Mary Shepard had concealed carry permits from two states — but no gun — when a robber broke into the First Baptist Church in Anna, Ill., south of Carbondale, one September afternoon in 2009.
He beat Shepard, the 69-year-old congregation secretary-treasurer, and another woman nearly to death.
The attacker went to prison. Shepard, joined by the Illinois State Rifle Association, went to court.
U.S. District Judge William D. Stiehl, based in East St. Louis, rejected her attempt to nullify the Illinois law against carrying guns, finding that “bearing of a firearm outside the home is not a core right protected by the Second Amendment.” Michael Moore, superintendent of the Champaign County Jail and lead plaintiff in a similar challenge in the federal court based at Springfield, got a similar result.
But a surprise ruling on a combined appeal of the cases achieved Tuesday what years of politicking had not: By finding for Shepard and Moore, it turned Illinois into a gun-carry state.