In response to a Caesar Rodney Institute investigation, state lawmakers appear ready to sponsor legislation that would overturn the ban of gun ownership by residents who live in public housing units plagued with crime.
In response to a Caesar Rodney Institute investigation, state lawmakers appear willing to overturn the ban of gun ownership by residents who live in public housing units plagued with crime.
The institute's report, published Monday, Feb. 1, said all four of the state’s public housing authorities ban their residents from owning firearms despite clear protections in the Delaware Constitution, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court decisions and recent rulings by lower courts that have found similar bans to be unconstitutional.
The report went on to say that many public housing residents feel trapped in their homes because of crime in their communities, since they are prohibited from owning firearms for self-defense against the drug dealers and thugs who infest their communities.
Violating the gun ban can result in eviction.
After the report was published following a five-month investigation, the Caesar Rodney Institute was told by members of all four legislative caucuses that they would support legislation to overturn the gun bans.
“I think we should be taking a look at it,” said Sen. Joe Booth (R-Bridgeville). “I do think they have the right to protect themselves in their own household.”
Public housing authorities already face a possible lawsuit by the National Rifle Association.
In a letter to the Delaware State Housing Authority, NRA General Counsel Robert Dowlut said the Dover Housing Authority, Newark Housing Authority and Wilmington Housing Authority should voluntarily remove their prohibitions against individual firearms ownership to avoid litigation.
“The government cannot place conditions on an entitlement to a benefit, such as public housing, by requiring the tenants to surrender a constitutional right, such as the right to keep and bear arms,” Dowlut wrote.