Oral Arguments Presented in Illinois Right-to-Carry Case

Mary Shepard
Ms. Shepard, who is licensed to carry in both Utah and Florida but not IL, 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.

Charlotte, NC –-(Ammoland.com)-  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.

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, as she tries to recover from her injuries.

“The Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms and the right to self-defense,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.  “The state of Illinois’ severe and irrational restriction on self-defense is an abettor in the terrible attack on Ms. Shepard and her co-worker.  Illinois is the only state to completely deny law-abiding residents the right to carry a firearm for self-defense outside the home, which is both unconscionable and unconstitutional.  The NRA will continue to fight to ensure that the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans are protected throughout the country.”

In the opening brief on behalf of Ms. Shepard, her attorneys note that “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.”

Attorneys for both sides faced probing questions from the three-judge panel. Please note that the Shepard case was consolidated with and argued alongside a similar case (Moore v. Madigan); Ms. Shepard’s attorney, the former Assistant Attorney General Charles J. Cooper, argues second. Questioning the attorneys are (in order of appearance) Judges Richard A. Posner, Ann Claire Williams, and Joel M. Flaum.


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. Visit: www.nra.org

NRA - Institute for Legislative Action

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Jim Macklin

Illinois now has a concealed carry license that is “shall issue” but the State does not have reciprocity. Illinois does have a Non-resident carry license but they accept applications from fewer than five states, in cluding Hawaii, a state which has not issued a license in a decade.
This is an old story, the picture tells the tale. Support National Reciprocity, Indiana Rep Hudson’s bill is the best.

Jennis Williams

I’m from IL and the county I live in just agreed to not prosecute someone that is carrying a gun if they are licensed to. That is in Piatt County. If I understood the article right.

JES, Stafford, VA

The sad truth of this matter is that the Mayor of Chicago, the Governor of Illinois and the Illinois legislature do not care about Ms. Shephard’s injuries or the thousand of others who are so battered in Illinois. They (Mayor, Gov and Legis) have their ideology and the Ms. Shepards of Illinois do not matter.

Thomas Kane

What can anyone add that this DEFENSELESS woman`s battered face doesn’t already say? It is the entire argument .You have too be emotionally dead not too see the benefit of the right too carry ,esp. OUTSIDE the HOME .Her TRAUMA IS the direct result of ignorant thinking. WHEN something like this happens to yourself or a loved one you soon learn the REAL meaning of gun CONTROL. Being able to CONTROL violence or death from happening to YOU.


An armed criminal may get the drop on me but being armed myself sure as hell gives me better odds. "Susan Hupp"


@Crosstown – Wearing a seat belt does not assure your safety. You can still die in a car wreck. By your logic we should all stop wearing them. This man was not armed, had Ms. Shepard or her 83-year-old co-worker been armed, they could've defended themselves.


I would say that if everyone carried a concealed weapon we wouldn't have as many armed criminals. By having any laws pertaining to firearms is ridiculous. It wouldn't/doesn't bother me a bit to meet someone that is armed.


Carrying a concealed weapon does not assure your safety. An armed criminal can always get the drop on you.


Illinois, and Long Island NY. I've heard upstate NY gives people license to carry, but LI restricts this carry license to and from the range only, unless you can prove that your life is in danger, although I've never heard of anyone actually getting that.