Stun Gun Legislation: Part 1

by | Dec 12, 2017 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, Ocean County

As of October 20, 2017, the New Jersey Attorney General has conceded that our law criminalizing an adult’s possession of stun guns and Tasers is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Following a six-month period to promulgate rules, the AG has advised all law enforcement agencies not to arrest and prosecute adults for stun gun and Taser possession.

The Attorney General’s memo reads:

Director, Division of Criminal Justice Superintendent, New Jersey State Police All County Prosecutors Insurance Fraud Prosecutor All County Sheriffs All Police Chiefs All Law Enforcement Chief Executives

FROM: Christopher S. Porrino, Attorney General

DATE: October 20, 2017


SUBJECT: Alert for Prosecutors and Law Enforcement as to the Constitutionality of Certain Criminal Prohibitions on the Sale and Possession of Stun Guns in New Jersey. This is an update of informal guidance previously provided by e-mail on December 16, 2016, which we issued following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Caetano v. Massachusetts, 136 S.Ct. 1027 (2016) (invalidating on Second Amendment ground a state law establishing an absolute prohibition against stun gun possession), advising of the impact of that decision on our ability to enforce New Jersey’s absolute criminal prohibition against stun gun possession set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(h). Consistent with that prior advice, please be advised that, as of October 22, in accordance with a Consent Order entered in the United States District Court in New Jersey Second Amendment Society v. Porrino, No. 16-4906 (U.S.D.Ct.), certain provisions of law pertaining to the possession or sale of stun guns in New Jersey have been declared unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment and shall no longer be enforced. Specifically, these provisions include: N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3(h), which makes it a crime of the fourth degree for any person to knowingly have in his possession any stun gun, to the extent this statute outright prohibits, under criminal penalty, individuals from possessing electronic arms; and N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9(d), which makes it a crime of the fourth degree to manufacture, transport, ship, sell or dispose of certain weapons, to the extent this statute prohibits the sale or shipment of stun guns such as Tasers or other electronic arms in New Jersey. In response to the Consent Order, the Superintendent of State Police proposed a rule, published at 49 N.J.R. 2765(a) (August 21, 2017), that would maintain the prohibition on sale and possession of stun guns to minors under the age of 18.