Federal Court Strikes Down Illinois’ Attempt to Revive Ban on Carrying Handguns
Fairfax, Va. – The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on December 11, 2012, that Illinois' total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home or business is unconstitutional. Today, the same court sitting en banc denied the State of Illinois’ petition to rehear the case. The case involves lead plaintiff Mary Shepard, an Illinois resident and a trained gun owner, 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.
In the ruling which was upheld today, Judge Richard Posner ruled that Illinois’ ban on carriage is unconstitutional. The Judge went on to say, “One doesn’t have to be a historian to realize that a right to keep and bear arms for personal self-defense in the eighteenth century could not rationally have been limited to the home. . . . Twenty-first century Illinois has no hostile Indians. But a Chicagoan is a good deal more likely to be attacked on a sidewalk than in his apartment on the 35th floor.”
"Today's decision is a major victory for the Second Amendment and all the law abiding citizens of Illinois who wish to both to keep arms, and to bear arms," added Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "It is now clear that no state can deny law-abiding residents the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home. We have been fighting this case for years and are prepared to keep fighting until the courts fully protect the entire Second Amendment."
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. More than four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalRifleAssociation and on Twitter @NRA.