Justice Alito and CIR's Brief in Caetano

Together with Eugene Volokh, the Center for Individual Rights filed an amicus brief at the Supreme Court on behalf of Arming Women Against Rape in Caetano v. Massachusetts. In his concurring opinion, which we highlighted here, Justice Alito cited our brief.

Here is the passage he found persuasive:

“The ability to possess a stun gun instead of a handgun is an important aspect of the right to keep and bear arms. Some people have religious or ethical compunctions about killing. Other religious and philosophical traditions, such as Judaism and Catholicism, believe that defenders ought to use the least violence necessary. Some adherents to these beliefs may therefore conclude that fairly effective non-deadly defensive tools are preferable to deadly tools. Still other people may feel emotionally unable to pull the trigger on a deadly weapon, even when doing so would be ethically proper.4 Others may worry about erroneously killing someone who turns out not to be an attacker.

Still others might be reluctant to kill a particular potential attacker, for instance when a woman does not want to kill an abusive ex-husband because she does not want to have to explain to her children that she killed their father, even in self-defense. Some might fear owning a gun because it might be misused by their children or by a suicidal roommate.

Some people who do own guns may prefer to own both a firearm and a stun gun, so that they can opt for a nonlethal response whenever possible, resorting to lethal force only when absolutely necessary. And people who live in states where it is hard to get li-censes to carry concealed firearms may choose to get stun guns instead.

Yet, under the ruling below, all these residents are denied their right to possess nonlethal stun guns for protection.”

Read more coverage on our involvement in Caetano at the Volokh Conspiracy and the Boston Herald.