Lawmakers in Washington D.C. are working on repealing a ban on stun gun ownership after the restriction was challenged in a federal lawsuit.
The three D.C. residents who filed the lawsuit will be able to keep and possess Tasers in their homes, following the agreement settled this week by attorneys representing the city.
In response, the lawsuit has been placed on hold until the D.C. Council drums up legislation to legalize the possession and carry of stun guns, as well as doing away with a law that requires pepper spray registration with the Metropolitan Police Department.
Banned in five states and countless cities, stun gun law reform is likely to come about due to the increased pressures of Second Amendment supporters who demand fewer restrictions on self-defense options.
“We have a complete ban on stun guns right now, and I think it’s reasonable to expect that the ban would not hold up,” said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who introduced legislation to repeal the ban on the 20th of September.
“The bill goes very far toward deregulating stun guns,” he noted. “My view is that stun guns are not lethal in the same way firearms are. Therefore, a regulatory scheme similar to firearms is more difficult to rationalize.”
Washington D.C. is notorious for its strict laws concerning firearms and other self-defense tools, with some of the strictest firearms laws in the country, including gun registration and a “may issue” permit system that requires a “good reason” to carry that goes well beyond desire of a permit for self-defense.
A recent Supreme Court ruling regarding a Massachusetts woman’s criminal charges for possession of a stun gun laid the foundation for Second Amendment supporters to push for the loosening of restrictions. The Supreme Court ruling rejected the arguments invoked by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, in which judges said stun guns were not protected under the Second Amendment because they “were not in common use at the time of the Second Amendment’s enactment.” The charges against the woman have since been dropped.
Since the ruling, numerous lawsuits have popped up along the eastern seaboard in states like New Jersey, where a federal lawsuit filed in August is challenging the state law that bans ownership of the devices.
“If you have a gun in your home, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to have a stun gun in your home,” said attorney Stephen Stamboulieh, who filed the case in New Jersey. “Why are you going to limit me to only lethal self-defense?”
According to The Washington Times, Stamboulieh intends to help others challenge the rulings against stun guns in their own states and municipalities.
“People should be able to carry what they want to carry,” he said.
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