A Major Win For Gun Owners In Massachusetts
Article from Reason by Eugene Volokh.
In an earlier case, the Massachusetts high court concluded that stun guns just aren’t “arms” for Second Amendment purposes, because they didn’t exist at the time the Second Amendment was written, and because they aren’t usable in the military. In Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed this judgment, holding that the Second Amendment wasn’t so limited, but sent the case back so the Massachusetts court could consider other arguments.
Today’s Massachusetts high court decision in Ramirez v. Commonwealth doesn’t really much discuss the other arguments — e.g., the argument that stun guns are “dangerous and unusual,” because they aren’t common these days, or the argument that stun gun bans pass heightened scrutiny as public safety measures — but just concludes that,
Having received guidance from the Supreme Court …, we now conclude that stun guns are “arms” within the protection of the Second Amendment. Therefore, under the Second Amendment, the possession of stun guns may be regulated, but not absolutely banned. Restrictions may be placed on the categories of persons who may possess them, licenses may be required for their possession, and those licensed to possess them may be barred from carrying them in sensitive places, such as schools and government buildings. But the absolute prohibition … that bars all civilians from possessing or carrying stun guns, even in their home, is inconsistent with the Second Amendment and is therefore unconstitutional.
The court therefore left the statutory scheme in place for 60 days, to give the Legislature time to pass a replacement (though this particular charge against this defendant is being dismissed immediately).
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By KAZ Vorpal (Flickr: Declaration of Independence, with Firearm) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons