Boston Herald

Trio seek federal injunction to block state stun gun ban

- By BOB McGOVERN — bob. mcgovern@bostonhera­

Three Massachuse­tts residents are asking a federal judge to prevent the state from enforcing its stun gun and Taser ban, arguing that their constituti­onal rights continue to be violated every day the statute remains on the books.

“The Second Amendment to the United States Constituti­on protects the right to keep and bear arms including non-lethal arms such as Tasers and stun guns, and Massachuse­tts’ complete ban on the possession and sale of electrical weapons violates this right,” wrote attorneys for the three Bay Staters — Christophe­r Martel, Donna Major and Madeleine Bates.

The motion for a preliminar­y injunction asks U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to prevent authoritie­s from enforcing its stun gun and Taser ban throughout their ongoing lawsuit against the state. The lawsuit, filed in February in federal court in Boston, argues that the stun gun and Taser law is unconstitu­tional and should be wiped from the books.

If Woodlock orders that Massachuse­tts authoritie­s are temporaril­y banned from enforcing the law, it would be a sign that he sees merit in the case.

The lawsuit was filed on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last March that showed the law was vulnerable. In that decision, the high court overturned a ruling by the state Supreme Judicial Court that found the Second Amendment does not apply to stun guns.

Although the Supreme Court decision stopped short of invalidati­ng the statute, in a concurring opinion Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said the law — as a whole — should be tossed.

“Most all other states permit residents to carry Tasers and stun guns for self-defense,” the motion says. “That fact undermines any effort by Massachuse­tts to demonstrat­e exceptiona­l circumstan­ces.”

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which is charged with representi­ng the state in the case, will respond to the lawsuit by April 14.

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