Supreme Court speaks out (a bit) on 2A
Caetano v. Massachusetts. A per curiam (very short opinion not signed by a specific Justice, suggesting the answer was pretty obvious and indisputable). The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had held that stun guns were entirely outside the Second Amendment. The US Supreme Court reverses. (1) The 2A protects arms that were not in common use at the time of the Framing; (2) the exception for limiting carrying of "dangerous and unusual weapons" does not apply, at least when the argument is the arm was "unusual" at the time of the Framing; (3) the fact that the arm in question has little military use does not take it outside the 2A.
Alito and Thomas concur (as I recall, concurrences are very rare in per curiams) and explain the affair at greater length. The defendant obtained the stun gun to protect herself against an abusive ex-boyfriend, and it worked for that purpose. The concurrence suggests that the case shouldn't have been remanded to Massachusetts for further action, the law should have been held unconstitutional, period, with no further consideration. The ending is very nice:
"A State's most basic responsibility is to keep its people safe. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was either unable or unwilling to do what was necessary to protect Jaime Caetano, so she was forced to protect herself. To make matters worse, the Commonwealth chose to deploy its prosecutorial resources to prosecute and convict her of a criminal offense for arming herself with a nonlethal weapon that may well have saved her life. The Supreme Judicial Court then affirmed her conviction on the flimsi est of grounds. This Court's grudging per curiam now sends the case back to that same court. And the conse quences for Caetano may prove more tragic still, as her conviction likely bars her from ever bearing arms for self- defense. See Pet. for Cert. 14.
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."