed, assembled and sold with a non-removable magazine. So they were never manufactured with the ability to accept a detachable magazine, and since we built them new, without this capability, they were certainly not configured to accept a detachable magazine.
As a result we don't read #1 and #2 under this section as we don't qualify. These 2 section are GUIDANCE ON HOW TO QUALIFY AN ASSAULT WEAPON. BUT, due to subsection VI, we fall under "the term assault weapon shall not include" our rifle with the non-detachable magazine.
The AG goes on to reinforce 'you're a terrible assault weapon if you qualify as the above' and we are going to use the law to determine if you're an assault weapon, and the law that we are going to use is this: "Under section 121, the Features Test will in the Former 18 USC section 921 (a)(30) remains an independent basis for qualification as an assault weapon". That sentence right there restated that the AG will use the law itself as whether to determine if a rifle is a banned assault weapon. Reading the law, our rifle falls under exemption VI "cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than 5r of ammunition". In the same way that Liberals argue the comma in the Second Amendment, the critical word here is "detachable" magazine.
So that's our dissemination of the lawyers decree. In our case, we passed this by 2 separate firearms lawyers, and another shop we shared this with, their lawyer said basically the same thing.
A certain amount of internet couch commandos have screamed that we are terrible people until we "get a letter from the AG saying the rifle are OK".. well, we have tried. They will do no such thing. The AG's office "does not issue such letters" and it's "up to the dealer" to make such determinations. We all know that's bullshit and they are just ducking the question. So, we rely on the attorneys to give us guidance. It's similar to buying a handgun with less than a 10lb trigger pull. The law is very clear "thou shall have a bullshit 10lb trigger pull" unless.. Unless what?? "unless there are 2 steps to firing the gun". Well, what are the 2 steps?! Who the heck knows, but the industry has decided that a manual safety is one acceptable route, and the AG's office has agreed through silence and by watching as the FRB approves rosters with guns that can only be purchased with less than 10lb triggers (any 1911, for example), but that have external safeties. But.. that's a different topic.
(11/29/17 update below)
At the end of the day, the AG called us and said "HEY.. WHY YOU SELLING AR's?!" we gave them an answer and were told to carry on . Look, we're happy to push the limits, we opened the shop because we hate that this state hates guns, but at no point are we interested in going to jail over this when the AG is going to lose this battle in court. Simple as that. (Update here ->) We were asked NOT to say that the AG has "approved" our rifles, they have chosen, on Oct 21, to neither approve or declare them illegal. So we aren't saying that they are AG APPROVED, we are simply stating that they are compliant with Mass law and that we met with the AG in an effort to generate clarity and no clarity was granted. (end update)
I'll save the sales pitch on the actual rifles for now as you all have read enough.. but feel free to call us or check out the website for more details. We're working on revamping the website so stay tuned.
thank you kindly for bearing with me here!