The case was filed more than a year ago in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division. Ronald G. Winbigler, a resident of Costello Terrace in Monmouth, is a physically disabled former police officer who wanted to keep a handgun in his residence for personal protection.
SAF filed the lawsuit on his behalf, and they were represented by attorney David Sigale, who noted, “People do not lose their Second Amendment rights just because they are of limited means. It is an indignity to make the waiver of constitutional rights a condition of government-subsidized housing.”
“We brought this case because it was unconscionable,” Gottlieb said, “in the wake of our victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago that a public entity in Illinois would engage in this kind of discrimination against a citizen. The WCHA has removed the lease provisions, and agreed that they were unconstitutional.”
In an order signed by District Judge Sara Darrow, plaintiffs are awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. In her ruling, however, she did not make a constitutional declaration, but only recognized that SAF and the WCHA had agreed in that issue.
“Public housing is the last place one would expect to encounter residency provisions that run counter to the Bill of Rights,” Gottlieb said. “We’re delighted that this issue has been resolved to the benefit of Mr. Winbigler and citizens like him.”