The Volokh Conspiracy

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New Jersey stun gun ban struck down, by consent order; New Orleans ban repealed


Taser's X26c stun gun in 2004. (Tom Hood/Associated Press)

Last week, the New Jersey stun gun ban was officially declared unconstitutional, by consent order between the New Jersey Second Amendment Society (represented by Alan Beck) and the New Jersey Attorney General's office. The AG's office had concluded "that an outright ban on the possession of electronic arms within the state … would likely not pass constitutional muster" in light of Caetano v. Massachusetts, Heller, and McDonald; I think that's correct, for reasons described in my "Nonlethal Self-Defense, (Almost Entirely) Nonlethal Weapons, and the Rights to Keep and Bear Arms and Defend Life" article. The New Orleans City Council also repealed the New Orleans ban last week.

In recent years, stun gun bans have also been invalidated or repealed in Michigan, Wisconsin, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Overland Park, Kan., and Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Harford County, and Howard County (all in Maryland); the Baltimore City government is apparently working on the repeal as well, in the wake of a lawsuit.

Stun gun bans remain in effect, to my knowledge, in Hawaii; Massachusetts; New York; Rhode Island; Philadelphia; Tacoma, Wash.; and Wilmington, Del., plus some smaller towns. The Massachusetts and New York governments are fighting challenges brought by the Center for Individual Rights and Middleburgh, N.Y., Mayor Matthew Avitabile, respectively. I hope to have more on the Massachusetts litigation soon. Stun guns are also heavily regulated (e.g., with total bans on carrying in most places outside the home) in some other places.