Cam Edwards of Bearing Arms had an interesting piece covering Rhode Island’s stun gun ban which is now stuck in the courts.
In the case of O’Neil v. Neronha, Michael P. O’Neil, the Vice President of the Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition, and Nicola Grosso, former president of the Rhode Island Federated Sportsmen’s Association filed a lawsuit against Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha in November of 2019 after attempting to legally buy stun guns. They were ultimately stopped due to Rhode Island’s ban on stun guns and tasers
However, Neronha is finding sneaky ways to argue that stun guns are not covered by the Second Amendment.
He believes that these devices aren’t “the type of weapons associated with ‘core’ Second Amendment rights.” He asserted this in a new court filing where he also sustained that stun guns “may constitute bearable arms within the meaning of the Second Amendment.” But Cam Edwards noted that Neronha is of the opinion that “under an intermediate standard of judicial review, the state’s ban on stun guns should be allowed to stand, since (according to the AG) the ban doesn’t implicate the “core” purpose of the Second Amendment; self-defense in the home.”
On top of that, Neronha maintains that carrying a “bearable arm” outside the home is not covered by Second Amendment protections.
In 2012, the Supreme Court settled the issue of stun guns in the Caetano v. Massachusetts decision. Using the logic from the Heller decision, the court ruled that the Second Amendment is applicable “to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.”
Neronha is clearly ignoring this decision. Various states across the country such as Massachusetts have rescinded their stun gun bans in the wake of this decision. With this O’Neil case in the courts, it will likely result in Rhode Island at least having to modify its laws. In the best-case scenario, it will have to scrap its stun gun ban altogether. This highlights the importance of having a sane judiciary thanks to Trump’s appointments.
Nevertheless, the courts can’t always be counted on to save us. This is why activist pressure at the state level is necessary to make sure bad laws don’t get passed in the first place.
In doing so, activist will save themselves a ton of time, money, and headaches when trying to petition courts to rule on the constitutionality or lack therof said legislation.