Mass. Stun Gun Law Struck Down By State's High Court

Apr 17, 2018

In a ruling Tuesday, the highest court in Massachusetts has opened the door for stun guns to become legal in the state.

In a written decision for a stun gun possession case, the Supreme Judicial Court said a state law banning the electronic weapons violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a decision made by the state court two years ago in another case where it had upheld the law.

Brian Kyes, president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police, said this most recent decision comes as no surprise. Head of the Chelsea Police, Kyes said he'd like to see current requirements for firearms used for stun guns.

"If we can just allow people to carry these weapons, if they so choose, as long as their licensed, as long as they're not otherwise prohibited, I think that should be the bar that should be set," Kyes said.

The SJC's action is stayed for 60 days to give the legislature a chance to rewrite the law.

Legislators have already been looking at the matter.

The public safety committee on Friday approved a redrafted bill (S 1283) filed by Sen. William Brownsberger that would regulate stun guns and Tasers – requiring people to be over the age of 18 and to have a firearms license to possess those weapons. 

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he intends to file legislation by mid-June.

"Speaker DeLeo is aware of the decision. We are currently reviewing the decision and legislative options. The Speaker intends to file legislation within 60 days," spokeswoman Whitney Ferguson said in a statement.

Senate President Harriette Chandler said her office was also reviewing the decision.

"We will be looking into options for amending the statute in accordance with the court's opinion," Chandler said in a statement.

Material from State House News Service was used in this report.