Challenge to the Massachusetts ban on the possession electronic self-defense weapons  

United States District Court — District of Massachusetts (Boston)

Filed: February 16, 2017

Status:  Dismissed

The challenge was dismissed as moot on September 28, 2018.  In response the the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling in Ramirez v. Commonwealth, the legislature adopted legislation legalizing the possession of Tasers, stun guns, and other electronic defense weapons.

A scheduling conference was held on October 23, 2019 resulting in a discovery and motions schedule that will run through the summer of 2020.  There will likely be a hearing in late summer or early fall of 2020 with a decision hopefully by the end of 2020.

Martel v. Healy was a direct challenge to the constitutionality of MGL ch 140 § 131J which imposed a blanket ban on the possession of Tasers, stun guns, and other electrical weapons by residents of Massachusetts.  The suit was brought by Comm2A and the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) on behalf of three individual plaintiffs.  

This complaint contends that electrical weapons are “arms in common use” and therefore their possession by law-abiding adult citizens is protected by the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  The complaint alleges that the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs are being violated because Massachusetts law prohibits the possession of a class of arms whose possession is protected by the Second Amendment.     

The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that the Commonwealth’s prohibition on electronic weapons violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments and an order permanently enjoining the Commonwealth from enforcing the ban.  


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