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.
Mary Shepard was attacked while working at her church in 2009 by a 245-pound thug and nearly killed. She suffered massive injuries that required numerous surgeries and she still suffers today. No wonder she wants the freedom to carry outside of her home, for self-defense.
But Illinois is having none of it. After all, the government knows best how to protect people. And “guns kill people.” And they just can’t have people running around with guns in their pockets or on their hips just waiting for trouble!
Illinois’ argument is false, and provably so. And the NRA, in its brief, made that clear:
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.
Hopefully the three-judge panel hearing the case will decide in favor of Shepard, and be done with it. But this, of course, is Illinois, the land of Obama and Rahm Emanuel and other government thugs who care little about facts. Good for the NRA in funding this effort.