Illinois Justices Say Second Amendment Covers Stun Guns

CHICAGO (CN) – In a unanimous decision, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a state ban on carrying stun guns in public or in a vehicle violates the Second Amendment.

“We reject the state’s argument that section 24-1(a)(4) [of the unlawful use of weapons statute] is merely a regulation of stun guns and Tasers,” Justice Anne Burke wrote for the court. “Rather, that provision sets forth a comprehensive ban that categorically prohibits possession and carriage of stun guns and Tasers in public.”

The case reached the Illinois Supreme Court after two men were separately charged with misdemeanors for carrying stun guns in a public place.

Isiah Webb was found carrying a stun gun in his jacket pocket on a public street, and Ronald Greco was charged after police found a stun gun in his backpack in a forest preserve.

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Commonwealth v. Caetano, the state’s high court said there was no basis to find that stun guns and Tasers are not subject to Second Amendment protection, as the weapons are not uncommon and may typically be possessed by law-abiding citizens for self-defense.

The state argued that stun guns are not banned outright because the Concealed Carry Act applies not just to handguns, but to any kind of weapon, including stun guns or even a rifle. But the law does not provide that a license may be issued for any kind of weapon other than a handgun.

“In our view, the most natural reading of the requirement that weapons be carried or possessed ‘in accordance’ with the Carry Act is that the weapons, themselves, are of the type for which a valid concealed carry license may be issued under the Carry Act. Indeed, any other reading would lead to absurd results,” Justice Burke said.

Since there is no legal way to apply for a license to carry a stun gun, the Illinois Supreme Court found that the prohibition of the weapon in public “sets forth a comprehensive ban,” in violation of the right to bear arms.

The highest court in Massachusetts also endorsed the right to bear stun guns as protected by the Second Amendment last year.

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