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The Second Amendment Case That Could End Your Right To Self-Defense

Image source: NationOfChange.org

Image source: NationOfChange.org

Massachusetts’ highest court could greatly limit or expand the right to bear arms by answering a simple question: Does the Second Amendment cover nonlethal weapons such as stun guns? And, does the Constitution’s protection of self-defense extend outside the home?

A homeless abused woman who acquired a stun gun to protect herself – and who was then arrested for possession of it – has challenged the state’s ban in court. It could end up before the US Supreme Court.

“The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms, which includes more than just firearms,” a friend-of-the-court brief filed on behalf of Jaime Caetano states. “The right to keep and bear arms covers many weapons, including stun guns, and knives.”

The case was heard Tuesday, although a ruling is not expected anytime soon.

Caetano started carrying a stun gun in her purse after an ex-boyfriend beat her so badly that she ended up in the hospital. A friend loaned her the device for protection. She started carrying the weapon in her purse and used it to scare off her ex-boyfriend when he showed up at her job. She is now homeless.

The mother of two lost her ability to defend herself on Sept. 20, 2011, when an Ashland, Massachusetts, police officer found the stun gun in her purse. Caetano was charged with violation of a Massachusetts law which bans the possession of stun guns by anybody but law enforcement. She could face up to two and a half years in prison for protecting herself.

The Middlesex County District Attorney’s office which prosecuted Caetano is arguing that the Second Amendment’s Right to Bear Arms does not extend to non-lethal weapons. The prosecutors are also claiming that Second Amendment protections do not extend outside a person’s home. Both arguments could have wide-ranging effects.

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“An individual who loses her home does not lose the ‘basic right [of self-defense, which is] recognized by many legal systems from ancient times to the present day,” a brief filed by Caetano’s attorney, Benjamin H. Keehn, states.

Firearms legal, stun guns illegal?

The law defies common sense, critics say.

“In the state of Massachusetts, [people] are permitted with a license to have guns and carry guns,” attorney Michael E. Rosman of the Center for Individual Rights told The Boston Globe. “It makes no sense to say you shouldn’t be allowed to have a weapon that you can defend yourself with, but is less dangerous to the attacker.”

Rosman’s group, an organization called Arming Women Against Rape & Endangerment (AWARE), and Eugene Volokh, a law professor at UCLA, are aiding Caetano in an appeal of her case. Caetano pleaded guilty to possession of a stun gun and a judge ordered her weapon confiscated. The case is currently before Massachusetts’ highest court – the Supreme Judicial Court.

“The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the ‘right to keep and bear arms,’ not the right to keep and bear guns or firearms,” the center’s brief states. The brief asks the Supreme Judicial Court to overturn Caetano’s conviction and return her stun gun.

District attorney says precedent is on his side

The district attorney claims that two US Supreme Court rulings that uphold self-defense only apply in the home.

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Massachusetts’ stun gun ban could also violate a person’s freedom of religion, the AWARE brief states. Some faiths bar their members against using deadly force but allow believers to use non-deadly force in self-defense. It notes that some Christian theologians and the Dalai Lama (a Buddhist leader) have made that argument.

“Other religious and philosophical traditions, such as the Jewish and Catholic ones, believe that defenders ought to use the least violence necessary,” the brief notes. “Some religious believers might therefore conclude that, when fairly effective non-deadly defensive tools are available, they are preferable to deadly tools.”

Volokh went so far as to call the stun gun ban perverse and noted that it could force people who hate guns to carry firearms because they are the only legal means of self-defense in Massachusetts. People, he said, are “being pushed into handgun possession by the ban on stun guns.”

An important precedent could be set

Caetano’s case could set important precedents because it could force the US Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the stun gun ban and the extent of Second Amendment rights outside the home.

There are five states in which it is illegal for private citizens to own stun guns, Volokh noted. The last time a stun gun ban was appealed to a state Supreme Court (Michigan), it was overturned.

Do you believe stun guns should be banned? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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4 comments

  1. “An important precedent could be set

    Caetano’s case could set important precedents because it could force the US Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the stun gun ban and the extent of Second Amendment rights outside the home.”

    I could not decide if I should laugh or spit.

    No one in our governments has

    • Not sure what happened to the rest of my comment.

      No one serving within our governments has any authority over anything listed within the Bill of Rights UNLESS they follow it to the letter!

      James Madison, Father of the US Constitution: “Because if . . . [An Unalienable Natural Right of Free Men] . . . be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: It is limited with regard to the coordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires, not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained: but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the greater Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are Slaves”

      From the Supreme Court when it was not filled with Domestic Enemies of the USA. The Supreme Court of the United States, back before it was filled with Domestic Enemies of the USA:
      “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.”

      Judge Thomas M. Cooley: “Legislators have their authority measured by the Constitution, they are chosen to do what it permits, and NOTHING MORE, and they take solemn oath to obey and support it. . . To pass an act when they are in doubt whether it does or does not violate the Constitution is to treat as of no force the most imperative obligations any person can assume.”

      See WHY you need to know what the US Constitution and your state Constitution says? Because it is the contract that those who serve within our governments MUST follow or no longer be eligible for the position they occupy. Nor are they allowed to break their Oath which is at least one felony, and is Perjury.

      But if YOU do not know what they are allowed to do, or what they must do ONLY under certain circumstances and in a specifically laid out way, or what is forbidden to them; then they can – and do – say anything, make up any “law” (actually most are “color of law – pretend laws made by someone who looks as if they had the authority but they don’t) and have them enforced.

      Why would they not have the authority? Because the ONLY authority and duties they have, and are allowed to do, is listed within the US Constitution and within each state’s Constitution. That is the ONLY lawful authority they have. Anything else is “gang” authority – at the point of violence to be used against you.

      Tench Coxe: “Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American… THE UNLIMITED POWER OF THE SWORD IS NOT IN THE HANDS OF EITHER THE FEDERAL OR STATE GOVERNMENTS BUT, where I trust in God it will ever remain, IN THE HANDS OF THE PEOPLE.”

      (My caps.) Notice that he says that the “power of the sword” (meaning force) “is NOT in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but” in the hands of the people. That is because both the federal and the state governments were forbidden to create “law enforcement” for exactly the reasons we are seeing today. “We the People” are the Militia and both the state and the federal governments were allowed to call us when needed. Otherwise all individual defense was up to us. We stopped crime, courts prosecuted crime.

      Joel Barlow said of the US Constitution: “… not only permitting every man to arm, but obliging him to arm.”

      St. George Tucker, a lawyer, Revolutionary War militia officer, legal scholar, and later a U.S. District Court Judge, wrote of the Second Amendment: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government.” (The Supreme Court has cited Tucker in over forty cases, in the major cases of virtually every Supreme Court era.)

      James Madison, the Father of the US Constitution: “Because if . . . [An Unalienable Natural Right of Free Men] . . . be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: It is limited with regard to the coordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires, not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained: but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the greater Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are Slaves”

      Patrick Henry: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

      Cockrum v. State: “The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.”

      Bliss v. Commonwealth: “Arms restrictions – even concealed weapons bans – are unconstitutional, since arms bearing is an individual right and the legislature may not restrict any aspect of such a right.”

      Nunn vs. State: ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’
      The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State.
      Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right”.

      Thomas Jefferson: “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”

      James Madison: “An efficient militia is authorized and contemplated by the Constitution and required by the spirit and safety of free government.”

      Black’s Law Dictionary, 3rd Edition: “The body of citizens in a state, enrolled for discipline as a military force, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies, as distinguished from regular troops or a standing army.”

      Preamble to the US Constitution. It summarizes the US Constitution. Preamble:
      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      The Preamble to the US Constitution says who is responsible for doing certain things within our nation. Those things are to be done to “form a more perfect Union”.

      “We the People of the United States” are to:
      – “establish Justice”
      – “insure domestic Tranquility”
      – “provide for the common defence”
      – “promote the general Welfare”
      – “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”

      Notice that no where in there does it say that any branch within the federal or state governments are to do those duties. Nor does it say it is the duty of the US Military or of law enforcement.

      As Thomas Jefferson said: “Freedom is lost gradually from an uninterested, uninformed, and uninvolved people.”

      Get interested people!

      Mack and Printz v. United States: “The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service – and at no cost to itself – the police officers of the 50 States… Federal control of state officers would also have an effect upon the separation and equilibration of powers between the three branches of the Federal Government itself.”

      Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it this way: “The Constitution does not protect the sovereignty of States for the benefit of the States or state governments as abstract political entities, or even for the benefit of the public officials governing the States. To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals. State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: “Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.”

      Thomas Jefferson: “The several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party (the people) has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

      James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution”: “The States then being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority, to decide in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently that as the parties to it, they must themselves decide in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.”

      Alexander Hamilton, concerning the supremacy clause, Federalist 33: “It will not, I presume, have escaped observation that it expressly confines the supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution.”

      Alexander Hamilton: “There is no position which depends on clearer principles that that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”

      Preamble to the Bill of Rights

      Congress of the United States
      begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
      THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
      RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
      ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

  2. “An important precedent could be set

    “Caetano’s case could set important precedents because it could force the US Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the stun gun ban and the extent of Second Amendment rights outside the home.”

    I could not decide if I should laugh or spit.

    No one serving within our governments has ANY AUTHORITY OVER OUR NATURAL RIGHTS. READ the US Constitution! It PROTECTS them from anyone who serves within our governments. Learn a bit about it even if you only go read the framers quotes, the Preamble to the US Constitution, and the Preamble to the Bill of Rights – I will put them here for you. That is what the Bill of Rights was added for, to make sure that those who serve within our governments understood that IN ADDITION TO the other limiting factors within the US Constitution these are above the law making powers of those who serve.

    Why do you think that obama made the comment that the US Constitution is a limiting document? It is, it puts LIMITS and FORBIDDENS on those who serve within in it. The only reason these treasonous scum are getting by with what they are doing is because so few of you bother to know what they are allowed to do, and what they are limited in doing, plus what they are FORBIDDEN from.

    This quote is a long one, sorry to all that only read text – PLEASE read this or read the caps.

    James Madison, the Father of the Constitution: “Because if . . . [An Unalienable Natural Right of Free Men] . . . be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, STILL LESS CAN IT BE SUBJECT TO THAT OF THE LEGISLATIVE BODY. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. THEIR JURISDICTION IS BOTH DERIVATIVE AND LIMITED: It is limited with regard to the coordinate departments, MORE NECESSARILY IS IT LIMITED WITH REGARD TO THE CONSTITUENTS (that’s us). The preservation of a free Government requires, not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained: more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the greater Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are Slaves”.

    Cockrum v. State: “The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power”.

    Nunn vs. State:’The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right”.

    Bliss v. Commonwealth: “Arms restrictions – even concealed weapons bans – are unconstitutional, since arms bearing is an individual right and the legislature may not restrict any aspect of such a right.”

    St. George Tucker, a lawyer, Revolutionary War militia officer, legal scholar, and later a U.S. District Court Judge, wrote of the Second Amendment: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government.” (The Supreme Court has cited Tucker in over forty cases, in the major cases of virtually every Supreme Court era.)

    State Gazette (Charleston), when the US Constitution was being created and defense came up: No free government was ever founded or ever preserved its liberty, without uniting the characters of the citizen and soldier in those destined for the defense of the state…. Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the  freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen.

    The Supreme Court back before it was filled with Domestic Enemies of the USA – and yes, it DOES STILL APPLY.

    The Supreme Court of the United States: “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.”

    James Madison: “That all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from the people. That government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty and the right of acquiring property, and generally of pursing and obtaining happiness and safety. That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purpose of its institution.”

    Thomas Jefferson: “The government created by this compact (the Constitution) was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party (the people of each state) has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

  3. Massachusetts is leading the gay-agenda war against America, and it seems that they are also leading the gun-control war as well.

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