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Gun Rights Advocates Score Victory With Latest Illinois Supreme Court Ruling

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by Nick Givas

The Illinois Supreme Court rejected a state ban on possessing a firearm within 1000 feet of a public park Thursday and said parks do not fall under the scope of “sensitive places,” Reason reports.

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The state argued possessing a firearm near public parks should be illegal under the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court decision. Heller established certain areas as gun free zones and the state believed parks should be included in that category. The Illinois Supreme court disagreed and struck down the ban.

The court said the ban would limit self-defense and failed to take law-abiding citizens into account.

“We find that the 1000-foot firearm restriction … directly implicates the core right to self-defense …. [It] prohibits the carriage of weapons in public for self-defense, thereby reaching the core of the second amendment. Although the firearm restriction at issue is not a comprehensive statewide ban, like in Moore or Aguilar, the restriction is not minimal,” the court said according to Reason. “The firearm restriction not only covers a vast number of public areas across the state, it encompasses areas this court held in Mosley to be areas where an individual enjoys second amendment protection.”

“The law functions as a categorical prohibition without providing an exception for law-abiding individuals,” the decision continues. “It is, therefore, a severe burden on the recognized second amendment right of self-defense.”

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The court felt the burden rested with the state to show a “strong public interest justification” for the ban and said they failed to provide “meaningful evidence” to back up their claims.

“[T]he State provides no evidentiary support for its claims that prohibiting firearms within 1000 feet of a public park would reduce the risks it identifies. Without specific data or other meaningful evidence, we see no direct correlation between the information the State provides and its assertion that a 1000-foot firearm ban around a public park protects children, as well as other vulnerable persons, from firearm violence,” said the judges.

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