Shepard v. Madigan: The NRA-ISRA Challenge To Ban On Carrying Firearms

The National Rifle Association and the Illinois State Rifle Association filed suit today on behalf of Mary Shepard challenging the State of Illinois’ ban on the carrying of firearms for self-defense. As I posted earlier, the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit yesterday in Illinois with a similar challenge. Fortunately, the NRA suit is filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois while the SAF suit was filed in the Centeral District of Illinois. Therefore, the cases cannot be combined.

The release from the NRA-ILA announcing the case is below.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fairfax, Va. — The National Rifle Association is funding and supporting a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Illinois’ complete and total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home. The case, filed today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is Shepard v. Madigan. The lead plaintiff is church treasurer Mary Shepard; joining her is the Illinois State Rifle Association, the NRA’s state affiliate.

Mary Shepard is an Illinois resident and a trained gun owner with no criminal record, who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in two other states. Because Illinois remains the only state that completely prohibits all law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home, Mary Shepard also became a crime victim. While working as the treasurer of her church, Mrs. 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. Mrs. Shepard and her co-worker were lucky to survive, as each of them suffered major injuries to the head, neck and upper body. Mrs. Shepard’s injuries required extensive surgery and physical therapy.

“Mary Shepard isn’t just a victim of the violent criminal who attacked her,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “She is also a victim of anti self-defense activists in the Illinois legislature who have consistently refused to recognize that good people have the right to protect themselves when they go about their everyday business. We’re pleased that the legislature has come closer this year than ever before to changing the law, but close isn’t good enough for Mary Shepard and the thousands of other Illinois residents who are prohibited by statute from defending themselves outside the home.”

Because Illinois statutes prohibit the right to keep and bear arms and the ability to carry handguns in Illinois, they infringe on the right of the people, including Mrs. Shepard, members of the ISRA and other law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and are thus null and void.

Cox concluded: “In its historic Heller and McDonald decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court made clear that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. Mary Shepard’s story highlights the need for law-abiding citizens to be able to fully exercise their Second Amendment rights. Whether through the legislature or through the courts, we won’t rest until that happens.”


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