NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans resident has filed a suit against
the city and the superintendent of police over a local ban on stun
guns, claiming it violates his Second Amendment rights to keep and
According to court documents,
John Ford filed the suit on Nov. 17 in the U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of Louisiana against the city of New Orleans and
Police Superintendent Michael S. Harrison in response to a municipal
code. Ford is seeking to have New Orleans’ stun-gun ban declared
unconstitutional and unenforceable, as well to have his court costs
and legal fees covered.
According to the City of New Orleans law, Article VI, Div. 2, Sec.
54-339 on municode.com,
residents are not allowed to “sell, manufacture, purchase, possess
or carry any blackjack, sandclub, metal knuckles, switchblade knife
or spring knife, iron buckle, zip gun or stun gun.”
“Louisiana law permits the use of stun guns for self-defense
without obtaining a permit,” a Nov. 23 Times-Picayune article said.
“But local laws vary.”
The official court document for the suit uses the Second Amendment
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a
free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not
be infringed,” the suit said, citing the amendment.
continues to cite additional verdicts in other states that have found
stun-gun bans unconstitutional, including cases in Washington, D.C.,
and Massachusetts. Ford’s attorneys further stress the differences
between law enforcement stun guns and civilian models.
“A Taser is an electronic control device (ECD) that uses
replaceable cartridges containing inert, compressed nitrogen to fire
two small probes that are attached to insulated conductive wires,”
the court document said.
“In the models generally marketed to non-law enforcement persons,
the conductive wires are 15 feet (4.5 meter) in length. 18. Taser
models generally marketed to law enforcement agencies use conductive
wires with lengths up to 25 feet in length.”
The suit also argues that stun guns have several advantages over
other non-lethal means of self-defense, such as self-defense sprays
or contact weapons.
“First, self-defense sprays must be administered generally
within several feet of an assailant while a civilian model Taser can
be deployed within 15 feet,” the court document said.
“The closer distance the assailant must be to a potential victim
for the victim to employ a self-defense spray increases the danger to
the potential victim.”
The Times-Picayune article said that Ford argues that his
interested in obtaining a stun gun is to avoid lethal force while he
also protects himself.
"In New Orleans, he has all the means in the world to defend
himself," Alan Alexander Beck, Ford’s attorney, said in The
"Assuming he wants to, he could easily get a gun. He'd just
rather not kill somebody."
This suit follows reports that New Orleans has, again, ranked as
one of the most violent cities in the United States, according to a
September 2016 report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the
“Murders and non-negligent manslaughter increased 10.8 percent
last year compared to estimates from 2014, while rapes and aggravated
assaults increased 6.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively,” a
Sept. 26 Times-Picayune article said.