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Supreme Court Ducks 2016 Presidential Campaign Issue

An Illinois State University expert on constitutional law says the Supreme Court's decision not to take the Highland Park gun control case is in part a political act. The court let stand a ban on semi automatic weapons and firearms with extended magazines in the Illinois village of Highland Park. ISU political scientist Meghan Leonard says the court did not want to be a part of the 2016 Presidential contest.

Leonard says the court takes very few gun cases.


She says there are still wide areas whose constitutionality has not been decided including gun registation and background check legislation.


She says any second amendment question that has come up in political discussion is still open for consideration by the court.

The Highland Park,case involved a pediatrician who objected to the city's 2013 ban on semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines. The federal appeals court in Chicago upheld the Highland Park law, ruling that local governments have leeway in deciding how to regulate firearms. In October, the federal appeals court in New York largely upheld similar laws in Connecticut and New York, among a handful of states that ban semi-automatic weapons.  

Highland Park had argued the ban was constitutional because such weapons with large capacity magazines are dangerous and unusual. A resident who fought the ban argued it infringed on high right to self protection in his home.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly turned away challenges to gun restrictions since two landmark decisions that spelled out the right to a handgun to defend one's own home.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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