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Illinois Seeks Review of Right-to-Carry Case

Friday, January 11, 2013

On January 8, the State of Illinois petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for a rehearing before the full court in the NRA-backed case Shepard v. Madigan. A month earlier, on December 11, a three-judge Seventh Circuit panel struck down Illinois' complete ban on Right-to-Carry outside the home.

Writing the initial decision was Judge Richard Posner, who made clear that in light of the Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, Illinois' ban was unconstitutional and that "To confine the right to be armed to the home is to divorce the Second Amendment from the right to self-defense described in Heller and McDonald." The panel ruled that Illinois had 180 days to enact a suitable Right-to-Carry law, and the filing of the petition doesn't stop the clock on that deadline.

In the petition for rehearing, Illinois claims that the Shepard decision contradicts two other federal appeals court decisions, Kachalsky v. County of Westchester in the Second Circuit and United States v. Masciandaro in the Fourth Circuit, both of which interpreted the right to self-defense in Heller more narrowly, upholding restrictions on carrying firearms outside the home. Illinois also took issue with the panel's holding that the state failed to show empirical evidence that the carry ban "was vital to public safety."

Joining Illinois was the Brady Center, which filed a "friend of the court" brief supporting the state. In line with the group's anti-self-defense mission, the brief assailed Judge Posner's decision as "broad and unmeasured." The brief goes on to argue against an interpretation of the Second Amendment that would include self-defense outside the home, and asks the court to consider empirical public safety data in its analysis of the law's legitimacy. Presumably that means Brady-approved firearm studies.

NRA-ILA will continue to litigate this case aggressively in order to bring Illinois into line with the 49 states that have some legal mechanism for exercising the right to carry outside the home.

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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.