Second Amendment

Caetano v. Massachusetts - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-20-16 featuring Nelson Lund
Nelson Lund April 20, 2016

On March 21, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Caetano v. Massachusetts without oral argument.

Jamie Caetano was convicted of violating a Massachusetts law prohibiting possession of stun guns. On appeal, she claimed this law violated the Second Amendment, by infringing her right to possess a stun gun in public for the purpose of self-defense from an abusive ex-boyfriend. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts affirmed Caetano’s conviction, ruling that stun guns are not eligible for Second Amendment protection.

By a vote of 8-0, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion vacating the judgment of the Massachusetts court and remanding the case. Citing its 2008 precedent District of Columbia v. Heller, and its 2010 precedent McDonald v. Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Massachusetts court’s decision as contradictory of Supreme Court precedent. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Thomas joined.

To discuss the case, we have Nelson Lund, who is University Professor at George Mason University School of Law.

A Stunning Development in Second Amendment Jurisprudence?: Caetano v. Massachusetts - Podcast

Civil Rights Practice Group Podcast
Nelson Lund April 14, 2016

In a per curiam opinion issued on March 21, 2016, the Supreme Court vacated and remanded a decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upholding a state law prohibiting the possession of stun guns, finding that the decision was inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. Justices Alito and Thomas issued a concurring opinion which would have gone further in finding the Massachusetts statute unconstitutional. Our expert discussed the case and its implications for the Court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence going forward.


  • Prof. Nelson Lund, University Professor, George Mason University School of Law