On April 27th, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a response to the Center for Individual Rights’ motion for a preliminary injunction. Attorney General Healey argues that the law should not be suspended until a decision is reached on the merits for the following reasons: First, she argues that because CIR’s plaintiffs have alternative means of defense they are not harmed by the law’s continued enforcement. Second, she argues that “electrical weapons remain outside the Second Amendment’s reach” because they are not “lineal descendants” of weapons in existence at the time the Second Amendment was ratified. Finally, she argues that the law has been in place for three decades and suspension would leave electric weapons unregulated.
CIR’s original motion addressed each of these arguments. Attorney General Healey’s suggestion that the plaintiffs have alternative means of self-defense suggests that the state would rather citizens use means of self-defense that are either more lethal or less reliable than electric weapons. Additionally, the Supreme Court has never held that the Second Amendment protects only weapons that are “lineal descendants” of weapons in use at the founding. Finally, a law that infringes on constitutional rights should be overturned regardless of how long it has been on the books. That Massachusetts has been infringing on the Second Amendment for thirty years is not an argument for why it should continue to do so.