"We conclude that the absolute prohibition against civilian possession of stun guns is in violation of the Second Amendment", the justices wrote.
The Supreme Judicial Court has ruled against a law banning them.
The highest court in Massachusetts' has ruled that the state's ban on civilian possession of stun guns violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Ramirez, a passenger in the vehicle, was found to have a stun gun in his trousers pocket, which lead in part to his arrest and a charge for violating the Commonwealth's electrical weapon laws.
The decision that came Tuesday is a reversal for the court, which reached an opposite conclusion in a different case in 2015.
The court dismissed a criminal stun gun possession charge against Jorge Ramirez, who was arrested in 2015 after police discovered one in his trousers pocket following a traffic stop.
Top court in MA strikes down stun... Rather, the case involved a man named Jorge Ramirez who was found to be in possession of a stun gun during a traffic stop conducted by police in Revere. Still, a judge presiding over Ramirez's prosecution refused to dismiss his possession charge without explanation. William Brownsberger would require that stun gun owners be 18 and have a gun license.
MA is among a handful of US states, including New York, Hawaii and Rhode Island, which ban outright the civilian ownership of stun guns.
Tuesday's case originated with a November 5, 2015 traffic stop by the Revere Police where officers allegedly discovered a stun gun in Jorge Ramirez's pocket.
The device that Caetano possessed was a black electronic device with two metal prongs and a switch. Jaime Caetano, who was arrested in an Ashland supermarket parking lot in 2011 for having a stun gun, said it was necessary to protect herself against an abusive boyfriend and challenged the constitutionality of the stun gun ban.
"If the Legislature had made it a crime only for this class of "prohibited persons" to possess a stun gun (or a comparable class), there could be no doubt that such a statute would be constitutional and that it would preserve much of what the Legislature intended through its broader ban", Gants wrote.
"Although less lethal than a handgun, stun guns can be used to hide the torture and abuse of another person because they 'can deliver repeated or prolonged shocks without leaving marks, '" Gants wrote, quoting from the Caetano decision.
"We hold that a stun gun is not the type of weapon that is eligible for Second Amendment protection, " Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X. Spina wrote for the unanimous court.
Lawmakers, according to the decision, have 60 days to enact a set of stun gun possession regulations. House Speaker Robert DeLeo says through a spokesman he "intends to file legislation within 60 days".
Senate President Harriette Chandler said her office was also reviewing the decision.