New York State's Being Sued Over its Stun Gun Ban

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, a Taser X26 sits on a table in Knightstown, Ind. In the recent shootings of unarmed black men in a San Diego suburb and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the police officers who fired the fatal shots were accompanied by officers who simultaneously drew their stun guns. Civil rights advocates say the different response by officers facing the same suspect and the same apparent threat illustrates a breakdown in police training and communication and shows that some officers are too quick to turn to deadly force. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

New York State is the latest jurisdiction to be sued in federal court on Second Amendment grounds over its stun gun ban.

Attorneys for Middleburgh Mayor Matthew Avitabile, Firearms Policy Coalition, and Firearms Policy Foundation filed suit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and New York State Police Superintendent Lt. Col George Beach December 6 in Albany.


According to a press release from Firearms Policy Coalition:

Individual plaintiff Matthew Avitabile is the mayor of Middleburgh, New York and would like to buy and keep a Taser for self-defense. But New York Penal Law § 265.01 states that “A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon” if “He or she possesses any….electronic dart gun” or “electronic stun gun,” making the crime punishable as a misdemeanor.

Since a unanimous Supreme Court ruling earlier this year in Caetano v. Massachusetts rejecting the reasoning of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s reasoning, which upheld that state’s stun gun ban (citing DC vs. Heller), Washington DC has stopped enforcing its stun gun ban and New Jersey’s attorney general announced that his state’s ban is unconstitutional. And, a New Orleans resident is suing the city over their ban.

Brandon Combs, president of the Coalition and chairman of the Foundation, stated:

“The Second Amendment absolutely protects the right of law-abiding people to buy and possess all arms in common use for self-defense, like Tasers. We are more than happy to remind New York that the right to keep and bear arms prevails over paternalistic and unconstitutional statutes like theirs.”


Attorney Stephen Stamboulieh filed the case, and is joined by attorney Alan Beck of San Diego. Attorney Stephen Duvernay of Sacramento and Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor who has written and taught extensively about the First and Second Amendments, are consulting on the case.


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