The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a Massachusetts court ruling that stun guns are not covered by the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, siding with a woman who said she carried one as protection against an abusive former boyfriend.
The court, in an unsigned ruling with no dissents, ruled in favor of Jaime Caetano, who in 2011 was arrested for possession of a stun gun in violation of a state law banning such weapons. The ruling provided a victory, at least temporarily, for gun rights advocates.
The justices decided that a March 2015 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling was inconsistent with a 2008 Supreme Court decision declaring an individual right to bear arms. That 5-4 ruling in the case District of Columbia v. Heller left open many questions about the extent of the individual right, the firearms covered and when government regulations would stand.
Monday’s decision did not further clarify the standards of the Heller ruling, yet it signaled that lower courts should not look narrowly at the weapons covered.