Judge Blocks Cortland New York Ban on Guns in Public Housing

It will probably come as quite a shock to New York officials like Governor Kathy Hochul to learn that people who live in public housing have all the same civil rights that are guaranteed them by the Constitution as people who live in privately-owned homes and apartments.

The Second Amendment Foundation sued the Cortland, New York Housing Authority on behalf of its tenants whose Second Amendment rights had been violated by the CHA’s ban on gun ownership in its properties. Today, U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby found that the ban causes tenants irreparable harm and that they’re likely to prevail when the lawsuit us ultimately decided.

That being the case, he issued a TRO and a preliminary injunction preventing the Authority from enforcing its ban on firearm possession by people living in the publicly-owned housing it manages. You can read his order here.

Here’s SAF’s announcement . . .

A federal judge in New York has granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to the Second Amendment Foundation and its partners in a challenge of a public housing authority gun ban in Cortland, N.Y. The case is known as Hunter v. Cortland Housing Authority.

U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby handed down the 29-page decision, which enjoins the defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys “from, taking any action to enforce, or otherwise require any person or entity to comply with the firearms ban as set forth in the ‘Tenant’s Obligations’” in the standard lease agreement pending final resolution of the case.

SAF is joined by three public housing residents, Elmer Irwin, Doug Merrin and Robert Hunter, the latter for whom them case is named. 

“This is not the first time SAF has litigated a public housing case,” noted SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, “which have all been about the same thing, a Second Amendment violation. We have won cases in Illinois and Tennessee, and by now, it would seem that public housing authorities should have gotten the message that constitutional rights do not end at the front door. We will continue pursuing such cases as they come to our attention because people do not give up their rights simply because they live in subsidized housing.”

“No public housing authority should be allowed to simply block tenants from exercising their right to keep and bear arms,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The Bill of Rights is an all-or-nothing proposition, not a buffet from which a bureaucracy should be able to pick and choose which rights they find acceptable. We’re delighted with Judge Suddaby’s decision, which is a victory for constitutional rights everywhere.”

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