New Jersey Attorney General Concedes Ban on Stun Guns Likely Unconstitutional

Stun guns may soon become legal in New Jersey.
Stun guns may soon become legal in New Jersey.

Last August, Mark Cheeseman and the New Jersey Second Amendment Society filed a federal lawsuit against the State seeking to overturn the State’s ban on the possession of stun guns and Tasers.

The complaint, filed August 11, 2016,  seeks an order declaring N.J. Stat. Ann. §2C:39-3(h), the statute banning the possession and use of “any weapon or other device which emits an electrical charge or current intended to temporarily or permanently disable a person,” an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment and therefore unenforceable.

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino conceded in a letter to the judge, “that an outright ban on the possession of stun guns within a state, regardless of the contextual circumstances surrounding any such possession, would likely not pass constitutional muster.” Porrino is seeking to settle the case.

Attorney Steven Stamboulieh, who represents the society and Cheeseman, said “it was a step in the right direction.” However, he wants the judge to first find the ban unconstitutional.

Presently, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island are the only states that ban civilian possession of stun guns. (New Jersey police officers are permitted to use stun guns.)

In reaching his decision, Porrino, in his letter to the court, cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in March that overturned a Massachusetts court that had upheld that state’s ban in the case of a homeless woman who used a stun gun to scare away a former boyfriend.

Porrino is seeking assurance that State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes can craft regulations governing the possession, use and sale of the devices, whereas Stamboulieh is concerned the regulations may be too restrictive.

There is no word yet as to what the judge will do. — by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog

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