May 13th, 2011
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."
The NRA has also filed or supported the following cases to preserve Second Amendment freedoms across the United States since the historic Heller and McDonald rulings, and expects to file more in the coming months:
Benson v. City of Chicago, challenging Chicago's unconstitutionally burdensome handgun restrictions;
Heller v. District of Columbia (Heller II), challenging Washington, D.C.'s overly restrictive firearm registration requirements and ban on commonly owned rifles;
Jackson v. City of San Francisco, challenging that city's gun storage and ammunition regulations;
Jane Doe v. Wilmington Housing Authority, challenging prohibitions on firearms ownership in Delaware public housing;
Jennings v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, challenging the federal law that prohibits law-abiding adults between the ages of 18-20 from buying handguns from licensed dealers;
NRA v. McCraw, challenging Texas' law that bans issuance of handgun carry permits to 18-20 year old adults; and
Peruta v. City of San Diego, challenging that city's refusal to issue handgun carry permits to law-abiding applicants.
May 6th, 2011
Illinois: Right-to-Carry Fails to Reach Super-Majority Required for Passage in the State House of Representatives
House Bill 148, the Right-to-Carry bill introduced by state Representative Brandon Phelps (D-118), failed to reach the necessary 71 votes required for its passage in the Illinois House of Representatives on Thursday, May 5. Fortunately, this fight is far from over, as the bill was placed on postponed consideration. This means there is still time to try to work on legislators who claim to be pro-gun, but voted against this legislation or did not vote in Thursday.
HB 148 has been under constant attack since its inception, yet remains one of the best chances that the state has in becoming the 49th state with some form of concealed carry law. Both opponents and proponents recognized that this would be a close vote, but this setback does not mean final defeat for this legislation.
HB 148 is a straight forward Right-to-Carry bill which seeks to establish a shall-issue concealed carry permit system that would be administered by county sheriffs. This legislation would ensure that all permitees have undergone a background check and received training in the safe, lawful handling of firearms.
While the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, the Brady Campaign, Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois State Police came out against this legislation, a number of law enforcement agencies supported its passage, including the Chicago Police Lieutenants Association, the Chicago Police Sergeants' Association, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, and the Illinois Sheriffs' Association.
Anti-gunners continue to reject the idea that Illinoisans should be able to carry a firearm for self-defense, but your outspoken support and the support of those who recognize the rights of law-abiding citizens have shown that this fight will continue. Thank you to all those who contacted their legislators in support of HB 148. The NRA will continue to push this important issue until the people of Illinois are afforded the same basic rights so many enjoy.
April 9th, 2011
A number of gun bills remain on Third Reading in the House, and could be voted on at any time. In spite of attacks on House Bill 148 by retiring Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel, this Right-to-Carry bill continues to show promise and gain support. Both the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police support legalizing concealed carry.
House Bill 265 also remains on the calendar for Third Reading. This bill, introduced by state Representative John Bradley (D-117), would ensure there is a statewide standard for lawfully transporting firearms. This would eliminate a patchwork of conflicting standards that do nothing to fight crime, but serve only to ensnare otherwise law-abiding gun owners who have no idea they have crossed an imaginary boundary that has suddenly made their transportation of a firearm illegal, when moments before it was completely legal.
March 12th, 2011
On the National front
On March 9, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox sent letters to key leaders in Congress calling for hearings to examine the firearms trafficking investigations tactics employed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Those tactics have allegedly allowed firearms to fall into the hands of Mexican criminal organizations, with the knowledge of the BATFE.
In the letters sent to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and their counterparts in the U.S. Senate, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Cox wrote that the BATFE project “reportedly allowed over 2,000 firearms to be sold to individuals already linked to Mexican drug cartels. Many of those transactions were reported as suspicious by the licensed firearms dealers themselves, but BATFE reportedly encouraged them to proceed with these sales, which the dealers would otherwise have turned down.”
What a Surprise!! Natural Rights Critic Opposes Campus Carry: Sociologist and professor of international relations at Amitai Etzioni says in an opinion piece published by CNN that state legislation proposing to allow carry permit holders to carry concealed firearms on campus should be rejected, and that laws should “make guns less accessible, not more.” He adds, “The drafters of these [campus carry] bills seem to have an image of peaceful students, bent over their books, suddenly attacked by gunslingers who materialize from nowhere.” Of course, that is precisely what has happened in all of the fortunately small number of mass shootings at schools over the last few decades, leading to growing support for the right of the law-abiding to carry firearms on campus.
NPR President and VP “Resign” After VP Calls Gun Owners “Seriously Racist”: Speaking of people who believe they are smarter than the masses, Fox News videotape telling people posing as prospective NPR donors that the Tea Party movement is made up of “weird, evangelical . . . . white, middle-America, gun toting” people who are “seriously racist.” Ron Schiller added that the thing that he is “most disturbed and disappointed by in this country” is that “the educated, so-called elite in this country is too small a percentage of the population.”
“Assault Weapons” Ban up for Third Reading in the House! Once again, anti-gun legislators in Springfield are threatening law-abiding gun owners across Illinois with an attack on the Second Amendment. House Bill 1294, a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” is currently set for Third Reading in the state House of Representatives and could be taken up at any time. Please contact your state Representative TODAY and urge him or her to stand up for your Second Amendment rights and oppose HB 1294 when it comes up for a vote. This legislation is a direct attack on law-abiding gun owners and your opposition needs to be heard!
A Number of Second Amendment-Related Bills Seeing Action! As the 2011 legislative session continues in Springfield, a number of firearm-related bills have recently been considered. Only one pro-gun bill of note though –House Bill 148- has been on the move. This bill to establish a Right-to-Carry permit system recently passed out of committee and action is expected on the House floor in the near future. The House has also taken action on five anti-gun bills, including legislation to ban standard size magazines, as well as a bill to ban private firearm transfers. For more information on all of the bills expected to be considered in the House, please click here. In the meantime, please be sure to contact your state Representative and urge him or her to support HB 148, and oppose HB 203, HB 1296, and HB 1461.
To locate your state Representative’s contact information please click here.
March 7th, 2011
Bob Scott is our guest blogger. Bob and I started hunting deer together in the Upper Peninsula nearly 30 years ago. We both were raw with a lot to learn. Today, Bob lives in Nebraska.
There are so many good reasons to take up whitetail deer hunting.