03:32 GMT +319 September 2019
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    A woman died days after law enforcement used a Taser to subdue her at a Virginia detention center.

    DC Residents May Soon Be Able to Carry Tasers for Self-Defense

    Mary Godleski
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    Following a federal lawsuit leveled by residents, the Washington DC city council is moving to repeal a ban on personal tasers.

    The three residents who brought the suit against the city over the summer have placed their litigation on hold, as they have been allowed to possess tasers in their homes.

    George Lyon, the attorney representing the three residents, filed the suit challenging the constitutionality of the law, after a US Supreme Court decision questioned whether a similar ban passed in Massachusetts was legal. 

    The Washington Times quoted DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson as saying, "We have a complete ban on stun guns right now, and I think it’s reasonable to expect that the ban would not hold up."

    Unsure whether local police will be agreeable to the regulation, which is currently being processed, Mendelson suggested that "the bill goes very far toward deregulating stun guns…My view is that stun guns are not lethal in the same way firearms are. Therefore, a regulatory scheme similar to firearms is more difficult to rationalize."

    "I wanted to be part of this lawsuit on principle, because I have a right to bear arms," lead plaintiff Crystal Wright told the Washington Post.  

    Wright and co-plaintiffs Traci Dean and Brendan Turner have claimed that they want to be able to defend themselves against assailants and would rather use a taser than a more potentially dangerous weapon like a knife or a gun. 

    DC residents are required to register firearms with police and must undergo training. The city has some of the strictest gun laws in the US. Stuns guns do not have to be registered with police. 

    Handguns were banned in the US capitol from 1976 until 2008 after the Columbia v. Heller court decision, which held that "the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense."

    Tasers are currently banned in just five states.


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