After a 32-year ban on the possession of stun guns, residents of the Garden State will be permitted to legally buy and possess these self-defense items.

The turnaround came about as a result of a March 21, 2016, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Caetano v. Massachusetts, 136 S.Ct. 1027 (2016) that invalidated a state law prohibiting stun guns as being an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment.

In August of last year, following the Supreme Court decision, the N.J. Second Amendment Society filed suit against the State challenging the ban on stun guns. (New Jersey Second Amendment Society v. Porrino, No. 16-4906 (U.S.D.Ct.).

Recognizing that New Jersey’s law was like the one in Massachusetts the Court determined unconstitutional, the State Attorney General entered into a consent decree in April of this year acknowledging the state law was unconstitutional. The State further conceded that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

The federal judge in the case approved the consent decree on April 25, 2017, giving the State 180 days to draft regulations concerning the sale and possession of stun guns consistent with the Second Amendment and public safety.

On October 20, 2017, State Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino issued a memorandum to law enforcement officials that as of October 22, existing state law prohibiting stun guns would no longer be enforced. However, certain regulations would still be enforceable, such as prohibiting sale to or possession by minors under the age of 18, felons, and the mentally ill. Nor would it be legal to use an electronic weapon in a crime or carry on a school campus without written authorization. (Click here to read these proposed regulations).

The public comment period concerning the new regulations ends October 29, 2017.

The citizens of New Jersey will now have an additional option with which to defend themselves.

As a member of U.S. LawShield, the use of any lawful weapon in self-defense, including stun guns, would be covered under the legal defense program.

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