The Right to Bear Arms; Concealed-Carry Lawsuits Challenge Illinois Anti-Gun Laws

Article excerpt


Illinois has the worst gun laws of any state. Only police officers and the taxpayer-funded bodyguards for ex-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley have the right to carry a handgun outside their homes. Everyone else is out of luck - unless a pair of federal lawsuits filed last week succeed in arguing that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear Arms means that people can actually bear arms in the land of Lincoln.

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down Chicago's ban on private handgun ownership, upholding the keeping of arms. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) are looking to build on that victory by overturning the country's most sweeping anti-carry statute to ensure the bearing of arms is equally protected.

The NRA-funded suit champions the cause of church treasurer Mary E. Shepard, 71, the victim of a brutal 2009 beating at the hands of a thug with a long criminal record. Under Illinois law, Mrs. Shepard would face felony charges were she to carry a handgun to prevent such an attack in the future. Mrs. Shepard can protect herself in Florida and Pennsylvania, where she has received concealed-carry permits, but she is denied the same right in her home state of Illinois. The SAF suit was filed on behalf of Michael Moore, 60. Earlier in his career, Mr. Moore was a deputy sheriff and could legally carry firearms while off-duty. As the current superintendent of the Champaign County Jail, Mr. Moore can no longer do so.

Both cases make essentially the same argument: No state may completely prohibit the bearing of arms as Illinois has done. …