A federal judge ruled last Friday that New York state’s ban on the personal ownership of stun guns is unconstitutional.
This ruling is the latest in a series of court decisions that have hacked away at gun control in certain states.
This federal court decision originated from a lawsuit filed by upstate New York resident Matthew Avitabile, who wanted to purchase a stun gun for self-defense.
Avitabile’s legal defense argued that New York’s ban on the civilian ownership of stun guns violated the Second Amendment. U.S. District Judge David Hurd agreed with the defense and ruled that New York’s stun gun prohibition is unconstitutional.
In his decision, Hurd stated that “New York’s sweeping prohibition on the possession and use of tasers and stun guns by all citizens for all purposes, even for self-defense in one’s own home, must be declared unconstitutional.”
The New York attorney general’s office, which defends the state of New York in lawsuits, directed all questions to the state police or Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office. According to Cuomo’s adviser Richard Azzopardi, state lawyers are reviewing the federal court’s decision and the governor has yet to comment on the issue.
Illinois’ Supreme court ruled in a similar fashion on Thursday, March 21, 2019, ruling in favor of two men charged with illegally carrying stun guns.
In 2017, the New Jersey state’s attorney conceded that New Jersey’s ban on electronic arms was unconstitutional. This case emerged after a resident and the New Jersey Second Amendment Society sued the state of New Jersey in 2016 after Taser International refused to carry out an order for the New Jersey resident’s Taser Pulse model. The company justified this move because of New Jersey’s ban on the sale of stun guns.
Last year, a Massachusetts court rejected the state’s stun ban, arguing that the prohibition of civilian weapons like stun guns violates the U.S. Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms.
Alan Beck, one of the two attorneys who filed Avitabile’s lawsuit, recognized that momentum was on their side with previous states striking down stun gun bans.
“After that, the domino fell in the right way, and the rest of these cases became much more likely.”
Avitabile’s other legal representative, Stephen Stamboulieh, stated that in the previous cases all the judges ruled that stun guns are “bearable arms”, thus they fall within the protections guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
Stamboulieh added that “If it’s a Taser, a billy club, a handgun, it’s all protected by the Second Amendment.”
And Avitabile’s team is not done battling these bans in the courts, they say.
The lawyer said that he and Beck have filed lawsuits with the goal of overturning stun gun bans in Hawaii and Rhode Island.
At a time when state legislatures in solid blue states are running roughshod over gun rights, lower courts do present interesting opportunities for gun rights advocates to hack away at gun control.
Just like the anti-gun Left employs a diverse array of strategies — corporate deplatforming, electioneering, judicial activism, and lobbying — to advance gun control, Second Amendment supporters are increasingly using a multi-pronged approach in restoring gun rights.
Gun rights activists point to these recent court victories as evidence that gun control can be defeated.
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