Oral Arguments Presented in Illinois Carry Case (Shepard v. Madigan)

Posted on June 8, 2012

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Oral arguments took place today in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Shepard v. Madigan.  The case involves lead plaintiff Mary Shepard, an Illinois resident and a trained gun owner with no criminal record, who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in both Utah and Florida.  The National Rifle Association is funding this case.  The Illinois State Rifle and Pistol Association is a co-plaintiff in this case.

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 attempting 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 introducing the opening brief, NRA counsel David Thompson said, "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."

Audio of the 45 minutes of argument is available online at the court’s website. Please note that the Shepard case was 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.

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