Delaware Supreme Court Upholds Gun Rights for Public-Housing Tenants


In a decision issued Tuesday, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that a Wilmington public-housing authority violated the state constitution's right to keep and bear arms by forbidding public-housing tenants from carrying otherwise lawful firearms in common areas, such as in the laundry rooms of their buildings. "With the Common Area Provision in force under penalty of eviction," the opinion in Boone v. Wilmington Housing Authority declared, "reasonable, law-abiding adults become disarmed and unable to repel an intruder by force in any common living areas when the intervention of society on their behalf may be too late to prevent an injury."

The opinion rests in part on the U.S. Supreme Court's rationale in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which recognized a "core" Second Amendment right to possess a handgun in the home for purposes of self-defense. The Wilmington restriction, the Delaware Supreme Court argued, similarly undermined gun rights "by functionally disallowing armed self-defense in areas that Residents, their families, and guests may occupy as part of their living space."

The opinion in Boone v. Wilmington Housing Authority is available here.