Tasers and other types of stun guns have become very controversial. Some people view them as weapons that private citizens should be able to own under the Second Amendment. Law enforcement officials say that they require tasers to subdue suspects. Many others oppose tasers, saying that they are dangerous and are frequently misused by the police.
Until last week, Massachusetts law allowed police officers to carry stun guns, but completely banned civilians from owning them. A new ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Court has overturned the private-ownership ban. The court has ruled that the state may regulate, but not forbid, stun guns and Tasers.
Stuns guns as arms
The court relied heavily on precedent set by the United States Supreme Court that established stun guns as arms. The Second Amendment establishes that arms can be regulated, but not banned. Therefore, the stun-gun ban established by the State of Massachusetts was unconstitutional. There are currently four other states that ban stun guns: Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
State lawmakers are expected to create legislation addressing the private ownership of stun guns within the next 60 days. Under the court’s decision, the state may still regulate privately-owned stun guns and Tasers through establishing a licensing process, mandating training and prohibiting them in schools and government buildings.
The future of stun guns
While the specific laws regarding stun guns remain to be seen, the decision is welcome news for private citizens who face legal trouble relating to tasers. It will no longer be criminal to own stun guns, as long as the owner is in compliance with whatever regulations the state imposes. Anyone who has been arrested for possessing a stun gun or charged with a crime that involved a stun gun would be wise to consider their legal options in light of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s ruling.