BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation is delighted by today’s U.S. Supreme Court reversal of a court ruling in Massachusetts that upheld that state’s ban on stun guns, sending the case back to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.
A woman named Jaime Caetano was convicted after police found a stun gun in her purse while she was in a parking lot. She told them it was for self-defense and argued that she had a right to carry it for defense against an abusive ex-boyfriend.
While the high court did not strike down the Massachusetts ban, it instructed the state judges to reconsider their initial ruling in the case against Caetano. The state has banned the non-lethal weapons on the grounds that they are not protected by the Second Amendment.
“This ruling shows that the United States Supreme Court is not happy with lower courts ignoring the Heller and McDonald decisions affirming the individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “It is also an important ruling because the gun in question is a modern type and was used in public outside the home.
“Just because something didn’t exist at the time the Constitution was ratified doesn’t mean it isn’t protected,” he added. “By that same reasoning, no modern newspaper, online publication, or broadcast media would be protected by the First Amendment in the Bay State, and we all know that’s nonsense.”
Justice Samuel Alito was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas in a ten-page concurrence that noted, “While less popular than handguns, stun guns are widely owned and accepted as a legitimate means of self-defense across the country. Massachusetts’ categorical ban of such weapons therefore violates the Second Amendment.”
Gottlieb suggested this could have far-reaching implications. Not only could a reversal by the Massachusetts court nullify the state’s ban, but it might expand Second Amendment protections to modern firearms as well as non-lethal devices. It might also help lay the groundwork for a ruling that people have the right to carry for personal protection outside the home.