MA court strikes down ban on stun guns for civilians

Top court in Massachusetts strikes down stun gun ban, says licensing requirement would be OK

The highest court in MA ruled Monday that the state can continue to ban ownership of stun guns because people do not have a Second Amendment right to own them.

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. "Therefore, under the Second Amendment, the possession of stun guns may be regulated, but not absolutely banned". "Filled out everything, all the information, but when I filled out MA, they deny".

"Commonwealth-Mass-stun-gun.pdf">Ramirez v. Commonwealth, Chief Justice Ralph Gants said the high court "reluctantly" came to the conclusion that Massachusetts's blanket prohibition on electronic weapons couldn't be saved as it was flawed in its wording by the legislature. "While the Justices held that, in Caetano's case, "'the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding", MA has not acted to repeal their prohibition on stun guns and tasers.

Although court found the law unconstitutional, Gants said striking it in its entirety would leave the state without any stun-gun regulation at all. Gun laws in MA are among the strictest in the nation in regulating the sale, possession and use of firearms and ammunition.

Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners Action League, the MA affiliate of the National Rifle Association, welcomed the state Supreme Court ruling.

To give the state Legislature a chance to correct the law, the justices stayed their decision striking the law for 60 days.

Senate President Harriette Chandler said her office was also reviewing the decision.

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The state requires people to be licensed to possess a firearm and it prevents those convicted of violent crimes, those who have been committed to an institution for substance abuse, and those under the age of 15, among others, from obtaining a firearm identification card, Gants noted.

The court is giving the MA legislature 60 days to revise the statute behind the prohibition so it meets constitutional muster.

A Taser electro-shock weapon issued to many police agencies is a type of stun gun.

"Although less lethal than a handgun, stun guns can be used to hide the torture and abuse of another person because they 'can deliver repeated or prolonged shocks without leaving marks, '" Gants wrote, quoting from the Caetano decision.

Opponents of the state's ban framed the debate around empowering victims of domestic violence, arguing stun guns offer an alternative to pepper spray and firearms.

State leaders - including DeLeo, a Democrat, and Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican - have touted the state's system for regulating guns as a model for the rest of the nation.

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