Charlotte, NC –-(Ammoland.com)- In perhaps the clearest case in the country addressing the right to bear arms outside the home for self-defense, oral arguments took place June 8 in Chicago, before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Shepard v. Madigan involves lead plaintiff Mary Shepard, an Illinois resident and trained gun owner with no criminal record, who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in both Utah and Florida.
Unfortunately, she has no legal way to do so in Illinois as soon as she steps away from her home or place of business. The National Rifle Association is funding this case, and our state affiliate, the Illinois State Rifle Association, is a co-plaintiff on behalf of its members who share Mrs. Shepard’s plight.
On September 28, 2009, while working as the treasurer of her church, Ms. Shepard and an 83-year-old co-worker were viciously attacked and beaten by a six-foot-three-inch, 245 pound man with a violent past and a criminal record. Ms. Shepard and her co-worker were lucky to survive, as each of them suffered major injuries to the head, neck and upper body. Ms. Shepard’s injuries required extensive surgeries and she continues physical therapy to this day, as she tries to recover from her injuries.
“The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms and the right to self-defense,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “The state of Illinois’ severe and irrational restriction on self-defense is an abettor in the terrible attack on Ms. Shepard and her co-worker. Illinois is the only state to completely deny law-abiding residents the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home, which is both unconscionable and unconstitutional. The NRA will continue to fight to ensure that the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans are protected throughout the country.”
In the opening brief on behalf of Ms. Shepard, her attorneys note that “Illinois is the only state in the Union that flatly forbids law-abiding citizens from carrying operable firearms in public for self-defense. Illinois attempts to defend this ban as a public safety measure, asserting that mayhem would ensue if law-abiding citizens were licensed to bear weapons in public. The inconvenient truth that every other state in the nation allows some form of public carriage of firearms by at least some private, law-abiding citizens—and does so without fostering the mayhem forecast by the Defendants here—gives the lie to Illinois’s pleas that firearms in the hands of any and all law-abiding citizens are uniquely a threat to public safety in this state, even if nowhere else in America.”
Attorneys for both sides faced probing question from the three-judge panel; audio of the 45 minutes of argument is available online here. Please note that the Shepard case was consolidated with and argued alongside a similar case (Moore v. Madigan); Ms. Shepard’s attorney, former Assistant Attorney General Charles J. Cooper, argues second. Questioning the attorneys are (in order of appearance) Judges Richard A. Posner, Ann Claire Williams and Joel M. Flaum.
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org