Where are Maura Healey’s friends?


Facing a barrage of criticism from homophobes, haters and gun nuts over her move to restrict assault weapons similar to the one used in the Orlando massacre, Attorney General Maura Healey may be wondering who her friends are.

The lack of support for Healey has one LGBT elected official calling for a change in leadership at the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Last month, Healey announced that her office would move to close a loophole in Massachusetts’ 18 year-old law banning assault weapons. That law, which mirrors federal legislation that expired in 2004, bans specific, name-brand guns and their duplicates.

To get around that, Healey says, gun manufacturers make tiny adjustments to banned weapons and then market them as legal firearms.

“The gun industry has openly defied our laws here in Massachusetts for nearly two decades,” Healey said in a press release announcing that her office would take a more strident view of the ban on copycat assault weapons than her predecessors.

On most issues, an announcement by the Commonwealth’s top law enforcement officer boldly declaring her intentions to enforce the law would not be met with surprise, but when it’s about guns, the wackadoodles come out of the woodwork.

In a hastily organized protest in front of the Statehouse days after Healey’s announcement, protesters carried signs likening the nation’s first LGBT Attorney General to Adolf Hitler. A steady stream of callers to Healey’s office hurl insults at whoever is answers the phone. And on social media, the predictable alt-right backlash includes well more than the daily recommended allowance of homophobia and sexism.

After initially giving a positive review of Healey’s decision to fully enforce the assault weapons ban, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker reversed course and criticized her for it. Scores of legislators — both Democratic and Republican — have come out against Healey.

The head of Massachusetts’ most active gun group called Healey’s actions “an all out assault on lawful citizens.”

While Healey’s critics have not been shy, her allies are nowhere to be found.

After Orlando, many LGBT groups said they would take on gun safety as an important issue for the community. With the exception of the DC-based Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, LGBT groups have not had Healey’s back.

Nationally, the Democratic Party and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have made gun violence a prominent issue in this year’s presidential election, but the Massachusetts Democratic Party has not said a word in defense of Healey, one of the most prominent Democratic elected officials in the Commonwealth.

Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff said she is “completely stunned” that Democratic Party leaders have not come to Healey’s defense.

“Once again this is a perfect opportunity for the state Democratic Party to be leading, but there is no leadership in sight,” Duff said. “When a Constitutional Officer is having her life and safety threatened, and no one thinks there is a problem, we clearly have a problem. It’s time for change.”

Originally published at baywindows.com.

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