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Press release:

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against the Warren County, Illinois Housing Authority, seeking an injunction against the WCHA’s ban on personally-owned firearms by residents of government-subsidized housing. 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.”

“It is astonishing that in Illinois of all places, government entities would continue to interfere with the Second Amendment rights of citizens, after our Supreme Court victory in the McDonald case almost two years ago,” Gottlieb said. “That case nullified Chicago’s handgun ban and extended Second Amendment protections against infringement by state and local governments and their agencies. Mr. Winbigler and people like him deserve the full protection of the Constitution, especially if they live in subsidized public housing.”

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    • The same way in that some animals are more equal than others (which you apparently endorse), it would appear that some animals can be less equal than others.

      Cop or no cop (and seriously, wtf should it matter?), nobody’s 2A rights should be curtailed for any reason, save mental defect. IMHO, even convicted felons should be able to reclaim their rights once they have paid their debt to society.

      • Yes but violent felons should just be put down. You don’t bring a dog that has bitten someone back into the house.

        • Even violent felons are tried, convicted, sentenced, and eventually repay their debts to society. Robbers, rapists, arsonists and the like.

          There are exceptions to that, of course. I presume that those are the people you’re referring to – those whose violent crimes are so heinous that they remain incarcerated for life with zero chance of ever being released. In this category are the serial- and spree-killers, cannibals and such.

          I’d be forced to agree with you in those terms.

  1. I believe everyone who has a clean record or no violent history should have the right to bare arms if not everyone freedom to protect yourself & families is a must since its seems like almost all the time the police either get the late or after the crime happens

  2. This is a great issue, and I’m glad The Second Ammendment Foundation is going after it. I’m contstantly grinding the axe that 2A isn’t just for us well-off white dudes in the ‘burbs (okay, I’m white and I live in the ‘burbs, lately, and I’d like to be well-off).

    Not sure if TTAG has addressed the case of Kenneth Chamberlain,

    former Marine and corrections officer killed by White Plains cops. It’s an ugly, ugly case, and bears scrutiny. I wonder if those cops knew that people in public housing could be armed if they would have behaved differently, or would it be even worse, bringing in SWAT to every cat stuck in a tree. I’ve spent a small amount of time in Westchester County, and it did not strike me as a friendly, tolerant place.

    • Lived in Westchester all my life… White Plains is a pretty decent place to live – very diverse in ethnicity and affluence. Parts of the county are a bit snooty – Rye and Bedford/Chappaqua come to mind. But the Rivertowns like Irvington and Hastings On Hudson are pretty down-to-earth and laid back – small town friendliness in spades. The area where the Chamberlain shooting took place is one of only two dodgy areas in town. They’re literally 2-3 square blocks in size and aren’t even all that unsafe.
      I’m not sure what to make of the Kenneth Chamberlain situation – White Plains cops aren’t known to be particularly trigger-happy – in my dealings with them they’ve been polite and professional. Perhaps there was some sort of perceived threat against the officers, but hopefully the truth will come out.
      There was a “friendly fire” incident in WP a couple of years ago in which a black off-duty officer was grappling with a homeless man and was shot and killed by County cops because at the moment of contact, he was the one with the gun (homeless guy tried to take it from him).
      Make of this what you wish – I suppose we all have some sort of bias towad our hometowns.

  3. Kind of running amok with other important stories unrelated to the OP. Some detail missing in the lead story, but I suspect that what happened is not that the plaintiff lost his right to possess a firearm by some operation of law, but as a result of the conditions of residing in public housing, i.e., as a requirement of his lease. I could have sworn that this issue was previously litigated in another state and the ban on possession of firearms held unconstitutional. Ralph will probably know.

  4. “It is astonishing that in Illinois of all places, government entities would continue to interfere with the Second Amendment rights of citizens, after our Supreme Court victory in the McDonald case almost two years ago,”

    I am not astonished at all. Business as usual.

  5. I am a resident of Illinois, a gunowner, and an employee of a small housing authority. I certainly support Mr. Winbigler’s right to own a weapon for personal defense. This issue of banning guns in public housing did not originate with the individual housing authorities. This is a requirement forced upon the housing authorities and residents by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In order to maintain funding from HUD, the housing officials must have a clause in every lease advising residents that possessing ANY weapons (to include bows, large knives & swords, tasers, etc.) on housing property is a violation of their lease and is cause for eviction. HUD is the bad guy in this matter.


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