Baltimore's City Council is up against the clock to legalize stun gun ownership in the city.After the Supreme Court ruled unanimously last year that stun guns are protected by the Constitution, cities and states around the country have been forced to scramble to amend their laws so they can avoid fines and expensive legal fees. How did we get here? In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in Heller vs District of Columbia that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. Two years later, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in McDonald vs City of Chicago
In February, Howard County lifted its stun gun ban. Baltimore, however, is slow-walking the process.
Hilary Ruley, the Chief Solicitor in Baltimore's Law Department is warning the City Council to quickly pass the stun gun legislation.
"We've put in this bill because the federal court has essentially asked us to," Ruley said. "If the [stun gun] bill doesn't pass within 90 days, we'll be hit with more than the $40,000 in attorney's fees."
That is one of the chief motivators behind the City Council's current efforts. If Baltimore refuses to conform with the Supreme Court's ruling, they will be hit with multiple lawsuits at a huge expense to the city's residents and taxpayers. City Council Members blame the slow process on the need to get this legislation right. They are adamant that the stun gun bill contains provisions that prohibit criminals, the mentally ill, and domestic abusers from owning stun guns.
Even with the delays, City Council President Jack Young believes that the new legislation will be approved quickly. "I'm quite sure the chair of the judiciary will work quite quickly, because we don't want to be fined."