NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans resident John Ford has won the right to carry a normally banned stun gun after recently filing suit against the city and the superintendent of police.
While the state of Louisiana allows stun guns, individual jurisdictions don’t always follow state law, according to a Dec. 18 article on www.nola.com. For example, section 54-339 of the Code of the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, states that it is unlawful to possess, purchase or carry a stun gun.
Ford's attorney, Stephen Stamboulieh, told the Louisiana Record that many places that ban stun guns and Tasers are ripe for legal challenge, since the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of stun gun and Taser owners.
A stipulated order in Ford's case filed on Dec. 14 says that New Orleans police won’t enforce “City Code Section 54-339(1) to the extent this section prohibits named Plaintiff from importing, purchasing, possessing, or using a Taser, stun gun, or other electronic control devices for lawful self defense anywhere a firearm is allowed to be carried either openly or concealed.”
Ford will be able to carry a stun gun for 90 days from the date the order was filed, Stamboulieh said.
“We filed a preliminary injunction right after we filed the complaint, and typically preliminary injunctions are kind of fast-tracked through the courts, and we were going to bring it up for a hearing on Dec. 14,” Stamboulieh said. “The city wanted a stay to kind of re-work their laws a little bit, or at least have the opportunity to kind of re-work their laws. The judge went in there and said your law is unconstitutional. So they are allowing Mr. Ford to be exempted from the Taser/stun-gun ban until the council can meet and decide what to do. They don’t have to do anything. They wanted 90 days, and we agreed to 90 days.”
Stamboulieh said his client, who recently purchased a stun gun for protection, hasn’t used one in the past.
“I don’t know if he’s ever had to use any weapon to defend himself in the past, but he wants whatever he can have to defend himself,” Stamboulieh said. “If he wants to use lethal force, now he will have that option.”
Force levels needed differ depending on the situation, the lawyer said.
“You can’t immediately jump to deadly force at the first instance of trouble,” he said. “However, your level of force to repel an attack can change very rapidly if you’re being attacked. If someone is coming at you with their hands, you can taser them. He can carry his stun gun and his Taser, and use whichever one is appropriate at the appropriate time.”
Stamboulieh has brought other lawsuits like this one in other jurisdictions, as he explains on his professional blog.
“Pursuant to the Supreme Court, you can’t just ban them,” he said. “They’ve had plenty of time to revisit their laws since March of 2016 and they haven’t done so, so we’re going to force them to do it.”
Stamboulieh has also filed test cases involving conventional firearms.
“I’ve got one of those pending in New Jersey. New Jersey has some of the worst firearms laws in the country,” he said. “I live in Mississippi. We have some of the best gun laws. You don’t need permits to carry here. In New Jersey, you can’t get a permit to carry unless you have justifiable need – unless you’ve been viciously attacked and have the possibility of it happening again.”