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RI Federal District Court Strikes Down State Ban on Stun Guns as Unconstitutional

Keith G. Langer March 16, 2022

O'Neill, Grasso v. Rhode Island AG and Supt. of the State Police; C.A. No. 19-612 WES

As in the Massachusetts Caetano case, which this court cited, the Plaintiffs challenged RI's total ban on stun guns. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the MA SJC's ill-reasoned upholding of the similar MA statute. 

This court did the same, ruling stun guns and TASERs were protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution. It struck down the statute accordingly.

The RI court found that state's case supporting such a ban so weak that it did not need to decide which of the three levels of scrutiny were needed; the state's arguments did not even survive the rational basis test. It applied, without adopting, heightened scrutiny.

“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.