Thirdpower has some great pictures of the march through Springfield as well as the speakers at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center. Of particular note is Mary Shepard who was the lead plaintiff in Shepard v. Madigan.
Picture by Thirdpower, Mary Shepard next to David & Colleen Lawson.
The NRA-ILA was also pleased with the ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday that denied Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s request for an en banc hearing of the dual cases – Moore v. Madigan and Shepard v. Madigan.
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.”
Mary Shepard is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit brought by the National Rifle Association and the Illinois State Rifle Association against the State of Illinois for denying Ms. Shepard the right to defend herself.
If there was ever a plaintiff who could make the case for needing to defend oneself with a firearm, it is Mary Shepard. Back in 2009 when she was 69 years old, she and 76 year old Leona Mount were the victims of a vicious beating attack. They were attacked by Willis Bates as he was burglarizing the Anna (IL) First Baptist Church where both ladies worked. The Associate Baptist Press gives this description of their injuries:
Arrest warrants claim that Bates repeatedly kicked the heads and bodies of Shepherd, the church treasurer, and Mount, a maintenance worker, before getting away with less than $600.
Both women were taken by ambulance to Union County Hospital in Anna and airlifted to St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Shepard remained there, while Mount was transferred to St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis. Both women are expected to recover, a fact that church members are calling a miracle.
Shepard’s injuries included a skull fracture, concussion and a possible broken bone in her right cheek. She was moved from the trauma unit to the ICU for observation and later transferred to a regular room. She has since been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.
Surgery was scheduled Oct. 8 for Mount to begin to repair a broken nose, numerous facial fractures, jaw fractures and a fractured palate. Medical staff at St. Louis University told family members the injuries were like nothing they had ever seen. Despite that, she reportedly suffered no damage to her brain or eyes.
The video above is a report from WSIL Channel 3 back in October 2009 announcing Bates’ arrest. Bates was given a 23 year sentence for two counts of attempted murder. He had previously served 7 years in Illinois prisons for residential burglary. Here is his Illinois Department of Corrections rap sheet including a current picture.
Even before this horrific beating, Mary Shepard, now aged 71, had obtained concealed carry permits from the states of Pennsylvania and Florida. According to IllinoisCarry, Ms. Shepard had taken five firearms training courses including Personal Protection Outside the Home. However, because Illinois law forbids concealed or open carry, she was unarmed when attacked by 6’4″, 240 lb. psychopath Willis Bates. Ms. Shepard discusses the attack, her injuries, the aftermath, and her firearms training which if she was allowed to carry for self-defense could have prevented these horrible injuries in an video made for IllinoisCarry.
The Cook County politicians who kept Mary Shepard defenseless in the face of the attack by Willis Bates should be forced to watch this video. Of course that is a futile hope but perhaps one day – whether by court order or by legislation – the good people of Illinois will be allowed to protect themselves in public with a firearm.