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SAF sues over public housing gun ban in Illinois

Posted by Richard on April 5, 2012

The Second Amendment Foundation has filed another suit against yet another public housing authority that bans residents from owning firearms, this time in Warren County, Illinois:

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ronald G. Winbigler, a resident of Costello Terrace in Monmouth. Mr. Winbigler is a physically disabled former police officer who wants to have a handgun in his residence for personal protection. The lawsuit seeks equitable, declaratory and injunctive relief challenging the WCHA ban. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division.

“Ron Winbigler faces the same dilemma so many other residents of government-subsidized public housing face,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “He wants a firearm for self-defense, but he risks losing a place to live because of bureaucratic political correctness. As a police officer, he consistently trained and repeatedly qualified in the safe use and handling of firearms, and because of his experience, he understands the threat of crime.”

“People do not lose their Second Amendment rights just because they are of limited means,” added attorney David Sigale, who represents SAF and Winbigler in this action. “Nobody wishes to be in need of financial assistance, but it is an indignity to make the waiver of constitutional rights a condition of government-subsidized housing. We are confident the Courts will hold that those residents have the same right to defend their families and themselves as everyone else.”

Frankly, given the generous pensions and disability benefits unionized police officers receive in most jurisdictions, I have to wonder why Ron Winbigler resides in government-subsidized housing. But maybe his jurisdiction is different — I don’t know anything about how he came to reside there.

In any case, Winbigler is certainly a sympathetic plaintiff for this kind of case. And I agree wholeheartedly with Gottlieb (a classmate at the University of Tennessee) and Sigale. Government-subsidized housing, if it must exist, cannot require residents to give up their 2nd Amendment rights any more than it can require them to give up their 1st Amendment rights. This case, like similar cases in the past, should be a slam-dunk. Unless the judge is a Clinton or Obama appointee.

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