East St. Louis public housing residents can own firearms and stay in their residential homes once again, a federal judge ruled last week. U.S. District Court Judge Phil Gilbert said the East St. Louis Housing Authority overstepped its authority in denying tenants their Second Amendment right to own functioning firearms while living in their subsidized homes.
“The Second Amendment protects the rights of a law-abiding individual to possess functional firearms in his or her home for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense and defense of family,” Gilbert wrote in his ruling.
The case arose from the East St. Louis Housing Authority threatening to evict a woman if she continued to keep a lawfully owned firearm in her home. The woman’s son had used the firearm in question to stop an offender who wouldn’t leave after violently assault and raping the mother in the home.
The woman, identified in court papers only as N. Doe, endured a lengthy and violent attack and sexual assault. Only after it became apparent the attacker would not stop or leave the home, did the woman’s children threaten the attacker with a gun. No reports indicate the attacker was shot, or that a shot was fired at all.
Yet, because the woman had the audacity to lawfully own a firearm in a home subsidized with taxpayer dollars, the East St. Louis Housing Authority says she couldn’t live there anymore. Apparently, it has no problem with rapists and other violent felons, though. It only has a problem with people who would exercise their Constitutional right to own and bear arms for personal protection – even in the home.
The woman has a valid Illinois FOID card and lawfully owned the firearm that quite possibly saved her life. In East St. Louis, local officials think that is bad, apparently. Instead of helping the woman secure her home against further attacks and thanking her young son for standing up to a violent offender, the East St. Louis Housing Authority attempted to evict her for possessing firearms on the publicly administered properties.
The housing authority told her she would have to prove she no longer has the firearm in her home, or it would terminate her lease and evict her from the home.
Incredibly, officials with the housing authority declared the building where she was sexually assaulted to be safe, so no guns are needed. The lease terms, as determined by the housing authority, state that is a violation for the woman, or anyone else, to display, use or possess functioning or non-functioning firearms, or allow anyone else to do so on the property controlled by the housing authority. That means no firearms for self-defense, no firearms for hunting, and not so much as a display of a non-functioning antique rifle or pistol on a wall – not even a non-functioning black powder rifle. Fortunately, Judge Gilbert found the rule violates the Second Amendment.
The lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs the Illinois State Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, with N. Doe listed as a co-plaintiff and on her behalf. The plaintiffs argued bans on firearms—even in government-subsidized housing—amounts to a violation of the Second Amendment.
In the case of N. Doe, she not only suffered a violent sexual assault, she also has a restraining order against a former boyfriend who has make apparent threats of great bodily harm. Yet, even with very real reason to fear for her safety, the East St. Louis Housing Authority prefers she stay vulnerable to attack and nearly incapable of defending her life against violent sexual assault, rape and potentially worse.
The lawsuit did not address a massively blatant issue of race in the East St. Louis Housing Authority’s actions. East St. Louis is about 96 percent black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Whenever a state or local unit enacts voter ID laws to minimize potential voter fraud, liberal organizations, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), cite a disproportionate impact on minorities as proof the laws violate people’s civil rights. Yet, in the case of the Second Amendment, the traditionally liberal ACLU almost always remains silent when the laws impact people of virtually one race – and decidedly low-income folk at that.
So, when herded into housing projects controlled by liberal entities, the Second Amendment and common-sense safety measures, such as enabling the most effective form of self-defense, take a back seat to ideology. That ideology, though, does not necessarily reflect the real world.
Reality, in the case of N. Doe, suggests anti-gun liberals prefer the company of rapists and thugs to law-abiding people who only want to defend their lives, their homes and their families.