I wanted to write about something more interesting and stumbled down a rabbit hole. The interesting case is the one of Hunter v. Cortland Housing Authority.

For many years, Section 8 or Public Housing Assistance leases have included a clause in the lease agreement that obligates tenants, [n]ot to display, use, or possess or allow members of Tenant’s household or guest to display, use or possess any firearms (operable or inoperable) or other weapons as defined by the laws and courts of the State of New York anywhere on the property of CHA. — CHA’s Residential Lease Agreement.

In different words, the lease requires renters to give up their Second Amendment protected rights. The right to any arms for self-defense.

Of course, we know that the bad guys have plenty of weapons in public housing.

This particular filing is to have the case dismissed for lack of standing. The CHA claims that the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.

I don’t know. I wanted to know, instead I got this:

Plaintiffs assert a violation of Second Amendment Rights based upon a provision in CHA’s Residential Lease Agreement (“RLA”) that obligates tenants “[n]ot to display, use, or possess or allow members of Tenant’s household or guest to display, use or possess any firearms (operable or inoperable) or other weapons as defined by the laws and courts of the State of New York anywhere on the property of CHA.” They mischaracterize this provision as a “categorical” or “wholesale ban” on the possession firearms on CHA property. They also attempt to expand this characterization by an apparent incongruity, wherein Plaintiffs attempt to utilize their status as low income to infer CHA’s lease restriction also inhibits ownership of any firearm. Plaintiffs frame their arguments by reducing the complex and unique nature of a public housing development to an overly broad and simplistic premise of a governmental entity regulating firearms within an individual’s household. Further, they mistakenly assert that this action is the equivalent to N. Doe v. East St. Louis Housing Authority, No. 3:18-cv-545 (SD Ill Mar 7, 2018) to justify the extreme remedy of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

In doing so, Plaintiffs ignore the distinctive and intricate interests involved regulating activities in public housing developments. Public housing authorities (“PHAs”) are created under state laws s to provide affordable housing for low-income households. In New York, they are expressly formed to accomplish the goals set forth in Article XVIII of New York’s Constitution. However, PHAs receive funding from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) while also being held to the same standard as a private landlord as they are not considered to be a municipal subdivision of the state and distinct from the municipality for which they were formed by the New York Legislature. PHAs, such as CHA, are state-created, federally funded, and locally administered entities. Further, they are obligated under Federal and state law to provide “decent, safe, and sanitary conditions” to their tenants. To that end, Federal law requires PHAs to develop crime prevention plans in conjunction with local law enforcement. In addition to the foregoing governmental interests interwoven in public housing developments, there are also the property interests and liberties inherent in residential apartments and proprietary rights of a landlord. The sui generis nature of PHAs and public housing developments, and their relevantly new creation, were the type of circumstance the founding fathers could not have fathomed at the time of the signing of the Constitution. There is no equivalent entity in this nation’s history for the courts to look to for guidance in considering the balancing of the many interests at stake when a PHA regulates a person’s activities in a public housing development
No. 16: Hunter v. Cortland Housing Authority, No. 5:23-cv-01540, slip op. at 1–2 (N.D.N.Y.)

Let’s break this down.

The plaintiffs say that their Second Amendment Rights are violated because they are not allowed to display, use, or posses arms in their homes.

In response, the state argues(?) that the plaintiffs ignore how hard it is to regulate people in public housing.

The plaintiffs assert that because they are low income, they are denied the right to possess any firearm. I read into this that the full argument is that they can’t afford to safely store firearms off the property.

The state argues that doesn’t count. They could do it, that’s all that is required.

The Court employs and elaborates on the text, history, and tradition test that Heller and McDonald require for evaluating whether a government regulation infringes on the Second Amendment right to possess and carry guns for self-defense. See District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570 (2008); McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742 (2010). Applying that test, the Court correctly holds that New York’s outlier “may-issue” licensing regime for carrying handguns for self-defense violates the Second Amendment.
New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. V. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (U.S. 2022) Kavanaugh, concurring.

The state filed that steaming pile on 2024/01/03. A year and a half after Bruen. 16 years after Heller. 14 years after McDonald. Yet, they believe that the plaintiffs have to prove something more than their proposed conduct is within the scope of the protections of the Second Amendment.

Is the proposed conduct within the scope of the protections of the Second Amendment?

Yes!

The burdens then shifts to the state to prove a history and tradition of analogous regulations from the time of the ratification of the Second Amendment.

It is obvious that they know this as well. The final lines, talking about how public housing is “new” so there couldn’t be any regulations in 1791, so they are allowed to infringe as much as they want.

Justice Thomas’ powerful language regarding one step too far when discussing means-end didn’t seem to register with the state when they asked the court to considering the balancing of the many interests.

The state didn’t provide a single regulation from the founding era. Not one.

Argh!!!!

Bibliography

District of Columbia v. Heller, 467 U.S. 837 (2008)
Mcdonald V. Chicago, 177 L. Ed. 2d 894 (2010)
New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. V. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (U.S. 2022)
No. 16: Hunter v. Cortland Housing Authority, No. 5:23-cv-01540 (N.D.N.Y.)
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By awa

6 thoughts on “Why yes, my eyes are a little crossed today…”
    1. I did, too.
      .
      More likely, some housing authorities got sued and had to stop prohibiting 2A rights, and it was either an “as applied” challenge (applicable only to those housing authorities) or not appealed (applicable only in that district), or both, so others aren’t necessarily required to comply.

  1. The courts below the SCOTUS have observed that there are no penalties for ignoring rulings they don’t like.
    Therefore they intend to ignore rulings they don’t like and do as they please. The Hawaii State Supreme Court is just one of the latest and most egregious examples of this reality.

  2. “The final lines, talking about how public housing is “new” so there couldn’t be any regulations in 1791, so they are allowed to infringe as much as they want.”

    “And, since television, radio, internet and telephones did not exist in 1791 there could not be any regulations considered for those either, so we can regulate the crap out of those, too. And we can ban your car, make you rip out your air conditioning, and say good-bye to air travel.”

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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