It’s a familiar story: a woman is assaulted by an ex-husband or boyfriend, then the authorities are called and he’s either jailed or a protective order is filed depending on the severity of the assault. And then the woman has to wait, wondering if or when he will come back.
Some women, like Leah Elizabeth of Maryland, attempt to arm themselves so they will be ready for that day, if it should ever come.
Baran’s ex-boyfriend broke into her apartment in 2012, beat and raped her. She tried to escape and he banged her head on cement and choked her until she was unconscious, leaving her nearly dead, according to this story from The Washington Post.
“His last words to me were, ‘If I go to jail, as soon as I get out, I’m coming for you and I am going to kill you,” Baran told the Post. “And I believe every word of it.”
Her ex, Joseph Dwayne Caudill, was arrested and is currently serving a prison term. His earliest possible release date is in 2032, and the story says Baran, and ER nurse, has been preparing for that day ever since.
She bought a gun and learned to shoot until she became proficient. The story says “she applied for a permit that would allow her to take her gun almost anywhere she goes. Her application is pending.” The story doesn’t say how long she’s been waiting. Maryland is a “may issue” state for concealed carry, meaning applicants must demonstrate a “good and substantial reason” to carry a handgun. Wikipedia says: “Permits are normally very difficult (but not impossible) for ordinary citizens to obtain.”
Baran is a self-described begrudging gun owner. By that she means she doesn’t want to kill anybody and would rather defend herself with a non-lethal weapon instead of a firearm.
One effective and easy to use non-lethal option is the Taser electroshock weapon, which fires two small dart-like electrodes that embed in an attacker and remain connected to the main unit by wires, delivering an electric current to cause neuromuscular incapacitation.
Tasers are used by most police departments in the U.S. as a non-lethal alternative to firearms that’s a step above mace both in power and in tactical advantage. The problem is, while being allowed to carry a firearm for self defense is difficult to do in Maryland, owning or carrying a Taser is completely forbidden.
Baran is currently suing two counties in Maryland—Baltimore and Howard—to let her carry a Taser-like device, the story says.
Her suit comes amid a recent Supreme Court ruling that raised questions about the constitutionality of stun gun bans.
“In Baran’s lawsuit, filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Maryland, she argues that shooting an attacker could save her life and ruin it at the same time.”
“‘Even if the use of force is necessary, she could be arrested and prosecuted and she’d be “at the mercy of police, prosecutors and jurors who will have weeks or months to second guess a decision to use deadly force made in seconds,’ the lawsuit said.”
“There’s nothing to stop an injured attacker from suing—or his family from doing so if he died. She’d have to hire a lawyer and go to court and defend herself. And for the rest of her life she’d have to deal with the emotional toll of having killed a man.”
“A stun gun, which uses a paralyzing, painful electric shock to incapacitate a person, is a less lethal option and, for Baran, one that’s more acceptable.”
“The suit says depriving Baran and others of the right to carry a Taser is ‘inconsistent with the Second Amendment.’”
The recent Caetano vs. Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling cast doubt on many anti-stun gun laws in various states, but it didn’t wipe them all out.