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State’s high court could rule on stun guns for personal use

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is set to review a 2015 ruling that upheld a state ban on personal ownership of stun guns. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/Getty

Should Massachusetts put the zap back in stun guns?

That’s the question the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will ponder Tuesday in the case Commonwealth v. Jorge Ramirez.

Defense attorneys are asking the court to reverse a 2015 ruling that upheld a state ban on personal ownership of stun guns They say the ban violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The defense attorneys have some powerful support. The US Supreme Court in 2016 ordered the Massachusetts court to reexamine its ruling, and delivered a withering rebuke to the state court for upholding the stun gun ban.


The original stun gun case the state high court ruled on was eventually resolved in District Court. So the issue has not made it back to the high court.

Now, Ramirez, who faces charges in Chelsea District Court, is appealing his case, and both the prosecution and defense have asked for a ruling from the court, saying that the stun gun ban law is under a “cloud” because of the US Supreme Court ruling.

Suffolk District Daniel F. Conley’s office says the Supreme Court didn’t declare the state law unconstitutional, it just held that “the articulation of the reasoning behind this Court’s decision upholding the statute was incorrect in light” of Supreme Court Second Amendment rulings.

Prosecutors also say stun guns are “dangerous and unusual” weapons that fall outside the protection of the Second Amendment - so they can be banned.