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BlogsPublications | November 2, 2021
2 minute read

COA Opinion: Court finds that complete ban on possession within the home and open carrying of tasers and stun guns unconstitutional

In the consolidated cases of Michigan v. Yanna and Michigan v. Collie, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that the statute prohibiting possession of stun guns or tasers by private citizens was unconstitutional. The Legislature recently amended the statute to allow for possession of these devices by anyone who has received training and has a valid license to carry concealed. The Court did not rule, however, on the validity of the amended statute; it only ruled on the validity of the complete ban under which the defendants were arrested.

In both Yanna and Collie, the defendants were charged with possession of a stun gun in violation of the statute. Yanna's stun gun was confiscated after an anonymous tip reported that he had it on his person while working at a party store. Collie's stun gun was confiscated after he called the police to help him retrieve his personal possessions from his home during a domestic dispute. The Court first found that the Second Amendment, "guarantee[s] the individual the right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation." The Court then found that stun guns and tasers are arms under the 18th century meaning, as they can be used both for defense and "to cast a strike at another." The Court then rejected the prosecutions argument that stun guns are not suited for lawful defense, since the prosecution failed to put forward evidence that would cause the Court to doubt that the vast majority of taser and stun gun users are law-abiding citizens, who use them for lawful purposes. The Court then rejected the prosecution's argument that stun guns and tasers are too dangerous to be owned by ordinary citizens, finding that they were far less dangerous than hand guns. Finally, the Court rejected the prosecution's argument that tasers and stun guns were "unusual" or rare weapons, finding instead that they are legal in forty-three states and are routinely used by law enforcement officers in Michigan. After reviewing these findings the Court held that the statute was unconstitutional because it prevented the possession and open carrying of a protected arm, without the protected arm coming within any of the exceptions to the Second Amendment. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Bay Circuit's decision dismissing the charges against Yanna, and reversed the order of the Muskegon Circuit Court and reinstated the district courts order dismissing the charges against Collie.