Springfield, IL – The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that criminally charging citizens for carrying concealed stun guns and Tasers is unconstitutional.
The court unanimously upheld the earlier decision made by DuPage County Circuit court, which found that banning stun guns or pursuing concealed weapons charges violates the Second Amendment, WEEK reported.
The circuit court ruling was made after two men were found carrying stun guns in two separate incidents, according to court documents.
One was carrying the weapon in his coat pocket while he was inside his vehicle on a public street, and the other had a stun gun tucked into a backpack while he was in a public forest.
Both were charged with misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon.
The men filed motions to dismiss the charges, arguing that state law “operated as a complete ban on the carriage of stun guns and tasers in public and was, for this reason, unconstitutional under the second amendment,” according to court documents.
The circuit court determined that “stun guns and tasers are bearable arms entitled to the protection of the second amendment,” and that a “complete ban is unconstitutional,” according to the ruling.
Prosecutors argued that the unlawful use of weapons statute does not completely ban Tasers and stun guns, but that it actually “creates a constitutionally permissible regulation,” court documents read.
The circuit court rejected that argument.
“Given the similarities in the nature and purpose of firearms and stun guns or tasers as instruments of personal self-defense…stun guns/tasers are entitled to a least as much protection under the Second Amendment as that afforded firearms, particularly since stun guns are by their specific nature far less lethal than firearms,” the lower court ruled.
The circuit court ultimately determined that “the ban on stun guns and tasers constitutes an unconstitutional infringement of the rights of citizens to bear arms under the second amendment,” according to court documents.
The State of Illinois appealed the circuit court’s decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.
“Clearly, stun guns and tasers are bearable arms within the meaning of the second amendment,” the supreme court noted.
The state asserted that citizens can legally carry concealed stun guns and Tasers if they are “issued a concealed carry license for a handgun,” which would bring them into compliance with the unlawful use of a weapon statute, according to the ruling.
The superior court disagreed, and said that the state’s interpretation of the statute was too convoluted.
“We presume the legislature did not intend to create absurd, inconvenient, or unjust results,” the court noted. “We do not think the State’s interpretation is what the legislature intended.”
The court ultimately ruled that the portion of state law “that prohibits the carriage or possession of stun guns and tasers is facially unconstitutional under the second amendment,” thereby upholding the circuit court’s judgement.