For some time now, the East St. Louis Housing Authority has enforced a ban on the possession of firearms by residents in the government subsidized housing complex. The Housing Authority’s claim is that firearms are not required since their facilities are “safe.” That no doubt came as small consolation to a woman known in court documents only as N. Doe who had to call police on two occasions after hearing gunshots in neighboring units. After that, tragically, she was beaten and raped in her own apartment where she had been in hiding from an abusive ex-husband, with the assailant only being driven off when her children threatened to shoot the attacker.
An already terrible story gets even worse when you learn that Ms. Doe was then informed by the Housing Authority that unless she could prove that she did not have a gun in the residence she would be evicted. The Free Beacon reports this week that a lawsuit has now been filed challenging this clearly unconstitutional restriction which puts already vulnerable residents at even further risk.
A lawsuit against the East St. Louis Housing Authority over its gun ban was filed on behalf of a survivor of domestic violence in federal court on Thursday.
The lawsuit, filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and Illinois State Rifle Association, claims that the public housing authority is violating residents’ civil rights by barring them from owning firearms. The groups filed the suit on behalf of a woman referred to in court documents as N. Doe, an anonymous resident of one of the authority’s buildings. They said that resident has had to call police on multiple occasions to report nearby shootings and is a rape survivor who is currently hiding from a domestic abuser.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve had to challenge such a regulation,” Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said in a statement. “It is simply unacceptable for citizens living in public housing to be denied their basic right to have a firearm for personal protection, and in this case, it is unconscionable.”
Since this is a government policy rather than rules set up by a privately owned apartment complex, a Second Amendment case is clearly possible. Even beyond that, however, we should consider the fact that the victim in this case isn’t even arguing about the ability to carry in public (concealed or otherwise) but simply maintaining a weapon for home defense. And living in an environment where the criminals are clearly not paying attention to any gun free zone rules and being someone who has already been attacked, one might imagine that bit more sympathy for her circumstances would be in order.
If the East St. Louis Housing Authority (or any other government housing entity) is truly interested in striking a blow against gun violence, perhaps they could focus more on keeping criminals holding illegally obtained guns off their properties. If the police are being called to Auburn Terrace on a regular basis for reports of gunshots and violent crime, it stands to reason that the people who are both legal gun owners and the victims of such violence aren’t really the problem here. Whatever resources are being expended to pursue court action against the rape victim would obviously be better spent in beefing up security for the housing complex.
Just something to think about, anyway. You never know when a crazy idea like that might just work out for the best.