R.I. Stun Gun Ban Struck Down

It is a case of O’Neil v. NeronhaJudge William E. Smith (D.R.I.) ruled today in favor.Judge Smith disapproves D.C. v. Heller (pp. (pp. 9-10, n.7) but uses it to determine that the ban on stun guns is not constitutional. Frank Saccoccio, Stephen Stamboulieh and Alan Beck are all congratulated on their victory.

Soon after D.C. v. Heller Supreme Court ruled that stun guns should be banned in 7 states and D.C. as well as the Virgin Islands. I compiled these in Nonlethal self-defense, (Almost Completely) nonlethal weapons, and the rights to keep and bear arms and defend life(62 Stanford Law Review, 199 2009).) But Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016), the Court signaled that stun gun bans may well be unconstitutional, and lower courts and legislatures have largely heard the message.

According to my calculations, it has been since D.C. v. Heller stun gun bans have been invalidated or repealed in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, now Rhode Island, Wisconsin, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Overland Park (Kansas), and Annapolis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tacoma, and in four Maryland counties (Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Harford County, and Howard County). The Illinois Supreme Court, which had held that the Second Amendment secures a right to carry guns (a matter on which courts are split), has also held that the Second Amendment likewise secures a right to carry stun guns. The logic of this opinion would also invalidate, I think, the bans on irritant sprays (such as pepper spray and mace) in some Illinois towns (see pp. 246-47 of this article

According to my knowledge the ban on stun guns remains in place

  • New York, where a federal district court held that the state stun gun ban was unconstitutional, but a state trial court in a different case disagreed (yes, state courts can do that),
  • Wilmington, Delaware and New Castle County are the counties in which they are located.
  • Also, some small towns.

Additionally, stun guns have been heavily regulated in Connecticut (and some other cities) with a ban on their possession in almost all places except the home. New Jersey lawyer Dan Schmutter  tells me that New Jersey likely also essentially bans carrying stun guns outside the home. You can read more in this article. However, the Appendix 2 listing of restrictions has been removed.