On 21 March of 2016, the Supreme Court issued a remarkable and, apparently to the Court, non-controversial decision. In the Caetano PER CURIAM decision (pdf), the Court held 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).
While the decision, which was unanimous, has far reaching implication beyond mere stun guns, stun gun bans have already started falling like dominoes.
Massachusetts, perhaps surprisingly, has done nothing about their law, leaving it in limbo. Prosecutions remain unlikely.
New Jersey is in the process of reforming its ban on stun guns.
New Orleans is facing a lawsuit aimed at the city's ban on stun guns. From theadvocate.com:
A New Orleans man has taken aim at a city ordinance that forbids the possession and sale of stun guns, claiming the little-known ban violates his Second Amendment right to self-defense.
The legal challenge comes amid a mounting push to lift similar restrictions in the handful of jurisdictions around the country that outlaw Tasers and other electroshock weapons, including a case in New Jersey in which authorities recently acknowledged that state's ban “would likely not pass constitutional muster.”
A lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in New Orleans asks a judge to declare the city ordinance unconstitutional, calling the law “arbitrary and irrational.”
The New Orleans ban ordinance includes a number of other banned weapons. From municode.com:
It shall be unlawful for anyone knowingly to:(1)Sell, manufacture, purchase, possess or carry any blackjack, sandclub, metal knuckles, switchblade knife or spring knife, iron buckle, zip gun or stungun;
All of these instruments appear to be “bearable arms”. Some, such as “sand clubs” might be “unusual”, though it is hard to see how they are more dangerous than the common blackjack or sap, sold to law enforcement. It is hard to see how it would be more dangerous than a foot long nipple of 3/4 inch galvanized pipe, sold in most hardware stores and over the Internet for less than three dollars.
I expect to see more bans on stun guns and other common bearable arms to fall. Currently, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island have such bans.
It is likely there are a number of local bans on various weapons, such as exists in New Orleans. All are now ripe for challenge in the courts.
This case will be cited far into the future.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch