Massachusetts Court Endorses Right to Bear Stun Guns

Massachusetts Court Endorses Right to Bear Stun Guns

Sharply reversing course, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday overturned a state law banning civilian possession of stun guns.

The court dismissed a criminal stun gun possession charge against Jorge Ramirez, who was arrested in 2015 after police discovered one in his trousers pocket following a traffic stop.

"I went online tried to order one for my wife, and they tell me no, they can not deliver to Massachusetts", Springfield resident Rafael Pereira said.

"Having received guidance from the Supreme Court", the decision written by Chief Justice Ralph Gants reads, "we now conclude that stun guns are "arms" within the protection of the Second Amendment".

The court ruled Tuesday in the case of Jorge Ramirez, who was arrested after police found a stun gun in his pocket following a traffic stop for a broken tail light.

The ruling came in a case in which a defendant was charged with possession. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in his concurring opinion noted that "Caetano's mere possession of the stun gun that may have saved her life made her a criminal" in MA.

MA is one of five states that outright ban private ownership of stun guns, which deliver a low-power electrical shock created to immobilize a person, and Tasers, which are used by law enforcement and fire projectiles with much greater force. Gun laws in MA are among the strictest in the nation in regulating the sale, possession and use of firearms and ammunition.

Gants recalled that while the state's highest court previously held that a stun gun ban "did not violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms, as interpreted by District of Columbia v. Heller", the U.S. Supreme Court, "in a brief per curiam opinion, concluded that each of the three explanations we offered to support this holding were inconsistent with propositions stated in Heller, and therefore vacated the judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings".

The earlier ruling in MA involved the arrest of a woman who told police she carried a stun gun as protection against a former boyfriend.

But the U.S. Supreme Court intervened in the Caetano case, vacating the ruling and ordering further review of the law by the MA courts.

Under Tuesday's ruling, the current law remains in effect for 60 days to give state lawmakers the chance to write a new law that could make stun guns subject to the same or similar licensing requirements as other types of firearms.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the Democrat was reviewing options and would file legislation within 60 days.

"We are now reviewing the decision and legislative options", a spokeswoman for DeLeo's office said.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Boston upheld another MA law that bans assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, ruling that those types of weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment.

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