Massachusetts Supreme Court: Stun Guns Can Be Regulated, Not Banned

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 18, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The top court in Massachusetts ruled this week that the state's ban on stun guns and Tasers is unconstitutional. The Massachusetts Supreme Court concluded that stun guns are "arms" under the Second Amendment, and therefore can't be fully banned under state law, but can be regulated under new state statutes.

Here's a look:

Supreme Court Guidance

"Having received guidance from the Supreme Court," the Massachusetts Supreme Court said, "we now conclude that stun guns are 'arms' within the protection of the Second Amendment. Therefore, under the Second Amendment, the possession of stun guns may be regulated, but not absolutely banned."

Chief Justice Ralph Gants wrote the court's unanimous decision. "Restrictions may be placed on the categories of persons who may possess them, licenses may be required for their possession, and those licensed to possess them may be barred from carrying them in sensitive places, such as schools," Gants wrote. "But the absolute prohibition in [state law] that bars all civilians from possessing or carrying stun guns, even in their home, is inconsistent with the Second Amendment."

Stun Gun Restrictions

The state will have to start from scratch when it comes to those restrictions, as the court invalidated the entire statute regarding stun gun prohibition. The court did, however, delay the ruling's effect for 60 days to give Massachusetts lawmakers time to consider and enact any regulations. Those regulations could include restrictions on who can own them, require licenses for people who possess them, and restrict stun guns from being carried in schools and government buildings.

"We believe the current restrictions on stun guns can be updated in a manner consistent with the high court's ruling and Massachusetts' common-sense firearm legislation," said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley. And a spokesperson for House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said legislation would be coming within two months.

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