The city of Baltimore, Baltimore County and Howard County recently dropped bans on stun gun possession and ownership. The reversal is based upon a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the possession and use of stun guns are protected by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
The court ruled that the Second Amendment governs all weapons possession of instruments that are bearable arms. These instruments also include weapons that were not in existence when the Bill of Rights was drafted.
Baltimore City Council was the last of these bodies to lift its ban in a 14 to 1 vote. It legalized stun guns after the filing of a lawsuit against the city over the ban. The councilman who voted against the repeal argued that additional regulations over these weapons were needed.
The city of Baltimore now allows most residents to possess and use stun guns. Its regulations still forbid stun gun possession by a person under domestic violence restraining orders, a person treated for mental illness and anyone else who poses an unacceptable risk to public safety.
Maryland law never prohibited these weapons. State law allows people over 18 years old to possess and carry a stun gun for self-defense without obtaining a permit. However, manufacturers must keep a record of the device’s original owner, the seller or manufacturer must conduct a criminal history check of the purchaser and the buyer cannot have a conviction record of specified violent crimes. Manual, audio or audiovisual instructions must be provided to the purchaser.
Firearms possession may still lead to serious consequences, especially when a person is accused of possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist persons who are prosecuted for possession and help assure that their constitutional rights are protected.
Source: CBS Baltimore, “Baltimore City Council reverses ban on stun guns and tasers,” Pat Warren, May 16, 2017