Md. Jurisdictions Strike Down Stun Gun Bans

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Annapolis City Council repealed a ban on stun guns this week, making the city the latest in a series of jurisdictions across Maryland to strike down such a ban.

Electronic weapons such as stun guns, often known as Tasers, are designed to inflict pain on an individual by discharging an electrical current.

The Annapolis City Council decided to repeal the ban on a unanimous vote of 8-0.

Until now, stun gun manufacturers have considered Annapolis to be off-limits when it comes to selling the weapons, but that will likely change.

“Because the ban has been removed, I suspect very quickly manufacturers will remove that limitation and begin selling them to people in Annapolis,” said Annapolis city attorney Mike Leahy.

Similar changes are also happening in Howard County. Last week, council members voted to repeal the county’s ban on stun guns.

Baltimore City and Baltimore County both still have stun gun bans on the books. The two jurisdictions have not changed their laws, but they have suspended enforcement of them while local officials explore the option of potentially repealing the bans.

The changes come after a court case out of Massachusetts that was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court last March. Justices questioned whether stun gun bans were constitutional, and they implied that electronic weapons may be protected under the Second Amendment.

“The court case in Massachusetts that the Supreme Court heard has hastened this particular change,” Leahy said.

But even before that case, stun gun bans were vanishing. Anne Arundel County and Harford County repealed bans in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

In D.C., there is a strict ban on electronic weapons. It is illegal to possess, carry or sell a stun gun within the District.

There are no such bans on stun guns on the books in Virginia.

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