U.S. Supreme Court

Are stun guns protected by Second Amendment? SCOTUS is asked to decide

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stun gun

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A woman convicted for illegal possession of a stun gun in Massachusetts is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the weapon is protected by the Second Amendment.

The woman, Jaime Caetano, was arrested when supermarket employees identified her as a potential shoplifter in September 2011, according to the cert petition. Police found Caetano sitting in her car and asked to search her purse. She consented and police found a stun gun, a weapon Caetano said was intended to defend herself against a violent former partner.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts rejected Caetano’s arguments that a stun gun is an “arm” protected by the Second Amendment and affirmed her conviction. That opinion, the cert petition argues, wrongly conceives of the Second Amendment “as a sort of fossilized relic trapped in amber.” The arms protected by the Second Amendment include weapons that later came into existence, the petition contends.

University of California at Los Angeles law professor Eugene Volokh notes the cert petition in a post at the Volokh Conspiracy. Volokh is supporting the cert petition in an amicus brief filed on behalf of Arming Women Against Rape & Endangerment, a group known as AWARE. The brief notes a Michigan Court of Appeals decision that held a ban on stun guns violated the Second Amendment.

The case is Massachusetts v. Caetano.

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