A lawsuit against the East St. Louis Housing Authority over its gun ban was filed on behalf of a survivor of domestic violence in federal court on Thursday.
The lawsuit, filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and Illinois State Rifle Association, claims that the public housing authority is violating residents' civil rights by barring them from owning firearms. The groups filed the suit on behalf of a woman referred to in court documents as N. Doe, an anonymous resident of one of the authority's buildings. They said that resident has had to call police on multiple occasions to report nearby shootings and is a rape survivor who is currently hiding from a domestic abuser.
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"This isn't the first time we've had to challenge such a regulation," Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said in a statement. "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."
The lawsuit alleges the gun ban is in violation of both the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.
"This situation is made even more outrageous considering what has happened to Ms. Doe while living at Auburn Terrace," Gottlieb said. "We've explained how she was beaten and raped in January 2017, 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."
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.