Boston Globe Story on Stun Guns and AWARE
Does Jaime Caetano, a homeless woman, have the right to use a stun gun to protect herself from her ex-boyfriend, the violent man who is the father of her children? She didn't even have to hit him with the stun gun. According to a report in the Bostog Globe, all she had to do was show hm that she had it, and he left her alone. If only the police could have done the same.
The Globe reported, "The same stun gun, however, landed Caetano in the middle of a legal battle about the weapon and the right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. She was convicted last year under a state law criminalizing the possession of stun guns by private citizens. Caetano is challenging the law in court, saying it violates her rights under the Second Amendment to defend herself." See the full article here.
She is now appealing her case, attempting to get her conviction overturned, based on two argements. First, that the Second Amendment covers "arms" that are not firearms. Second, that US Supreme Court decisions have implied a right to carry outside the home. Also at issue is the question of whether a homeless person has the same rights for self-protection as a person who has a home.
Caetano's case was brought to AWARE's attention last August. AWARE was asked to provide an amicus brief for the court. An amicus is a “friend of the court” document that isn’t required to be part of the case, but that provides the court with relevant expert information they might not be aware of. AWARE did file a brief, giving arguments why many people have good reasons to choose stun guns as self-defense tools, including religious or ethical compunctions against killing, being psychologically unwilling to shoot, women who need protection against a violent ex but don’t want to kill him, and firearm owners who want to have a reliable but less lethal alternative available. The brief also also explained why the legal right to keep and bear arms extends beyond firearms, and therefore should automatically include carrying stun guns outside the home.
You can see the full text of AWARE's brief here.
We await the resolution of this case with the greatest interest and will keep you informed of what happens to Jaime Caetano, and when, if ever, we can legally have those less-lethal weapons in Msassachusetts.