The Weekly Reload Podcast

Interviewing the Lawyer Who Dismantled America's Stun-Gun Bans

March 22nd, 2022

Rhode Island's statewide stun-gun ban was overturned by a federal court this week. It was the last of its kind, and the latest to fall in what's becoming a systemic dismantling of the prohibitions across the country.

The effort to liberalize stun gun and taser laws wasn't undertaken by any of the major gun-rights groups or civil-rights organizations. It hasn't been backed by anyone with deep pockets. Instead, it's been something of a passion project for a lawyer who started off with a $10,000 budget.

That lawyer is Alan Beck, and he's our guest on this week's episode of the podcast.

Beck describes what motivated him to get involved in stun-gun litigation. He also explains how a key 2016 Supreme Court decision added fuel to the fire which swept through multiple state and local bans.

He explained his strategy for tearing down the prohibitions and how that same strategy could foreshadow what's possible for other areas of Second Amendment litigation. He also details how places like Hawaii have tried to push back against the courts striking down their stun-gun bans by imposing restrictions just short of prohibitions. And he says that's exactly how states forced to give up their restrictive gun-carry laws could react.

Speaking of Hawaii, Beck has also filed a number of suits against that state's outlier gun laws. The most famous of which is Young v. Hawaii where he was able to convince a lower court to toss the state's total ban on open carry before being reversed at the Ninth Circuit. That case is now pending appeal at the Supreme Court. We talk about why Hawaii has similarly been neglected by most gun-rights groups despite having some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

Reload member Nathan Gorenstein also joins the show for a member segment. The former Philadelphia Inquirer editor shares how he became interested in guns, and how legendary gun designer John Moses Browning piqued his interest enough to write an entire book about him.

Plus, contributing writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the latest state to adopt permitless gun-carry.