Rhode Island Stun Gun Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

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U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “We were successful in having the last statewide electric arm ban struck as violating the Second Amendment,” attorney Stephen Stamboulieh tells AmmoLand Shooting Sports  News. Stamboulieh and attorney Alan Beck were co-counsels with Rhode Island attorney Frank R. Sarccoccio. They represented plaintiffs Michael P. O’Neil, vice president of the Rhode Island 2nd Amendment Coalition, and Nicola Grasso, former president of the Rhodes Island Federated Sportsmen’s  Coalition.

The decision striking down the law is stated in the Memorandum and Order by District Judge William E. Smith for the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, filed Tuesday:

“For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 30, is GRANTED and Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 35, is DENIED. The prohibition against the possession and use of stun guns set forth in § 11-47-42(a) is an unconstitutional restriction of the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment in light of Heller. Consequently, Judgment shall enter in favor of Plaintiffs. Defendants are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing § 11-47-42(a) as related to stun guns. IT IS SO ORDERED.”

That’s even though Judge Smith made no secret of his disdain for the Heller decision and Justice Antonin Scalia’s reasoning, going so far as to cite one analysis characterizing it as not “defensible as an example of Constitutional ‘originalism.’ Rather, Justice Scalia’s majority opinion is a much better example of judicial activism or ‘living constitutionalism’”…

“By my count, since D.C. v. Heller stun gun bans have been invalidated or repealed in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, now Rhode Island, Wisconsin, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Overland Park (Kansas), and Annapolis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tacoma, and in four Maryland counties (Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Harford County, and Howard County),” law professor Eugene Volokh writes.  “The Illinois Supreme Court, which had held that the Second Amendment secures a right to carry guns (a matter on which courts are split), has also held that the Second Amendment likewise secures a right to carry stun guns.”

Stamboulieh and Beck have shepherded the victories in Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, New Orleans, Annapolis Maryland, Westminster Maryland, Tacoma, Philadelphia, and now Rhode Island.

Disclosure: Stamboulieh and Beck have represented me on numerous Second Amendment cases reported on this site.

The order and the complaint are embedded below:

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea

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Good job to everyone involved. This law firm knows how to get things done!


Since Caetano was a federal case, why was the illegality of the RI law even in question?

Wild Bill

Because the RI statute still existed, was being enforced, conflicted with part of the Constitution, and the RI AG wanted to push it.

Henry Bowman

In CAETANO v MASSACHUSETTS, the Court held that ALL bearable arms are protected by 2A. This case just reinforced that decision. All bearable arms certainly applies to any weapon that’s not a firearm: knives, swords, taser guns, batons, etc.

I’m reassured to see bad laws being struck down.


the idiots have been pushed back a little further

Wild Bill

Yes, I wonder how many other states have statutes on the books that they know conflict with the constitution, but they refuse to repeal.

J Gibbons

They have no incentive. They can continue to arrest and eventually it might end up with a state supreme court or SCOTUS. Either way, it takes years and the taxpayers of that state foot the bill.