By Dave Workman,
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is suing a public housing authority in the state of Illinois, challenging a prohibition on firearms in such housing, in a case that may seem like déjà vu.
Five years ago, SAF filed a similar lawsuit against the Warren County Housing Authority in a case that was known as Winbigler v. Warren County Housing Authority. This time around, SAF is joined by the Illinois State Rifle Association on behalf of a woman living in a unit operated by the East St. Louis Housing Authority (ESLHA).
SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb acknowledged that his organization has been kept rather busy by legal actions in Illinois. There was McDonald v. City of Chicago, the landmark Supreme Court case that nullified the city’s handgun ban and incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment. Then there was Ezell v. City of Chicago over the city’s hastily-drafted handgun ordinance. And there was Moore v. Madigan, which forced the state to adopt a concealed carry statute, along with a separate lawsuit by the National Rifle Association.
SAF sued the state Department of Children and Family Services on behalf of two foster parents and those who would like to be foster parents, because of an IDCFS policy that substantially prohibited them from possessing firearms for self-defense.
In this new East St. Louis case, the woman at the center of the lawsuit, identified as “N. Doe” to protect her identity and location from a violent domestic abuser, has allegedly been threatened with losing her lease because of the no-guns rule. According to the lawsuit, she was sexually assaulted on one occasion – her children had to threaten the attacker – and on two other occasions, she had to call police because of shootings in nearby residences.
“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,” Gottlieb said in a prepared statement.
Illinois was the last state to adopt a concealed carry statute. It was a stubborn holdout in an effort to prevent its citizens from joining the rest of the country, where the right to keep and bear arms is essentially recognized, though in such states as New Jersey and Maryland, it’s nearly impossible to exercise.
Gottlieb said this case shows just how outrageous this gun restriction is, primarily because of what has happened to Ms. Doe.
“She was beaten and raped in January 2017,” he noted, “and her children stopped the attack only by threatening to use a gun. On two other occasions, Ms. Doe had to call police due to shootings in nearby residences. When the housing authority threatened to terminate her lease due to the gun in her residence, they insisted that the building is safe, so she doesn’t need a gun.”
Plaintiffs are represented by Glen Ellyn, Illinois attorney David Sigale, who has worked with both organizations in the past. They are asking for an injunction against enforcement of the no-guns rule at Auburn Terrace, a public housing facility.