Baltimore City Council passes bill to legalize stun guns

The Baltimore City Council passed a bill Monday to legalize stun gun possession in the city, as a response to a federal court ruling that said stun gun bans are unconstitutional.

The Baltimore Sun reported the measure passed on a 14-1 vote and will 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 legislation also contained some restrictions regarding stun gun possession, namely that the devices may not be possessed by an individual who “poses an unacceptable risk to public safety.” Those who “pose risks” include people who have been judged to be mentally ill, committed to a mental institution, or are facing a restraining order.

The measure also prohibits stun guns from being carried in public schools, state public buildings, or city public buildings.

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The Baltimore County Council has already passed a measure to allow stun guns, and Howard County repealed its ban in February.

Councilman Brandon Scott was the only Baltimore City Council member to vote against the bill, arguing more regulations were needed before legalizing stun guns.