The last direct action by the United States Supreme Court on the Second Amendment was the decision of Caetano v. Massachusetts. The case was decided in 2016. The Court unanimously held, in the Caetano PER CURIAM decision (pdf), that:
The Court has held that “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,” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570, 582 (2008), and that this “Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States,” McDonald v.Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 750 (2010).The case was about a Massachusetts State law that banned the possession of electric weapons, including stun guns. The Supreme Court did not directly invalidate the Massachusetts ban. It held that the Massachusetts Supreme Court was wrong when it found that electric weapons were not protected by the Second Amendment.
After the U.S. Supreme Court decision, the defendant in the case, Jaime Caetano, was formally found not guilty. The judge agreed to allow her record to be sealed, so that it would not show on a record check by a potential employer or other person. The Massachusetts ban remained on the books.
A federal lawsuit has been filed against Massachusetts AG Maura Healy, challenging the constitutionality of the stun gun ban. The lawsuit was filed on February 16, 2017. Here is the demand for judgment at the end of the complaint document
WHEREFORE Plaintiffs request this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendant as follows:
1. A declaratory judgment, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2201, that Section 131J violates the United States Constitution and laws of the United States, specifically, the Second and Fourteenth Amendments and 42 U.S.C. §1983;
2. An order permanently enjoining Defendant, her officers, agents, servants, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with them, from enforcing Section 131J, and any custom, policy, or practice of prosecuting individuals for sale, possession, or lawful use of an electrical weapon;
3. Attorneys’ fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988, 28 U.S.C. §1920, and any other appropriate authority; and
4. Any other further relief as the Court deems just and appropriate.
The Caetano case was about electric weapons. There are a number of States and local governments that have universal bans on electric weapons. Howard County, Maryland, is one of them. A lawsuit has been filed against Howard County as well.The Howard County Council is scheduled to vote on the repeal of the ban on Tuesday, 21 February. The Howard County Police Chief has stated the police department does not enforce the ban.
The Maryland case is the latest in a string of lawsuits Second Amendment supporters have enjoyed using the Caetano decision. Such lawsuits have had success in New Jersey, New Orleans, and the District of Columbia. Another lawsuit is being pursued in New York State.
It is difficult to argue that stun guns should be banned when the laws allow for possession of handguns. AG Maura Healy has already taken extreme actions to ban certain guns in Massachusetts. Gun owners in the state consider her to be hostile to the Second Amendment.
Internet searches have not revealed legal challenges to similar bans in Hawaii and Rhode Island.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.