Following a fatal shooting of an innocent bystander at one of its properties, the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) has announced a zero-tolerance policy on gun ownership within its projects.
Michael Lundy, President/CEO of HABD, told the Board of Commissioners that he would impose and enforce the ban within the agency’s 5,000 units through a new provision in the lease agreements. He added that the authority would coordinate a gun “buyback” event to help promote the idea.
Lundy is unfazed that his approach is a potential violation of the 2nd Amendment or that the courts have generally ruled against such restriction on guns in common areas in public housing. For example, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled against such restrictions. Then on March 18, 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that sections of the Wilmington Housing Authority’s lease policy in regards to firearms were in violation of the Second Amendment.
Other states have also tried to address this issue. Georgia prohibits such bans following the passage of the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014. It is illegal in Virginia to include gun bans in public housing leases. Whereas in Tennessee in 2009, the Attorney General issued an opinion that landlords can ban their tenants from bringing firearms into their property, even if they have handgun carry permits.
The federal government does not address firearms in public housing it administers through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Undeterred by the potential legal battle, Lundy intends to push forward with his plan.