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Housing Authority Approves Gun Policy Over Advocate’s Objections

An attorney representing the Housing Authority of Champaign County is defending a policy allowing residents to keep guns on its property.

Joliet-based attorney Eric Hanson said the resolution is the result of much research, and carefully follows in Illinois’ new concealed carry measure.

"We've put a lot of time into researching it, and talking to the insurance company as well, and looking at the case law, and waiting for the state of Illinois to pass some legislation regardling concealed carry," he said.  "We want to make sure we knew what the law was going to be, so we didn't violated any laws," 

Its board unanimously approved the resolution over the objections of Champaign-based Guns Save Life. 

The group’s president, John Boch, said the authority’s requirement that weapons be stored in a locked box denies immediate access, and is unconstitutional. 

"It’s not convenient, it’s not readily accessible, it’s up to the owner of a firearm how to store their gun so it’s inaccessible to unauthorized persons so it’s accessible to some degree that they feel that they need to protect themselves and their family and their family from a violent act," he said.

Boch also objects to the requirement that residents provide a description of their weapon to the authority, saying the state has sole authority over gun registration with the passing concealed carry. 

He says the housing authority should brace for a legal battle on behalf of Guns Save Life and other gun-rights groups.  The policy takes effect on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the housing authority board Thursday unanimously named Reverend Larry Lewis as board chair, replacing interim chair Grant Henry. 

Margaret Neil was made chair a year ago, but it was revealed recently that she was never appointed to the board in 2009, having signed off on a number of documents.

Authority Executive Director Ed Bland declined comment as the authority considers next steps.

Categories: Law