A while back, the Supreme Court ruled that things like tasers couldn’t be banned by states. Massachusetts tried and they got smacked down over it by the Court. As they should have.
You see, while we think of “arms” as mentioned in the Second Amendment as being synonymous with guns, it really is more all-encompassing than that. Tasers are a kind of weapon, after all, and they’re covered as well. I mean, when the amendment was written, privateers were a thing, which means privately-owned artillery.
Figuring tasers should be covered seemed like low-hanging fruit.
However, decades of gun control in this country created a belief that even if something is allowed, it could still be regulated meant that while states couldn’t ban tasers, they could regulate the hell out of them.
In Hawaii, their attempt to do just that might prove fatal for many.
In a Facebook post by the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, they note a serious problem with a bill seeking to regulate firearms.
HB891: RELATING TO ELECTRIC GUNS is on its way to the governor and had the intent of legalizing electronic weapons (such as tasers and stun guns). Now, this sounds like a great thing, BUT… Hawaii’s anti-self-defense legislators did what they usually do and messed things up.In their efforts to make tasers and stun guns as hard as possible for law-abiding people to own, they ended up banning the use of commonly used medical devices.Legislators made a choice (in an effort to be as inclusive as possible), to define electric guns as “any portable device that is designed to discharge electric energy, charge, voltage, or current into the body” with the exception of “automatic external defibrillator used in emergency medical situations.” (1)Because they opted to include an exception in the law, this means that any other item not listed as an exception but meets the definition would legally be considered an electric gun. This is where things get bad, really bad.There are many medical devices that are portable and designed to discharge energy into a body. Many of these are commonly used, often life-saving/changing pieces of medical equipment. These would include; Pacemakers, Cochlear implants, electrosurgery/electrocautery units, Electronic Pulp testers used by dentists during root canals, electrolysis hair removal devices used by beauticians, Non-automatic defibrillators and, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation machines used in massage and physical therapy.
Now, this is obviously not what the bill was intended to do, but that doesn’t matter. The intention of lawmakers doesn’t erase the text of the bill.
At best, law enforcement will ignore this particular part of the law and simply pretend it never happened. That might work for a short time, but eventually, someone is going to decide the law needs to be enforced as written and then you’re going to see this become an issue.
With these medical devices being covered under the bill, passage could potentially lead to tens of thousands of people being killed because of a shoddy definition of a taser.
Granted, we shouldn’t be overly surprised when something like that happens. Most anti-Second Amendment laws will get people killed, after all, but this does it in a new and kind of horrifying way.
Part of the problem is that lawmakers aren’t experts in any particular thing. They write laws, often about things they don’t really understand, then try to pass them where they impact real people, folks who actually do understand what’s going on. This is a prime example, really, and my sincere hope is that this bill dies a fiery death.