BOSTON (SHNS) – Reports about dozens of firearms dealers based in a Littleton mill circumventing the state’s assault weapons ban should at least prompt conversations between Massachusetts officials and those involved, though any enforcement authority rests with Attorney General Maura Healey, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.
The Boston Globe reported on Sept. 10 that a former elastic mill in Littleton, known simply as “The Mill,” is home to at least 80 firearms vendors, making it the nation’s biggest collection of federally licensed gun manufacturers and dealers. Some of those vendors, the Globe reported, appear to be exploiting loopholes or defying Healey’s directives on prohibited assault weapons and parts.
“We have an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts, and the attorney general issued — I guess I would call it qualifications or modifications of the existing rules associated with what was legal and what wasn’t five or six years ago,” Baker told GBH’s Boston Public Radio when asked for his reaction to the Globe’s coverage. “I’m no expert on this, but based on the way those stories were written, it certainly seems to me like somebody should be talking to those folks.”
While Baker said he would support Healey, a Democrat who hopes to succeed him in the corner office, he made clear he believes it is primarily her situation to handle. “Her rules, her regs,” Baker said. “We talk to her office all the time about stuff. I don’t know if there’s been a conversation specifically about this one. I can certainly inquire about that. But the enforcement authority will belong to her. We would be in a position, certainly, to support the attorney general on this.”