Can You Ban Guns at Your Site?

Can You Ban Guns at Your Site?



Each week, gun-related violence makes headlines, followed shortly by hotly contested debates on gun control. The right to bear arms as defined by the U.S. Constitution, as well as by many state constitutions, has and remains an issue that divides individuals, businesses, communities, and politicians, and has wide-reaching implications for residential communities. To protect residents and avoid gun violence on your property, can you legally set a policy that bans guns at your site without violating the constitutional rights of the individuals who live there?

The answer may depend upon the state where you live and whether your site belongs to a public housing authority (PHA) or a private landlord.

A private property owner accepting Housing Choice Vouchers can institute a gun policy according to federal and state laws. However, there have been cases recently where residents of PHAs have successfully sued for the right to own and keep a gun in their residential units. In the 2014 case of Doe vs. The Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA), Delaware’s highest court ruled in favor of an individual’s right to possess a gun in his unit, but upheld a ban in the public areas of the site. In its decision, the court ruled in favor of the WHA that the common areas are distinct from the residents’ units and can be regulated by the PHA. If you work for a PHA, speak with your attorney about what your policy can include as well as banning guns in common areas.

For five tips that will help you comply with federal and state laws when implementing a policy to prohibit or restrict guns at your site, see “What to Know Before Setting a Gun Policy at Your Site,” available to subscribers here.

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Each week, gun-related violence makes headlines, followed shortly by hotly contested debates on gun control. The right to bear arms as defined by the U.S. Constitution, as well as by many state constitutions, has and remains an issue that divides individuals, businesses, communities, and politicians, and has wide-reaching implications for residential communities. To protect residents and avoid gun violence on your property, can you legally set a policy that bans guns at your site without violating the constitutional rights of the individuals who live there?

The answer may depend upon the state where you live and whether your site belongs to a public housing authority (PHA) or a private landlord.

A private property owner accepting Housing Choice Vouchers can institute a gun policy according to federal and state laws. However, there have been cases recently where residents of PHAs have successfully sued for the right to own and keep a gun in their residential units. In the 2014 case of Doe vs. The Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA), Delaware’s highest court ruled in favor of an individual’s right to possess a gun in his unit, but upheld a ban in the public areas of the site. In its decision, the court ruled in favor of the WHA that the common areas are distinct from the residents’ units and can be regulated by the PHA. If you work for a PHA, speak with your attorney about what your policy can include as well as banning guns in common areas.

For five tips that will help you comply with federal and state laws when implementing a policy to prohibit or restrict guns at your site, see “What to Know Before Setting a Gun Policy at Your Site,” available to subscribers here.

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