A hearing on the Harford County Council's proposal to legalize stun guns drew few, but passionate, reactions.

The bill, which would allow adults to possess stun guns in Harford, would overturn a 1985 bill that was requested by a Baltimore City Councilman, Councilman Jim McMahan said.

Harford County, along with surrounding jurisdictions, had been asked at the time to ban stun guns in an attempt to keep people from bringing them into Baltimore City, McMahan said.

Carrying a Taser or stun gun was legalized by the state in 2009, and Harford's law would allow anyone who meets the standard state requirements for possessing a stun gun to have one.


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Todd Fisher, of Forest Hill, was alone in speaking out to support the legalization.

He said Harford's original law was a violation of the Second Amendment and, therefore, illegal.

"While Maryland politicians continue to pretend this is not so, the right to self-defense does exist in our once-free state," he said. "Maryland continues to withhold this right to bear arms as if it were a mere privilege to be granted by the state."

After McMahan said that one out of every eight Maryland women will be the victim of forcible rape in her lifetime, Fisher suggested weapon laws should be even more relaxed.

"Even this stun gun option is a very bad choice given a woman who may be faced with a violent rape prospect," he said.

Fisher told the council no rules can be made when the Constitution is involved.

"This is merely a bookkeeping exercise," he said of the proposed bill. "In 1985, when this [original law] passed, Harford County politicians provided yet another solution to a problem that did not exist."

McMahan also said the 1985 bill has only put more restrictions on good people.

With the legalization, "homeowners will also be able to get personal devices to protect against home invasions and assaults."

"Although these [stun guns] do not specifically fall under category of arms, firearms, they do provide a method whereby law abiding citizens can repel an assailant or at least keep them at a safe distance until help arrives," McMahan said.

McMahan said he consulted with Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane, who told him he did not expect any additional danger to law enforcement officials from the bill.

State Sen. Nancy Jacobs also wrote that she supports the bill, he said.

No council members seemed to have a problem with the bill. McMahan told Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti that no one in Harford has been arrested in recent years for having a stun gun.

He also told Councilman Dick Slutzky that Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Annapolis ban the devices.

"Other than that, we are now complying with 90 percent of the counties," McMahan said about the proposed bill.

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