Alert – Unnecessary Stun Gun Bill On The Move – Please Contact Your State Senator Immediately – Urge Them Not To Support S.2476
Following MA SJC Ruling, MA Legislature Rushes To Criminalize Possession of Electronic Devices Without a License
Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reversed their erroneous ruling regarding criminal possession of stun guns, citing, “we conclude that the absolute prohibition against civilian possession of stun guns … is in violation of the Second Amendment”.
At first glance, one would think this is cut and dry, and that Massachusetts would join the majority of states that do not criminalize the sale and possession of electronic self-defense devices.
Sadly, this is not to be, after our Supreme Judicial Court recognized that prohibiting possession is unconstitutional, the legislature has decided to not only take this up, but to do so in a hurry.
As written, the legislation would criminalize sale and possession without a license to carry (LTC) or FID card. Additionally it would require all electronic devices to have an integrated device that would track the number of times the device has been discharged. This change in the law would also leave no provision for non-residents, many of whom live in states where these devices are sold over the counter.
GOAL is urging all Massachusetts residents to contact their state senator immediately and urge them to contact Senate Ways & Means Chair Sen. Karen Spilka and Vice-Chair Sen. Joan Lovely. Your senator should urge them not to support S.2476, as written. It is unnecessary and, as the SJC has ruled, unconstitutional.
Issues with S.2476
- As noted by the SJC, prohibition of these devices is unconstitutional.
- A burdensome licensing system is completely unnecessary (see above), the vast majority of the country does not license these devices – and there are no issues.
- The current language would also leave no provision for non-residents, many of whom live in states where these devices are sold over the counter.
- Reminder, MA had an unnecessary licensing scheme for over a decade for pepper spray, which they finally repealed four years ago. There have been no issues since then with these products being sold over the counter.
- The current language offers overly severe penalties for possession or sale of these devices, which are sold over the counter in the majority of the country.This includes a penalty of up to ten years in prison.
- Requiring devices to have an integral discharge counter serves no purpose for citizens. This measure was initially put into the existing law to track use of these tools by law enforcement. Also, to our knowledge, basic stun guns are not sold configured in this manner.