Baltimore working to legalize possession of stun guns

The Baltimore City Council is working to legalize the possession of stun guns as a response to a federal court ruling.

The Baltimore Sun reported a bill was introduced Monday that would allow an individual to “possess and use an electronic control device as a form of non-lethal self-defense in the home and in public.”

The proposal would also impose restrictions on stun guns, such as stipulating that a person who “poses an unacceptable risk to public safety” may not possess the devices.

The bill comes as a direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Caetona v. Massachusetts case, in which Second Amendment rights were ruled to extend to stun guns. Baltimore area residents filed a lawsuit in January contesting the local stun gun bans in the Baltimore area.

The Baltimore County Council has already passed a measure to allow stun guns, and Howard County repealed its ban in February.

Officials in the city of Baltimore are trying to move quickly to pass the bill in order to avoid federal fines.

“We’ve put in this bill because the federal court has essentially asked us to,” said Hilary Ruley, chief solicitor with the Baltimore law department. “If the bill doesn’t pass within 90 days, we’ll be hit with more than the $40,000 in attorney’s fees.”

Ruley confirmed the law department would like to prohibit the mentally ill and domestic violence offenders from owning stun guns, and also said the measure would ban the devices from schools and other public buildings.