A Maryland woman wants a Taser to protect herself against an ex-boyfriend who nearly killed her, but some counties won’t allow it. Leah Baran is suing Baltimore and Howard counties to let her carry an electronic stun gun, a constitutional challenge she hopes can save her life without costing another’s, the Washington Post reports. Her argument is buoyed by a Supreme Court ruling that raised questions about the constitutionality of stun gun bans.
When stun guns became available two decades ago, several states moved to ban them, putting them in the same category as blackjacks and brass knuckles. The high court ruling in a case called Caetano vs. Massachusetts ruling cast doubt on those laws, says Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA. The ruling didn’t wipe out all stun gun bans. Baran’s suit is an attempt to chip away at the law in Maryland. “Certainly many of the jurisdictions have repealed the bans, following the court’s decision,” Volokh said. “Some of the others have seen the writing on the wall and concluded they shouldn’t defend them. … I do think these are going away, but slowly.”