Hey, there! Log in / Register

Technician at local hospital, electronics salesman want right to carry a taser, sue the state

An MRI technician at Brigham and Women's hospital who says she has to drive through "difficult areas" on her nightly drive home is one of three people who say a state ban on tasers and stun guns violates their 2nd Amendment rights.

The three filed suit this week in US District Court in Boston, asking a judge to throw out the state law that bans Massachusetts residents from protecting themselves with weaponry that would only leave their attackers incapacitated, not dead. They say the weapons are as much "arms" as the guns allowed under the amendment.

Plaintiff Donna Major, who works an evening shift as an MRI technician at the Brigham, explains her need for a taser:

Her commute to work requires a half hour drive after 10:00 p.m. through difficult areas. Major has a moral aversion to taking human life and cannot contemplate the circumstances under which she would use a firearm even in self-defense. If Massachusetts law permitted her to carry a stun gun, she would do so for purposes of self-protection while traveling between home and work. Major wishes to purchase and possess a Taser, stun gun, or other similar electrical weapon to use for lawful self-defense purposes in the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts.

Another of the plaintiffs, Lyn Bates, is a founder of Arming Women Against Rape and Endangerment. She says she already has a license to carry a gun, but wants to carry a taser or stun gun for use "in situations where deadly force might not be justified or necessary, such as a mentally ill or impaired attacker."

The third plaintiff, Christopher Martel, also has a license to carry, but says he needs a taser for protection because he frequently goes around with large amounts of expensive electronic equipment, "often in downtown areas and sometimes in dangerous neighborhoods." But currently, "Martel reasonably fears arrest, criminal prosecution, incarceration, and fines if he purchases or possesses an electrical weapon in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

In addition to asking that the state law be overturned, the three ask for attorneys costs for their two lawyers, one local, one from the Washington-based Center for Individual Rights.

AttachmentSize
PDF icon Commplete complaint66.15 KB

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Surely Maura Healey will support their constitutional rights.

up
Voting closed 0

Just like I'm sure that you're aware that even the Constitution is open to different interpretations.

up
Voting closed 0

If the fundamental right of self-defense does not protect Caetano, then the safety of all Americans is left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe." ― CAETANO v. MA

In a per curiam decision, the Supreme Court vacated the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.[7] Citing District of Columbia v. Heller[8] and McDonald v. City of Chicago,[9] the Court began its opinion by stating that "the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding" and that "the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States".[6] The Court then identified three reasons why the Massachusetts court's opinion contradicted prior rulings by the United States Supreme Court.[1] First, the Massachusetts court said that stun guns could be banned because they "were not in common use at the time of the Second Amendment’s enactment", but the Supreme Court noted that this contradicted Heller's conclusion that Second Amendment protects "arms ... that were not in existence at the time of the founding”.[10] Second, the Massachusetts court said that stun guns were "dangerous per se at common law and unusual" because they were "a thoroughly modern invention", but the Supreme Court held that this was also inconstant with Heller.[11] Third, the Massachusetts court said that stun guns could be banned because they were not "readily adaptable to use in the military", but the Supreme Court held that Heller rejected the argument that "only those weapons useful in warfare" were protected by the Second Amendment.[12]

The Supreme Court vacated Caetano's conviction and remanded the case back to the SJC for further proceedings. At that point the SJC could have made another attempt to justify the constitutionality of 131J and uphold her conviction. However, the Commonwealth ducked the whole issue by dismissing the charges against her, making the challenge moot. What we ended up with was a law with questionable enforceability. This is just what the Commonwealth likes, the threat of prosecution without any real teeth to back it up in smug defiance of the USSC.

The Commonwealth is about to blow a ton of money fighting a court case it already lost.

up
Voting closed 0

You firearms absolutists can pay attention to a little bit more on the "well regulated" part of that Amendment that you love to have private moments with morning noon and night.

up
Voting closed 0


northeastshooters.com
:
^^The Supreme Court only vacated Caetano's conviction and remanded the case back to the SJC for further proceedings. At that point the SJC could have made another attempt to justify the constitutionality of 131J and uphold her conviction. However, the Commonwealth ducked the whole issue by dismissing the charges against her, making the challenge moot. What we ended up with was a law with questionable enforceability. This is just what the Commonwealth likes, the threat of prosecution without any real teeth to back it up.

up
Voting closed 0

It says right in the Constitution that you can inflict upon another person 20,000 to 150,000 volts in self-defense or carry a semi-automatic rifle with a collapsible stock and clip with fifty rounds. It's clearly written directly into the U.S. constitution. I'm an originalist. If it's not there, there is no right. It's there.

Did you know that the Massachusetts Constitution makes explicit that our "right to keep and to bear arms [is] for the common defence"

The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it. Pt. 1, art. 17 (enacted 1780).

Heller v. DC in 2007 in federal court found an individual right to bear arms for self-defense for the first time ever. I wonder how many Constitutional scholars are humiliated that they were not able to find the words in the US Constitution Scalia found in his inventive 5-4 majority opinion.

Apparently, Scalia finds no limiting principle in the Second Amendment but it's funny that he found rocket launchers somewhere in the text.

up
Voting closed 0

""right to keep and to bear arms [is] for the common defence""

We are obviously going to disagree here, but that to me "common defense" most definitely encompasses personal defense.

There is a common interest in citizens being safe from a multitude of threats. While these obviously include foreign invasions and marauding Indians, I believe it certainly includes ordinary criminals. A civil society cannot function well with rampant crime, and it is therefore certainly in the common interest for one to be able to protect oneself from a criminal, as a valid act of personal defense reinforces order and the safety of all of the citizens.

up
Voting closed 0

I don't think "common defense' most definitely encompasses personal defense," is a valid premise. Not to get too Millsian about this, but sometimes the common defense even calls for the loss of the personal defense of a few people.

Common and personal do not inherently correlate. To put it a different way, common property is most certainly not personal property. Personal property is most certainly not common property.

up
Voting closed 0

What are the statistics on the number of people violently assaulted in Boston (particularly around hospitals) by people who they did not previously know?

Since you can't have any metal in the same room as a MRI, there's a much higher chance of the taser being stolen while it's left unattended while they service the machine than for them to need to defend themselves while on the way to work.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm pretty sure they need to use metal tools to work on the MRI, you know, not like a child's tooldbox with one of those plastic hammers that squeaks when you bang it (twss). The MRI Can be turned off when they service it. It's not just constantly running. Your comment is absurd.

up
Voting closed 0

You have never worked on an MRI machine. I worked for a manufacturer of MRI machines for several years. You may be interested in these non-magnetic titanium tools.

A more pertinent point is that devices that create EMI are highly restricted in hospital environments.

up
Voting closed 0

An MRI Technician is not someone who services the machine. They're the person that operates it. They get the patients settled on the table, and ask what sort of relaxing music you want to listen two while the MRI clunks around you. They hand you the ball to squeeze if you have a panic attack, and monitor everything from the next room as they take images. I imagine they have lockers at the hospital to keep stuff in securely while they're on shift.

up
Voting closed 0

The MRI technicians are NOT in the room while the MRI is on.

Even if the individual did lock up their taser, your argument about the likelihood of the taser being stolen is not substantiated by any kind of facts. The MRI units have locker rooms for patients, and according to my step-mother that works in one of these units in a longwood hospital, they have never been broken into in the 10 years she has worked there.

I do not know how familiar you are with Boston at night around where many of the hospitals are, but it is not the safest situation. I have many medical professional friends and family, and they are all extremely afraid for their personal safety when they travel to-from their nightshift. Anecdotaly, they all know coworkers that were attacked or robbed outside.

up
Voting closed 0

The guy is a TV salesman for office entry areas and conference rooms displays. Something tells me he is usually using the loading dock for these jobs and not walking through Grove Hall (just as an example because one of the other plaintiffs lives near GH) at 11:30 on a warm Thursday night with a 64 inch plasma hanging from his neck like a Flavor Flav clock.

If your small town arse is so scared of the big bad city stay away gun nut. I don't want your hillbilly SCROTUS supporting self "watching out for danger" as I walk to lunch. Thanks.

up
Voting closed 0

stay away gun nut. I don't want your hillbilly SCROTUS supporting self "watching out for danger" as I walk to lunch.

I have never seen a male afraid of a stun gun before. You know it is not a real gun, right?

up
Voting closed 0

"The third plaintiff, Christopher Martel, also has a license to carry, but says he needs a taser for protection because he frequently goes around with large amounts of expensive electronic equipment, "often in downtown areas and sometimes in dangerous neighborhoods." But currently, "Martel reasonably fears arrest, criminal prosecution, incarceration, and fines if he purchases or possesses an electrical weapon in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

He is already packing. He just feel more weaponry to cover up his insecurities and keep his snowflake self "safe".

up
Voting closed 0

Are you saying you are afraid of both guns and stun guns?

Martell does not seem to be afraid of either type of weapon, although I might be led to believe that he prefers stunning people to putting holes through them.... or threatening to put holes in them.

up
Voting closed 0

Then you also believe in the "weaponry that would only leave their attackers incapacitated, not dead" idea. Tasers and stun guns have caused numerous deaths.

Note that pepper spray is now legal to carry without a license in MA.

up
Voting closed 0

Thanks for the brain nudge. I was stuck on thinking a taser is a stun gun. I used to watch a lot of COPS on FOX, so I should know better.

Stun guns I can see certain tactical advantages, but tasers are impractical for solo self-defense, IMHO. I would not find much of an everyday use in either and would probably not carry either of them unless there was some explicit need. If other people want to carry them, then fine. I never heard of an accidental tasering, although I am sure Google has some listed.

up
Voting closed 0

I used to watch a lot of COPS on FOX,

up
Voting closed 0

SwirlyGrrl, so many comments of yours (and of a few others here) refer to the person commenting and not to the substance of their comment. One wonders why...

up
Voting closed 0

It's quite disturbing.

up
Voting closed 0

Yes. That is very disturbing, indeed.

up
Voting closed 0

Where else would any regular Joe see a taser in use?

Why else would anyone care about a taser except when watching COPS?

It is very impractical for civilian use. If a civilian wants impractical, then go for it. No sweat off my back. If there is anything that is annoying is a citizen telling another citizen how to live their lives.

edit - I do remember an incident where John Kerry (the guy who went to Vietnam) had some student tasered for something the student said and the student was pleading to stop being tasered. They still play the sound clip on Howie Carr. The sound clip is so humorous (because the student's dialect is like a hippie pissing his pants) that you cannot help but not be afraid of tasers.

up
Voting closed 0

According to the articles I read Kerry actually wanted to allow Andrew Meyer to ask his question and Kerry said from the mike that he wanted to answer the question. As for the violence of tasering the cops tasered the young man when they decided that he was not sufficiently compliant with their attempt to remove him.

The video is worth watching. Two cops were standing behind Meyer while he stood at the mike. I have to wonder whether cops were standing there the entire time. That kind of police presence is to me a subtle kind of intimidation. It communicates that they are believe there is reason to expect someone at the mike to engage in illegal behavior. Either that or they just want to remove anyone who says something they or their masters dislike.

At that point the issue is not the 2nd Amendment but the 1st Amendment. Given the messages coming out of the Executive branch perhaps the 2nd Amendment will turn out to be liberals friend. It's an interesting question whether non-firearm weapons should be covered by an Amendment that refers to firearms. Given that the 2nd Amendment does not refer to self-defence it seems to me to be quite a stretch.

Once again UHub gives an opportunity to hear different sides about important questions and to give a chance to debate them. Thanks again Adam.

up
Voting closed 0

Those are new code words for certain ethnic enclaves.

up
Voting closed 0

Perhaps she just wants to engage in novel hair removal techniques while commuting?

up
Voting closed 0

I don't wanna hear about somebody's novel hair.

up
Voting closed 0

He just laughed.

Junkies want cash, not medical equipment.

Bunch of half-baked loonies.

up
Voting closed 0

MGH in the early-mid 90s, HSPH at a lab that was in the old blood bank on Mission Hill in the late 90s to early 00s.

I sometimes had to work late or work nights at both places due to my laboratory work and the demands of assays and such.

I rode my bike home. Often AFTER 10pm through "difficult areas"

Note that this was in an era when the crime rate was much higher.

I never once had issues with anybody but the cops who insisted on harassing me for daring to be female on a bike without a male escort. Not that I didn't see drug dealing and prostitution - they just didn't give a shit about bugging me. I altered my route to avoid detail cops from places outside the city bent on putting my in my girl place.

So much for that shit.

up
Voting closed 0

Honestly glad nothing ever happened to you, but you realize that some people do encounter trouble right?

up
Voting closed 0

That "fear of trouble" is used to control how people behave, even when there is little/no evidence of that trouble?

That "fear of trouble" is used to justify racism and the police state, and having a taser doesn't change that problem?

How many hospital workers have been assaulted IN THEIR CARS WHILE ARMED driving the route that she takes? In the neighborhoods full of "problems" that she drives through? I'm betting that it is very close to zero, dear.

Then again, you probably believed Charles Stuart.

up
Voting closed 0

Got it.

up
Voting closed 0

Got it.

up
Voting closed 0

So does your great record from the 90's mean car-jackings, rapes and robberies never occur in 2017?

Don't you have military training? And a hard-scrabble youth?

Seems to me that your anecdotal evidence has no bearing on the MGH tech's situation whatsoever.

An acquaintance of mine was abducted leaving work at night and brutally raped.

So there's that shit.

up
Voting closed 0

You can make bullshit arguments about my anecdotal evidence WITHOUT PRESENTING A SHRED OF STATISTICAL REALITY YOURSELF.

Please show some statistics on attacks on commuters in "those" neighborhoods that she speaks of, or STFU. My personal experience at a time when crime was far more prevalent is a hell of a lot more than you have to offer here, except bullshit appeals to suburban panic fears.

up
Voting closed 0

And she's arguing she has the constitutional right to do so. That's the crux of the matter. Statistics and anecdotal evidence don't mean squat.

I merely provided one of my own to show that there are many anecdotes. How specifically is your history more valuable than my acquaintance's? It isn't. Period. She ran into a predator. You didn't. She also commuted nights for years w/o incident.

Personally if I were a woman with that commute I'd be more worried about the garages and streets near work at night, despite decent security at MGH.

There was a series of rapes not far away on the Charles recently.

But cars break down. And you could get jacked at any stoplight. I'm not defending her "difficult neighborhoods" comment.

I lived thru the crime and crack of the 80's and 90's too. In the city, where I still live.
My opinion is the opiate addicts today are more desperate and dangerous.

up
Voting closed 0

Well I live in Chelsea, one of the highest crime rates in the state. I've lived here for 10 years, I've never had a problem. Gee and we had a shooting at the end of my street a few weeks ago.

I don't feel unsafe to move. And that was after the drive by 3 houses down a few years ago and the women who was killed by urban crossfire one street away.

Still think anecdotal evidence in is invalid? Mine's recent and very valid.

Sure I'm a big burly guy with a mean look on his face, but it wouldn't be hard for two guys to over power me.

up
Voting closed 0



Self-defense is not an alien concept in Massachusetts. For proof, look at all the martial arts schools around here.

What IS an alien concept in Massachusetts is EFFECTIVE, LAWFUL self-defense against an armed thug. The burdensome requirements for lawful gun ownership in Boston and most surrounding towns lead to a populace of helpless folk.

And that's a shame. May none of us ever get into a situation in which we dearly wish we had training in gun safety, gun use and a gun.

up
Voting closed 5

If you are going to sue, you should sue for an unrestricted license to carry.

up
Voting closed 0