Korwin: New Supreme Court Gun Case Protects Helpless Women

Alan Korwin, visit his website GunLaws.com.

Alan Korwin, visit his website GunLaws.com.

The Caetano Supreme Court gun decision had so many critically important features it is unfathomable it did not steal the entire news cycle when it hit on March 21, 2016. A mere shooting by a sick person in a small town does that.

The U.S. Supreme Court just handed down such a monumental Second Amendment decision—its 113th gun case—that if the mainstream media had been doing its job it would have dominated the front page for days, and devoured cable news chatter for 24 hours daily, worse than the jihad or any other minor preemption that consumes news.

The decision recognized that brutish boyfriends terrorize their women and the women can be helpless based on size and strength—except for protection the Second Amendment and weapons provide. Read that again. All eight Justices unanimously said this. They formally recognized that orders or protection, issued repeatedly against the same brute, are, in their words “futile.”

But you haven’t even heard about the Caetano v. Massachusetts case.

It basically confirms that guns are good. They protect the helpless. They have social utility. Lower courts that attempt to write this out of the law by making things up, ignoring history and legal precedent—like the Massachusetts court did—have no place in our legal system. Concocting inventions from thin air that don’t even make sense, to advance an anti-rights agenda, earned ridicule. Read the decision yourself, it’s in basic English.

Even the liberal SCOTUS Justices all joined the decision. This is news. It’s big news. It’s monufrickinmental. Where are the talking heads? The fact that it has been broadly suppressed by the very organization responsible for telling you—The United States journalism profession acting in concert—demonstrates the astonishing bias that infects the nation’s culture and “news” media. This is proof.

If news like this proliferated as it should, you and the nation would be bombarded constantly with the good side of guns, the side that keeps streets safe, the idea that people who are armed can protect themselves, and do all the time just like Jaime Caetano did. It’s the plan the Founders gave us, that has made this the greatest nation the world has ever known. The failure of reporters, producers, editors, news directors and publishers is unaccountably grave. Look at what this case contains.

Jaime’s story

Ms. Caetano’s boyfriend beat her up so severely (the lower court called it a “bad altercation”) she was hospitalized. This was after she got multiple restraining orders against the thug, which the Supreme Court called “futile.” When a friend offered her a stun gun for self defense against the brute, she took it. “It’s a good thing she did,” the Supreme Court’s finding reads.

That’s because, as the Court tells us, one night when she was leaving work, her ex-boyfriend was laying in wait for her, came out and, screaming, threated her. He was nearly a foot taller and 100 pounds heaver than she. You’ve gotta read this case, it’s amazing. Here, read this extract:

But she didn’t need physical strength to protect herself. She stood her ground, displayed the stun gun, and announced: “I’m not gonna take this anymore… I don’t wanna have to use the stun gun on you, but if you don’t leave me alone, I’m gonna have to.” The gambit worked. The ex-boyfriend “got scared and he left her alone.”

You don’t think it’s news that our U.S. Supreme Court made this public? Put it in their unanimous decision?

Next the Court points out that, “It is settled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms” and that this right vindicates the “basic right” of “individual self-defense.” Leftists and hoplophobes (people with morbid fear of guns) can make their bogus arguments, but there’s the truth.

The High Court stated: “By arming herself, Caetano was able to protect against a physical threat that restraining orders had proved useless to prevent.” It’s front page news: “Flash! SCOTUS announces: Guns beat orders of protection! Read all about it!” Instead? Crickets.

Unspeakable Legal Abuse
Under Massachusetts law however, even though Jaime may have saved her life, her possession of the stun device was illegal, so when police found it later she (not the guy) was arrested, tried and convicted.

To make it stick, the local courts bent over backwards, inventing the argument that, because stun guns didn’t exist in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was ratified, it wasn’t “eligible for Second Amendment protection.” They had unwritten what the Supreme Court had written. She was imprisoned.

The Supreme Court had to take this case to prevent inferior courts from removing the scrotum from SCOTUS. That’s partially why it’s unanimous—the lower court was thumbing its nose at the system. (You can almost hear the liberal Justice’s bemoaning, ‘Why’d it have to be guns?’)

vulnerable individuals like Caetano
who must defend themselves
because the State will not.

“This reasoning defies our decision in Heller, which rejected as ‘bordering on the frivolous,’ the argument ‘that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment.’ The decision below also does a grave disservice to vulnerable individuals like Caetano who must defend themselves because the State will not,” Justice Alito wrote, slapping them in his concurrence.

Years of history between this woman and her abusive partner are outlined in the 12-page decision. In typical elitist fashion, while state law denies non-lethal stun guns to the public, it grants them to the king’s men, also called officials and peace officers.

Massachusetts argued further that Caetano must be guilty because stun guns fall within the “traditional prohibition against carrying dangerous and unusual weapons.” But, as SCOTUS notes, “Although the Supreme Judicial Court [of Mass.] professed to apply Heller, each step of its analysis defied Heller’s reasoning.” There was no limit to that lower court’s hubris—Heller emphatically rejected accepting only arms in existence in the 18th century: “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.” Massachusetts just ignored the rule of law, and cited an unrelated case.

SCOTUS emphasized that “the Second Amendment accordingly guarantees the right to carry weapons ‘typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes,’” and that this “is true for the weapons most commonly used today for self-defense, namely, revolvers and semiautomatic pistols.” Front page news. “SCOTUS Declares: Top Self-Defense Weapons Are Revolvers And Semi-Autos!” More crickets.

Electronic stun guns are no more exempt from the Second Amendment’s protections, simply because they were unknown to the First Congress, than electronic communications are exempt from the First Amendment, or electronic imaging devices are exempt from the Fourth Amendment.

When Massachusetts tried to justify its assault on the right to bear stun guns, using a “dangerous and unusual” ploy, the High Court saw right though it and would have none of that either. First, as they point out, it is a conjunctive test, both conditions must apply, and the state’s effort to apply them separately had to fail. But more to the point, as Alito writes, “IfHeller tells us anything, it is that firearms cannot be categorically prohibited just because they are dangerous.” The case notes that “virtually every covered arm would qualify as ‘dangerous.’” So you can see what that lower court was trying to do—outlaw everything—and why the Supreme Court had to step in and slap some sense into them.

Piling it on, the Massachusetts court also tried to ban stun guns saying they had no usefulness in warfare. The Supreme Court dissolved that by listing all the militia uses the devices have in suppressing insurrections and riots (a constitutional function, they note) and listing branches of the armed services that have requisitions and training for stun weapons to “incapacitate a target without permanent injury or known side effects” (with fascinating reading at the many links they provide).

The lower court’s argument that guns outnumber stun weapons is brushed aside as pointless drivel, and besides, “Otherwise, a State would be free to ban all weapons except handguns, because “handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home… While less popular than handguns, stun guns are widely owned and accepted as a legitimate means of self-defense across the country. Massachusetts’ categorical ban of such weapons therefore violates the Second Amendment.”

“The reasoning of the Massachusetts court
poses a grave threat to the
fundamental right of self-defense.”

The conclusion is too good to paraphrase (citations omitted):

The Supreme Judicial Court suggested that Caetano could have simply gotten a firearm to defend herself. But the right to bear other weapons is “no answer” to a ban on the possession of protected arms. Moreover, a weapon is an effective means of self-defense only if one is prepared to use it, and it is presumptuous to tell Caetano she should have been ready to shoot the father of her two young children if she wanted to protect herself.

Courts should not be in the business of demanding that citizens use more force for self-defense than they are comfortable wielding.

Countless people may have reservations about using deadly force, whether for moral, religious, or emotional reasons—or simply out of fear of killing the wrong person. I am not prepared to say that a State may force an individual to choose between exercising that right and following her conscience, at least where both can be accommodated by a weapon already in widespread use across the Nation.

A State’s most basic responsibility is to keep its people safe. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was either unable or unwilling to do what was necessary to protect Jaime Caetano, so she was forced to protect herself.

To make matters worse, the Commonwealth chose to deploy its prosecutorial resources to prosecute and convict her of a criminal offense for arming herself with a nonlethal weapon that may well have saved her life. The Supreme Judicial Court then affirmed her conviction on the flimsiest of grounds.

This Court’s grudging per curiam now sends the case back to that same court. And the consequences for Caetano may prove more tragic still, as her conviction likely bars her from ever bearing arms for self-defense.

If the fundamental right of self-defense does not protect Caetano, then the safety of all Americans is left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.

If it’s about guns and it’s in the “news,” it’s probably 100% wrong. Unless it’s not there at all.

About the author: Alan Korwin is an American writer, author and civil- and political-rights activist whose work serves the business, legal, news and firearms industries. In 1988, Korwin founded Bloomfield Press, which has grown into the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the nation

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Andrew N. April 24, 2016, 1:16 am

    Landmark case. If smaller, weaker WOMEN have to be afforded the Right to protect themselves, denying that same Right to MEN ( some who are smaller and weaker than some women I’ve seen ) would be discrimination based upon gender, already a major no-no. This will make it very difficult for those same four Liberals on the SCOTUS to vote against Second Amendment cases without looking extremely stupid or hypocritical. By also naming certain firearms as “typical” defensive weapons, it will be harder for States to try to limit those as well. I see a lawsuit coming out soon here in the People’s Republik of California, where firearm types are being limited, especially handguns. It would be nice to be able to buy a handgun based on something other than limited availability.

  • Joe McHugh April 22, 2016, 8:36 pm

    The only thing that surprises me is that the four liberal minded justices didn’t hang the court with a tie vote. The profoundly obtuse Stephen Breyer and the three women justices have always ruled against the Second Amendment as an individual right.
    Perhaps the use of a non-lethal stun gun affected their decisions?

    • Den June 21, 2016, 1:46 am

      Since the Heller decision was already made they had to stick with that decision. At this point it’s more about ensuring the lower courts are ensuring they do what they’re supposed to, not what they want.

  • Steve Whitmer April 22, 2016, 5:12 pm

    It seems to me that the same reasoning could be used to overturn state and local laws against automatic/switch blade knives and brass knuckles, etc.

  • SuperG April 22, 2016, 1:25 pm

    Coming from a state that fought in the American Revolution makes their draconian laws even more disgusting. My thanks to the Supreme Court for finally ruling for the people and THEIR Constitution. Here’s a blast from the past.
    Thomas Paine, writing to religious pacifists in 1775:
    “The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; the weak would become a prey to the strong.”

  • JD April 22, 2016, 12:54 pm

    Concerning Mr. Blackburns comment above: he mentions the Heller Decision. I thought that covered weapons in common usage. That would not include RPGs and F-14s since they are no way in common use. Common use to me refers to something I could conceivably purchase and use on a common basis. A handheld weapon. I don’t forsee any shooting ranges welcoming F-14s or RPGs. AR-15s and handguns-yes.

  • Kivaari April 22, 2016, 12:44 pm

    Liberal New England states and heavily democrat controlled metropolitan cities have the ignorance that can only be found among the mentally defective people in charge. She should have killed the SOB and the cops should have given her a medal and replacement ammunition.

  • Scott Mahoney April 22, 2016, 11:59 am

    113th gun case? This is a weapons case, NOT A GUN CASE. For crying out loud, you need a license to possess pepper spray in Massachusetts,. Only state in the Union. This case was overdue with such draconian crap going on in this lousy state.

  • Mike April 22, 2016, 11:24 am

    The real point being missed here is that this victim was not only brutalized by this low life POS, she was brutalized again by being arrested, convicted by a very system that failed to protect her from this animal. Not to mention the legal costs of this whole debacle. The winners, attorneys of course as usual. It is all about attorneys and their ability to perpetuate a steady flow of income. This country is truly messed up and when we finally wake up to this fact and throw all these lame ass politicians out of the country it will only be then that people will be safe. Not until then and no matter how many guns or amount of Ammo anyone carries. The good thing is there is still an awful lot of real estate this POS can be planted in that nobody would find

  • Rick Jennings April 22, 2016, 8:08 am

    I agree with the general tenor of this article, however, the author of this piece should do some research on how Supreme Court Opinions are written. The actual opinion by the Court ends with “It is so ordered”. What the author quotes from is mostly from the concurring opinion by Justice Alito and joined by Justice Thomas. A concurring opinion agrees with the outcome of the majority, but does not totally agree with the Court’s reasoning. A concurring opinion is not binding precedent. What Alito and Thomas were concerned about was that the lower court’s decision was vacated, but because the case was remanded for further proceedings the defendant could be retried and still found guilty and barred from owning any weapon, deadly or not. So Alito’s concurring opinion and its reasoning may be used as a compelling argument in similar cases, but it is not binding on lower courts.

  • Joseph Blakeburn April 22, 2016, 7:07 am

    Perhaps the author should listen to National Public Radio (NPR). The Caetano case was reported on KGOU, the NPR station in Oklahoma, as part of their regular news coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court. I don’t believe they try to bend their news coverage one way or the other. It’s is just news. BTW, no matter how much I support it, I disagree that the founding fathers intended the 2A to protect Ms Caetano. For a full, unbiased history of the 2A, read Gunfight, author Adam Winkler. OTOH, the “gun” seizures which concerned the founding fathers included full size cannon – the most powerful weapon at the time. That fact, along with the language in Heller and Caetano, would seem to point to citizenry owning fully automatic weapons, RPGs, tanks and F-14s. I’m not holding my breath. And I’m not advocating it. But if you carry the logic to it’s extreme, That is where you can land.

    • Blasted Cap April 25, 2016, 7:38 am

      You can own all of those for the right price though. I own 4 full auto firearms, and know 1 that owns an RPG. There are numerous private citizens that own not just 1 but entire collections of tanks, are they de-mil’ed, yes, but in civilian hands nonetheless. If you’re willing to fill out the paperwork the can slip be had legally.

      • Den June 21, 2016, 1:58 am

        You can actually own a tank that isn’t demilitarized. Same process as anything else requiring the ATF to sign off on it and you are the proud owner of what the ATF calls a destructive device. Good luck purchasing rounds for it, though, as each one is individually serialized and therefore on top of the coast of the round your filling out more paperwork and passing another $200 per round and still waiting 6 months for it to come back with the your a winner stamp.

  • jack daugherty April 22, 2016, 5:55 am

    It is amazing to me how gunsamerica trample First Amendment rights while supporting the Second Amendment. No comments may be posted that might stem the flow of shekels coming in!

    • Martin Cohn April 22, 2016, 8:23 am

      Someone sounds butthurt. Their page their rules.

    • Ken April 22, 2016, 10:52 am

      You know the First Amendment only applies to the Government censoring your speech right? It does not apply to private individuals or organizations.

  • jack daugherty April 22, 2016, 5:38 am

    Who owns the media? One hint: Ted Nugent was recently de-nutted for saying that they are behind gun control in America. Oy Vey!

  • Eric von Kleist April 21, 2016, 8:06 pm

    I agree with the general content of your opinion piece. People should have the right to keep and bear arms.

    1) Why is no one advocating for our right to open carry swords? Swords were “arms” contemplated by the Founders, and it is our right to carry them for self defense. Why all the focus on guns to the exclusion of swords?

    2) “Hoplophobes” — This is a stupid term that brands its user as a lunatic gun-nutter. The Hoplites were ancient Greek citizen-soldiers armed with swords and shields. They did not have guns — they had swords and spears (but nobody is advocating for open carry of swords and spears, are they?) Just because someone owns a gun does not make him a citizen-soldier. No gun owners in the USA are citizen-soldiers unless they are in the National Guard or Army Reserve. The vast majority of gun owners are NOT citizen-soldiers, although they may fantasize that they function in that capacity. (Hoo-rah, when the UN blue helmets come to get my guns, they will take them from my cold, dead fingers…Hoo-rah, ‘Murika, etc., etc, blah, blah.)

    And those Hoplites — guess what else they were known for? Having sex with young boys. Yep. It was customary for young boys to be sent off for training by older men, and “training” included having sex with them. You seriously need to drop the term hoplophobe from your vocabulary — that is unless you endorse the idea of citizen-soldiers having sex with young boys as a form of training. Anyone who considers himself a “hoplite” is basically endorsing gay sex with underage children.

    • Learn To Read April 22, 2016, 9:44 am

      The suffix of the word is “Phobe” not ‘Phile look up the difference.

    • Den June 21, 2016, 1:54 am

      A quick Google search would have helped you out with that term:

      Hoplophobia is a political neologism coined by retired American military officer Jeff Cooper as a pejorative to describe an “irrational aversion to weapons.” It is also used to describe the “fear of firearms” or the “fear of armed citizens.” Hoplophobia is a political term and not a recognized medical phobia.

    • mtman2 November 22, 2016, 8:17 am

      Totally false and from Left field as to just who the Militia is.

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