The Right to Bear Nonlethal Arms in Massachusetts

The United States Supreme Court recently overturned a ruling in a Massachusetts court, which convicted a woman for carrying a stun gun.  The state court ruling was one of controversy as it supported Massachusetts’ stun gun law banning the possession of stun guns and Tasers. This law seemed to violate a citizen’s right to carry a weapon for self-defense. Indeed, the convicted woman was carrying a stun gun in order to protect herself from an abusive former boyfriend.

 
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The Massachusetts woman, Jaime Caetano, had been arrested in Ashland in 2011 after police found the stun gun in her purse during a search. The search was originally conducted after Police suspected her of shoplifting. Caetano argued that the state’s ban on stun guns deprived her of her Second Amendment right to bear arms. 

The Massachusetts law banning stun guns to anyone but police prompted the officers to arrest Caetano, who was eventually convicted of illegal carry. The Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld Caetano’s conviction, ruling stun guns and Tasers were not weapons that the Second Amendment meant to include.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling

Fortunately for Caetano and other concerned citizens, the unsigned U.S. Supreme Court ruling recently vacated the Massachusetts stun gun ruling. It declared that the state court improperly came to the conclusion that the Second Amendment only allows protection using weapons that were considered common when the nation was founded. The U.S. Supreme Court referred to its landmark ruling from 2008, regarding handguns in the home, and stated that the Second Amendment includes the right to any instrument that would constitute “bearable arms.” It explained that the Second Amendment applies to “bearable arms” that might not have been in existence at the time of the Constitution’s original writing.

The state’s lawyers urged U.S. Supreme Court justices to allow the conviction to stand, arguing that the Second Amendment does not include weapons not usually possessed by law-abiding citizens for the purpose of lawful protection. They contended that it only allowed for weapons in common use at the time of the 2008 ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court had consistently turned away in the past from opportunities to expand their 2008 ruling to weapons used outside of the home. However, this recent ruling wiping out the Massachusetts stun gun law was an accepted invitation by the U.S. Supreme Court to make a statement on the ban’s relation to the Second Amendment, and it did so with statements from Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito referring to the new ruling as “grudging.” This is presumably because the ruling did not categorically express that bans on stun guns were unconstitutional, but it came close to doing so.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling will send the case back to the state of Massachusetts for another trial. Until then, we have Justice Alito’s words to live by, which state that it is a “fundamental right of self-defense” to carry weapons for protection, like stun guns, so that Americans can defend themselves and do not have to worry about being disarmed by state authorities. 

If you’re looking for stun guns and Tasers that can offer you protection inside or outside of the home, The Home Security Superstore sells a variety of stun guns for women, stun guns and stun guns to carry on key chains, shooting stun guns, and even cell phone stun guns.


Reference:  Jaime Caetano v. Massachusetts, March 21, 2016