MA Court Rules Stun Guns Not Covered by the Second Amendment

hello-kitty-taser

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, showing once again that it has as much respect for the civil rights of Massachusetts residents as does the nation of Ghana, recently upheld a Massachusetts law banning stun guns, holding that they are not protected by the Second Amendment. Since they weren’t around in 1789, they aren’t the kind of weapon that was contemplated by the framers when drafting the amendment. The facts of the case are as follows . . .

After consenting to a search of her purse, the defendant, Jamie Caetano, was arrested for possession of a stun gun in a supermarket parking lot. Caetano claimed that the stun gun was necessary to protect herself from an abusive ex-boyfriend, and that she had previously had to ‘display’ the gun to her ex-boyfriend to ward off an attack. She argued that a stun gun was an ‘arm’ protected by the Second Amendment. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected her arguments:

The ban on the private possession of stun guns will not burden conduct that falls within the scope of the Second Amendment if a stun gun is a weapon not “in common use at the time” of enactment of the Second Amendment and would be dangerous per se at common law without another, primary use, i.e., as a tool. See Heller, 554 U.S. at 624-625, 627, quoting Miller, 307 U.S. at 179. For reasons that follow, there can be no doubt that a stun gun was not in common use at the time of enactment, and it is not the type of weapon that is eligible for Second Amendment protection. See Heller, supra at 622….

[A]lthough modern handguns were not in common use at the time of enactment of the Second Amendment, their basic function has not changed: many are readily adaptable to military use in the same way that their predecessors were used prior to the enactment. A stun gun, by contrast, is a thoroughly modern invention. Even were we to view stun guns through a contemporary lens for purposes of our analysis, there is nothing in the record to suggest that they are readily adaptable to use in the military. Indeed, the record indicates “they are ineffective for . . . hunting or target shooting.” Because the stun gun that the defendant possessed is both dangerous per se at common law and unusual, but was not in common use at the time of the enactment of the Second Amendment, we conclude that stun guns fall outside the protection of the Second Amendment. See Heller, 554 U.S. at 622, 627.

The Court went on to apply a rational basis test to the law, since a stun gun can “deliver a charge of up to 50,000 volts” repeatedly, “without leaving marks… [t]he Legislature rationally could ban their use in the interest of
public health, safety, or welfare.”

After reading this case, I find myself wishing once again that Courts would expend more energy in forcing governments to justify their exercise of powers than in holding citizens responsible for justifying the exercise of their rights.

There’s an old saying that bad cases make bad law; in this case, the entire reason that the defendant came to the attention fo the police was because she was at a supermarket with someone who was detained for shoplifting. The police apparently approached her to question her about that incident, and presumably asked to search her purse in conjunction with that matter. That said, I am left with the sense that the Massachusetts Court decided that this was a perfect opportunity to thumb its nose at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Heller. Hopefully, the Supreme Court set right this challenge sooner rather than later.

In any event, let us never forget that the Massachusetts Court apparently doesn’t think that women have a right to empower themselves with non-lethal equipment to fight off male attackers. What’s all this I hear about that state being a bastion of ‘progressive’ politics?

(Hat tip: RK)

comments

  1. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Since the computer was not in common use in 1789, the internet is not protected by the first amendment. Government agents will be going house to house to confiscate computers, laptops, and tablets, and detain anyone who interferes. Have a nice day.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      Since Mormonism, Pentecostalism, Seventh Day Adventism, Jehovah’s Witness-ism, and the Bahia faith weren’t around yet in 1789, they aren’t covered by the 1st Amendment freedom of religion either.

      This court ruling is total and complete bullshit and they know it full well. The truth is they are just a completely lawless court. They do as they please, since they know that no one will stop them.

      It is high time that the residents of the slave state of Massachusetts start open carrying swords. Swords obviously were around in 1789 and are therefore “arms that people have a right to bear”. They are also a pretty good crime deterrent. I wouldn’t jack with somebody open carrying a sword.

    2. avatar AllAmerican says:

      Looks like the antis are already tooling up for the future fight to restrict energy weapons to the populous. Eventually at some point some form of energy weapon is going to be hand held effective, and the antis/big government sure don’t want us to have them, and will claim the 2A is only for “Guns”, though the 2A specifically defines “arms” knowing that weapons technology evolves…

      1. avatar Jake Tallman says:

        No way. Energy weapons will become a reality long after America is gone.

        1. avatar John L. says:

          Last year the US Navy deployed a ~100kW fiber laser based directed-energy weapon on the USS Ponce.

          So much for that.

          The problem for handheld DE is more in terms of power storage and delivery than anything else. A single AA battery stores around 15 kJ. A single round of 5.56×45 delivers around 1.7 kJ.

          Getting the battery’s energy out in a fraction of a second, rather than over hours, is at least half of pulling off a handheld DEW.

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Getting the battery’s energy out in a fraction of a second, rather than over hours, is at least half of pulling off a handheld DEW.”

          You do it the same way a photography flash does it, the battery charges a capacitor and the cap dumps its current in a fraction of a second into a transformer driving a Xenon Flash Tube (or equivalent).

          Thanks to Graphene, capacitor storage is rapidly advancing…

          That’s one of the big problems of a fast charging battery in a vehicle, if you can charge it fast, it can discharge fast with very ugly results.

  2. avatar Enuz says:

    …seriously?

    You don’t get to scream “GUNS ARE DANGEROUS!” and restrict them to the point of a de-facto ban and then turn around and ban people from carrying non-lethal defensive measures on the grounds that they aren’t dangerous enough.

    1. avatar Frank Masotti says:

      What part of the term stun gun does not mean gun? OK it doesn’t shoot “leather” anything. Unless you have a heart condition or a pacemaker and so forth. They need to make up their mind.

      1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

        Was “leather” auto-spell’s version of “lethal”?

  3. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Excellent. Drop the stun gun, shoot the SOB. Mission accomplished.

  4. avatar Fred says:

    I thought the courts loved less than lethal methods of self defense? I guess they didn’t like the idea that something is protected from the purview of the court.

  5. avatar the ruester says:

    A mouthful of government salad. Almost like they are daring scotus to do something about it. “Our law makes it so you can’t defend yourself with anything but a spoon…. WHAT, bro?! You want some?”. Sad thing is, no, scotus don’t want to fight you, bro.

  6. avatar crzapy says:

    She should be able to carry a mace, a poleax, a sword, and a crossbow then if stun guns are outlawed.

    All of those weapons were around and in common use when the 2nd amendment was written. Let’s see how the Massastupid court would react to that.

    1. avatar Derrick Pruitt says:

      If they could make us, we would only carry flintlocks.

    2. avatar Craig says:

      It’s Mass, they’d charge her for carrying without a LTC, brandishing, and disturbing the peace. If she argued that swords or poleaxes or axes were around in the 1780s, the Mass courts just have to point to the Commonwealth’s Constitution which allows for a collective right to keep and bear arms, not an individual one.

      Blame John Adams.

      1. avatar Ben says:

        That’s something I never understood. How can you have a “collective” without the “individual”?

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Yes, officer. I’d like to apply for a concealed Poleaxe license, please…”

  7. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    So, Massachusetts didn’t bother to read any of the precedent, particularly Heller which very specifically addressed the term arms, and technological progress:

    From the lower court ruling which was upheld by SCOTUS (the infamous page 53 discussed during SCOTUS orals as seeming to argue against machine guns being banned)

    The modern handgun—and for that matter the rifle and
    long-barreled shotgun—is undoubtedly quite improved over its
    colonial-era predecessor, but it is, after all, a lineal descendant
    of that founding-era weapon, and it passes Miller’s standards.
    Pistols certainly bear “some reasonable relationship to the
    preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” They are
    also in “common use” today, and probably far more so than in
    1789. Nevertheless, it has been suggested by some that only
    colonial-era firearms (e.g., single-shot pistols) are covered by
    the Second Amendment. But just as the First Amendment free
    speech clause covers modern communication devices unknown
    to the founding generation, e.g., radio and television, and the
    Fourth Amendment protects telephonic conversation from a
    “search,” the Second Amendment protects the possession of the
    modern-day equivalents of the colonial pistol. See, e.g., Kyllo
    v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 31-41 (2001) (applying Fourth
    Amendment standards to thermal imaging search).

    From the SCOTUS ruling in Heller, page 8 :

    b. “Keep and bear Arms.” We move now from the
    holder of the right—“the people”—to the substance of the
    right: “to keep and bear Arms.”
    Before addressing the verbs “keep” and “bear,” we interpret
    their object: “Arms.” The 18th-century meaning is no
    different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of
    Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons
    of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the
    English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson).
    Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary
    defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his
    defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast
    at or strike another.” 1 A New and Complete Law Dictionary
    (1771); see also N. Webster, American Dictionary
    of the English Language (1828) (reprinted 1989) (hereinafter
    Webster) (similar).

    The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that
    were not specifically designed for military use and were
    not employed in a military capacity. For instance, Cunningham’s
    legal dictionary gave as an example of usage:
    “Servants and labourers shall use bows and arrows on
    Sundays, &c. and not bear other arms.” See also, e.g., An
    Act for the trial of Negroes, 1797 Del. Laws ch. XLIII, §6,
    p. 104, in 1 First Laws of the State of Delaware 102, 104
    (J. Cushing ed. 1981 (pt. 1)); see generally State v. Duke,
    42 Tex. 455, 458 (1874) (citing decisions of state courts
    construing “arms”). Although one founding-era thesaurus
    limited “arms” (as opposed to “weapons”) to “instruments
    of offence generally made use of in war,” even that source
    stated that all firearms constituted “arms.” 1 J. Trusler,
    The Distinction Between Words Esteemed Synonymous in
    the English Language 37 (1794) (emphasis added).

    Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous,
    that only those arms in existence in the 18th century
    are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret
    constitutional rights that way. Just as the First
    Amendment protects modern forms of communications,
    e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844,
    849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern
    forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27,
    35–36 (2001), 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.

    1. avatar Dave in WA says:

      It is interesting to note that Heller under the definition of “arms” covers the possession of body armor. “The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” We all know that body armor is also on the gun grabbers agenda.

  8. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    Progressive ideology is not progress.

  9. avatar Shire-man says:

    Adding this to the 5,937 reasons we in NH need a fifty foot tall electrified fence against that filthy southern border. By which I mean the border of MA and NH of course.
    MA and CT should just seppuku themselves for the all the shame they bring.

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      Put up a fence between MA and NH? How would everyone in southern NH get to work in the morning? How would our urbanites get to their vacation homes up north? I can’t stand this state. The only thing that helps me maintain my sanity here in the Commonwealth is an FFL.

  10. avatar ReadMore says:

    This is nothing more than a thumb in the eye toward Justice Scalia and the idea of “original intent” jurisprudence. They blast the guy for original intent, but then they turn around and use the most ridiculous application of original intent I have ever heard of. These guys are self-defeating. They are making our job too easy.

  11. avatar Muddy Waters says:

    “Since they weren’t around in 1789, they aren’t the kind of weapon that was contemplated by the framers when drafting the amendment.”

    So according to MA, cell phones and computers are not protected from unnecessary searches and seizures, free speech on the internet is not a thing, and the right to travel freely only applies to horses and buggies on cobblestone streets.

    1. avatar Xanderbach says:

      …Well, yeah. This is MA after all.

  12. avatar Ken says:

    I hate to say it but I think the court was right in this circumstance. I don’t think a stun gun is a gun and I don’t consider it arms. Steel knuckles are generally not legal and how different is a stun gun?

    1. avatar Ben says:

      Another law that doesn’t make sense.

      1. avatar Jake Tallman says:

        Indeed. Firearms are fine, but knuckle dusters and switchblades are not? WTF? The former is a force equalizer, and the latter two are force multipliers. Why is one OK but the other two are not? Firearms are certainly more deadly than either of them…..

    2. avatar AllAmerican says:

      The 2A doesn’t say “guns”- it says arms, knowing full well technology advances and the people have the right to keep pace with such technology.

    3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      In Heller, the SC specifically acknowledged that the 2A was instituted as a countermeasure against Congress ever employing a politicized standing army or favored militia “to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms.” If it’s an ancient right, then it predates any specific technology and doesn’t limit “arms” exclusively to “firearms.”

      Moreover, the Court goes on to declare D.C.’s total ban on handgun possession in the home unconstitutional for amounting to a “prohibition on an entire class of ‘arms’ that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense.” The Court recognized that there are different classes of arms and, since they drew no line defining arms as firearms, would agree that a stun gun is an arm, covered under the 2A, as well.

      Finally, in Heller, the Court cites Miller in finding that the 2A does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. So who’s the militia? It’s at least all able bodied men capable of acting in concert for the common defense. In modern terms, as the antis relentlessly remind us, that includes the local police. Well, the local police, aka modern militia, use stun weapons, themselves. So a stun gun is covered by the 2A under Miller, too.

      The MA court erred in its decision by interpreting “arms” exclusively in terms of firearms, in ignoring that the militia does indeed use stun weapons, and that such weapons are in common use for a lawful purpose such as self-defense.

  13. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    Near as I can tell, stun guns shouldn’t be covered by the 2nd, just as cars, pools, and baseballs aren’t. The “gun” in stun gun doesn’t make it a firearm.

    1. avatar Jeremy says:

      The 2nd amendment does not say “gun.” it says “arms.” A sword is not a gun, but it is certainly “arms,” and as such is covered under the 2nd amendment. A stun gun similarly would fall under the 2nd amendment. Although I would typically not consider a baseball bat a weapon, when used as such I would consider it as protected under the 2nd amendment as well, along with other items typically not used as weapons but easily re-purposed as such, such as butcher knives.

      1. avatar Sian says:

        Man, I just dunno.

        On one hand “arms” has never been explicitly limited to firearms, though it does explicitly include firearms. class3 NFA restricted items such as cannon and explosive devices also fall clearly under the umbrella of “arms”.

        ‘Arms’ are generally read as weapons with a military application. Arguments can be made that a taser or stungun is not a weapon that is used militarily.

  14. avatar Gwen Patton says:

    The primary problem with that assumption is that when the Framers said “arms”, they meant “guns”.

    Guns are arms, but not all arms are guns. Swords are arms. staves are arms. Slings are arms. But just because something uses a stored electrical charge, it can’t be arms?

    I beg to differ. Benjamin Franklin, very familiar with electricity in many forms, first coined the term “battery” when he combined multiple Leyden jars into a single banked energy source. He drew the term from the military usage, of many weapons banked for use all at once. So the idea of this stored energy source having the potential for great good OR for great harm existed in the mind of at least one Framer. Otherwise, why not use a different term for a collection of interconnected units of power? He could have used “gang” — people “gang together” to do more than one could do individually, so why not call a group of electrical cells a “gang”? I contend that Franklin knew the potential of electricity to be a weapon, if enough was gathered in one place and could be directed. That’s why he used the military term, battery, for his interconnected Leyden jars.

    The ability to use something as a weapon is not inherent in the object. It is inherent in how we think of using the object. Anything at all can be “arms”, if we conceive of it as such.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      Extraordinarily insightful argument!
      Likewise, would an air gun be an “arm” at the time of the 2A’s drafting and ratification. There was such a weapon with a 20 round magazine and it was GI in Austria well before the ratification.

  15. avatar Paul53 says:

    Give Mass back to the British. Ashamed to have been born there.

  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Wow. I’m incredulous.

  17. avatar Sian says:

    Massholes.

    Know what was privately owned and protected by the 2a in 1776?

    Field artillery.

    Can’t this argument swing both ways? I want a howitzer.

    1. avatar AllAmerican says:

      I agree man. However, the 2A had yet to exist in 1776. It wasn’t till the constitutional convention. 🙂

      1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

        However, the 2A did not establish a right to keep and bear arms- it was a guarantee that the new government would continue to respect the right the colonists held under British rule to keep and bear arms (well except for Catholics) as a protection against tyranny by the crown.

        Hence the wording of 2A– it was a right that already existed that would not be infringed upon.

        So, although there wasn’t a 2A as such, he is correct that the 2A right certainly existed in 1776, right from the start of the country and was inclusive of far more powerful weapons than simply pistols and rifles.

      2. avatar Sian says:

        ok sure, but in the 1830’s the Senate provided several militias with guns, cavalry, artillery, and warships.

        I’d say the intent was pretty clear.

  18. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Chip… chip… chip… throw some scraps… chip… chip… chip.

    We incrementally lost the ability to freely exercise individual liberties. IMHO, we aren’t going to be successful in small, medium, or large steps. The government only has to win here and there to oppress individuals whereas we have to win darn near every battle. Huge bites or take the whole pie.

    Ohio has this thing against knives even though Ohio is strong on the firearms subset of “arms.” If an edged instrument can’t be held out as a tool then it is illegal to carry it. Ohio, like Massachusetts, doesn’t recognize how inclusive the term arms actually is and protections on the bearing of such. Lunacy.

  19. avatar gregory says:

    The stun gun is not a firearm. That being said, laws prohibiting the possession of them are assinine. They are a non-lethal means of self defense. Of corse the pacifists who are life-long victims will say people will torture someome with the them, therefore they need to be banned. I say just because the stupid pacifists allow themselves to be victims, I will not.

    Even as a LEO, I say to everyone, there are times that you just have to say “no” when the police want to search something of yours. If we have probable cause to search, we will do so. If we do not have probable cause to search, such is life.

  20. avatar MarkPA says:

    Didn’t a Federal Circuit court covering MA rule that a dagger and a baton were arms within the 2A recently when a vet moved to MA and was involved in a traffic accident; whereupon these arms were discovered in his car?
    In that case, the court reasoned that if a pistol in the home was protected by the 2A then it was protected for carry between homes. That Federal Circuit ought to recognize that a stun-gun is also an arm under the 2A even if it doesn’t recognize a right to carry.

    1. avatar NJ2AZ says:

      i believe it was the CT state supreme court and the ruling was for dirks

  21. avatar BDub says:

    “I find myself wishing once again that Courts would expend more energy in forcing governments to justify their exercise of powers than in holding citizens responsible for justifying the exercise of their rights.”

    THIS!!! This is the crux of it all – the place where the whole system of checks and balances breaks down.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Word! Let us eliminate every unnecessary law with extreme prejudice.

  22. avatar MarkPA says:

    Isn’t this a perfect case for SCOTUS to take?
    – Sympathetic defendant (woman, angry ex)
    – in common use:
    – – when? 18th century, 19’th/20’th, 21st or some combo?
    – – by whom? women, men, non-police, police?
    – – where? in MA, in NYC, anywhere
    – bear outside the home?
    Let’s assume SCOTUS is timid; it doesn’t want to rule on a case of an OFWG OCing his Colt in Krogers shopping for a 6-pack. It wants the lower courts to figure out the details of carry bit by bit. Yet, SCOTUS wants to point the lower courts in the direction of Heller.
    What better fact set to deal with? Who is going to be outraged by SCOTUS turning a sympathetic ear to a woman with a violent ex? Who is going to be outraged by SCOTUS ruling that a less-than-lethal ‘arm’ is covered by 2A if a lethal ‘arm’ is covered? The MA court is pointing to the era of the flint-lock pistol and sword at hearth-side. Is that to the exclusion of the percussion cap? To rim-fire? To center-fire? Or, if center-fire and rim-fire are ‘arms’ then so-too are still more modern arms.
    By whom is an interesting area of inquiry. It calls for an examination of what is meant by “the militia”. Does it exclude women or men too young or too old? Soldiers on active duty in the army were excluded, of course, but what about others? Was a sheriff a part of the militia? Those the sheriff appointed for watch & ward duty? Those appointed for posse comitatus duty? Isn’t it so that those appointed for watch & ward or posse comitatus acted as agents for the sheriff or other civil authority? What is the nearest analogue for these 18th century institutions? Are they not our deputy sheriffs and municipal police officers? Do deputy sheriffs or municipal police use stun guns (or Tasers) to subdue riotous or disorderly persons?
    Do women count as common users? If women routinely order stun guns from internet vendors (LGSs, etc.) anywhere in the US, are they in common use? Perhaps women do so order and keep or bear stun guns; alas, lacking militia responsibilities, they don’t count. SCOTUS ought to study whether this is true or not. Would some threshold percentage of women have to keep/bear stun guns, say 51%?
    As with Miller, I can imagine SCOTUS ruling narrowly in this defendant’s case that she has a right to bear a stun gun in public. If the Commonwealth wishes to impose any regulation on such bearing it needs to adopt a Constitutional law to that effect; very much like it did with Heller where it left up to DC to adopt a handgun-in-the-home registration ordinance.
    Such a ruling would be so narrow that SCOTUS would probably not see much back-lash. Nevertheless, it would paint the handwriting on the wall for lower courts to wrestle with. To constrain the right to bear under a licensure requirement only stun guns would look increasingly bizarre over time. To maintain a May-Issue law for stun guns would look bizarre. How would judges wiggle their way out of some such SCOTUS ruling?

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Are you kidding? The Supreme Court hasn’t decided on things like NY’s Sullivan Law or the issue of ‘May Carry’ of firearms outside the home but you think a ‘timid’ court would take a case that involves a NON-gun? Any ruling making them legal would so widen the idea of “arms” beyond that which it is currently that it would invalidate thousands of weapons laws throughout the country.

      1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

        Funny, the timid court did address the definition of arms being much wider…

        Before addressing the verbs “keep” and “bear,” we interpret their object: “Arms.” The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson). Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.” 1 A New and Complete Law Dictionary (1771); see also N. Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) (reprinted 1989) (hereinafter Webster) (similar).

        The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were
        not employed in a military capacity. For instance, Cunningham’s legal dictionary gave as an example of usage: “Servants and labourers shall use bows and arrows on Sundays, &c. and not bear other arms.”

        To rule as they did, the Massachusetts court completely ignored the reasoning applied in Heller and McDonald. I would expect it to be overturned at the next level.

  23. avatar Hannibal says:

    While I think it’s foolish to ban less-lethal weapons like tasers and stun guns, I don’t think this is a 2nd Amendment issue we should be worried about. Worry about firearms. Once lawmakers aren’t able to prohibit them, maybe they’ll start to think electric stun devices are a better alternative.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      I’ll go with that one.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        Quite to the contrary! This strikes me as a beautiful place to start. SCOTUS could rule that stun guns are arms, they are in common use today by both the police (a modern version of the militia analogous to the sheriff, his deputies, posse comitatus, watch & ward) and they may be carried subject to ‘reasonable’ requirements (e.g., Shall Issue).
        We get back our cake by un-nibbling it one bite at a time

  24. avatar JoshuaS says:

    Massachusetts has a way of making even California seem pro-self defense

    CA’s law about stun guns is that they must be sold with an instruction book. Those under 18 need parental permission to carry one. Felons, those convicted of assault, those addicted to drugs may not have one. Everyone else may purchase, possess or use a stun gun, and this is guaranteed by state law. $50 fine for violations of any of this.

    Similar law with “tear gas devices” (aka pepper spray)

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      That’s one of many reasons why I advise people in CA who will not carry a gun to carry a Taser. My wife and I both have a C2 with red dot laser sights. I’ve never deployed either, but the X26 is definitely effective.

  25. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    “After consenting to a search of her purse….”

    OK, let me stop you right there. Never consent to searches, especially in a slave state or if you’re on shaky legal ground. If they had probable cause or other warrantless search exception, then they wouldn’t ask your consent. Well, they might, but just to make the search that much more legal and resistant to later challenge. Regardless, you cannot stop a legal search, so neither should you consent to what would be an illegal search, but for your consent.

    No search, no evidence, no case. The police are not necessarily the enemy, but neither are they your buddies. About the best you can hope for is that they are honest professionals collecting evidence and enforcing in good faith the law as written. That may not be good enough, though, under the regime of a slave state. So make no statements and give no consent for searches!

  26. avatar NJ2AZ says:

    Interestingly enough, recently the CT supreme court decided that dirk knives ARE protected “arms” under the 2nd amendment, using the logic that firearms are clearly protected under the 2nd amendment, dirk knives are far less lethal, and therefore not extending 2nd amendment protection to them as arms really wouldn’t make a lick of sense.

    Funny how MA apparently can’t even use as much common sense as connecticut

    1. avatar NJ2AZ says:

      in fact that decision actually calls out a MA decision..hah

      http://jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/Cases/AROcr/CR315/315CR113.pdf

      jump to page 25.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      I don’t believe any of it is really about common sense, rather, it’s about government power and how government can gain as much as the People will tolerate. In other words, it’s a shell game and the odds heavily favor the house.

  27. avatar Another Robert says:

    Actually, the saying is “hard cases make bad law,” because such cases tend to be limited to their facts. In this instance, it appears that the Massachusetts state gov’t made a bad law–imagine that…

  28. avatar Kyle in CT says:

    I fail to understand the logic (I’m presuming good faith here, maybe that’s the problem) that leads a court to conclude that blanket bans on the carry of typical defensive weapons (i.e. we are excluding RPGs and mortars, which clearly have no practical defensive use in a civilian environment) are constitutional. There is a clear line of logic here:

    1) We have a human right to defend our lives from the threat of an aggressor. Beyond being a core belief, this is spelled out in law going back centuries to British common law and likely before that.
    2) If you have a right to self-defense, you must recognize that one cannot adequately defend themselves from an aggressor without tools. As human beings, we require tools for pretty much everything: growing food, building shelter, etc. To assert that we cannot use tools to accomplish something is a de facto denial of the ability to accomplish that thing. You have no right to insulated clothing? Good luck surviving northern winters. You have no right to own a vehicle? This essentially means you have no right to move around, or at least not equal opportunity to do so. Same goes for firearms. If you deny the right of people to own an effective tool for self-defense, you are effectively denying them the right to self-defense. In essence it is no different than saying, “Sure, you have the right to defend yourself, but you have to do it without using your hands.”

    You cannot profess that you support people’s right to defend themselves from an attack, while suggesting that the government prohibit people from owning and carrying firearms. They are mutually-exclusive concepts.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      That’s a very well reasoned post and I agree.

  29. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    I don’t believe that these black-robed tyrants actually believe the words they have written. Rather, they merely believe that they, and their ideology, are above the law.

    They exemplify the underlying reason for the second amendment.

  30. Actually, the old saying goes “hard cases make bad law”. It makes more sense that way, too, with more relevance to the matter at hand.

    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/hard-cases-make-bad-law.html

  31. avatar Kyle says:

    So the court here is saying that because stun guns cannot be readily adapted to military use, they are not protected under the Second Amendment? But “assault weapons” are military weapons, so they are also not protected under the Second Amendment?

    Note also: Do not consent to a search and do not answer questions.

  32. avatar Aaron says:

    So, is the MA court arguing that if Caetano had a gun in her purse instead of a stun, they would be cool with that?

    ‘Cause we all know that ain’t true.

    More like, “stun guns aren’t protected by the 2nd amendment, so you can’t carry one. Real guns are protected, but you still can’t carry one”.

  33. avatar Ozzallos says:

    Since the laws of physics have been in place since 1789, a stungun is fine since its operation is based on reality present on or before the writing of the second ammendement.

    Dumbasses.

  34. avatar int19h says:

    Stuff like that makes me glad that my state’s 2A equivalent has an explicit provision saying that it’s there, among other reasons, for individual self-defense.

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