Baltimore City Council votes to legalize stun guns

The Baltimore City Council voted 14-1 Monday to legalize stun gun possession by city residents, a move that came in response to a federal court ruling.

The measure allows a person to "possess and use an electronic control device as a form of non-lethal self-defense in the home and in public."

The legislation places some restrictions on the use of stun guns. It states, for instance, that they may not be possessed by a person who "poses an unacceptable risk to public safety," which includes people facing restraining orders and those who have been committed to a mental institution.

The city bill is the latest local response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that suggested Second Amendment rights extend to stun guns. A group of area residents filed a federal lawsuit in January challenging local bans in the city as well as in Baltimore and Howard counties.

The Baltimore County Council has already voted to repeal its ban on stun guns. Howard County lifted its ban in February in response to the suit.

Councilman Brandon Scott cast the lone vote against the city bill. He argued the city needed better regulations on stun guns before legalizing them.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

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