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New Law, New Claim: Concealed Carry Challenge is Moot

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on July 29, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Two weeks ago, we posted about Mary Shepard, the 69-year old gun-toting woman who challenged Illinois’s concealed carry law. She, together with the Illinois State Rifle Association, was successful in her challenge, and as a result, Illinois was the last state to deem bans on concealed carry a violation of the Second Amendment.

The Seventh Circuit stayed the mandate for 180 days, giving the Illinois state legislature time to enact a new law that complied with its ruling. After a 30 day extension, the Illinois legislature passed the Firearms Concealed Carry Act. In what was proving to be a volatile issue, Illinois State Governor Quinn vetoed the act, which the Illinois General Assembly quickly overrode.

According to Shepard and the Illinois State Rifle Association, passage of the law was not enough. The time limits imposed by the Firearms Concealed Carry Act to allow the state to implement an application process and training program (180 days) plus 90 days to process applications, was a continued ban on the right to concealed carry. They argued that the new act does not comply with the Seventh Circuit's ruling because they are not permitted to concealed carry immediately.

In an eleven-page ruling, Judge Stiehl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois stated that plaintiffs' claim was moot. He reiterated established Supreme Court precedent that stated "the general rule that repeal, expiration, or significant amendment to challenged legislation end the ongoing controversy and renders moot a plaintiff's request for injunctive relief.'

He went on to state that since the plaintiffs are raising a new issue, with the new law, that they would need to file a new lawsuit to determine whether the length of the implementation of the permitting process is constitutionally reasonable.

The AP Reports that there is no word if Shepard or the Illinois State Rifle Association plan to file a new lawsuit. With the court giving the parties fourteen days to brief the issue of awarding costs and fees, it would be surprising to see Shepard or the Rifle Association initiating a new action without knowing who will be awarded fees. Furthermore, with the amount of time to research and file a new lawsuit, the new issue may be moot -- again -- by the time it reaches the court for decision.

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