Battle over Taser ban continues in Howard County
ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WBFF) - There are new developments Wednesday on the issue of how Maryland residents are allowed to protect their personal safety.
Howard County is making a quick push to get rid of its ban on Tasers and stun guns.
While not illegal in Maryland, the weapons are banned in certain areas.
Six residents have filed a lawsuit against Howard County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City saying the bans are unconstitutional after a Supreme Court ruling last year.
"I just tried to buy it and was denied," says Elizabeth Baran. She's a domestic violence survivor. "I don't ever want to be that vulnerable again."
Baran is one of the six people suing over the bans - "to be able to protect myself," she says.
Leaders in Howard County tell Fox45 the police department has not enforced Howard's ban since that ruling. But it's still a law and makes the county potentially liable.
County Executive Allan Kittleman sent this statement Wednesday:
"Howard County was working on legislation to change language in the county code that excluded individuals from buying and/or carrying Tasers or similar electronic weapons. The change was prompted by a Supreme Court decision last year.
The decision to file the legislation yesterday (CB-17) was made because Howard is one of several counties recently named in a lawsuit regarding this language in the county code. The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court last month. Therefore, we are expediting the change in our county code by filing the emergency legislation."
The bill, CB17-2017, reads in part: "Whereas, the County has been following the Caetano ruling in practice and wishes to align provisions of the County Code with its current practices as quickly as possible in order to clarify the County’s policy, protect the important private interests involved, and minimize risks to the County..."
"It's been talked about for a while now as far as knowing this was a potential issue," says County Councilman Greg Fox. He adds the legislation would have been filed anyway, just not this quickly.
"For all practical purposes it might accelerate things five to six weeks, maybe at most ten or 11."
There's a public hearing on this Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. The council could vote on the bill that night.