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Menomonie Housing Authority reverses course on gun ban

Menomonie (WQOW) – Menomonie residents living in public housing are now able to keep guns in their homes. It comes after a resident threatened legal action because he claimed his lease was unconstitutional.

Tom Chapin, through an attorney, wrote a letter to the Menomonie Housing Authority earlier this year, in which he threatened legal action if a requirement in his lease was not removed. That section of his lease stated that residents could not display, use or possess firearms on the premises.

Chapin is described as a veteran and safe gun owner by his attorney. He said Chapin wanted to be able to hold his guns that he uses for target practice and teaching gun safety at the duplex he lives in, which is owned by the housing authority.

The housing authority agreed to comply and signed a formal agreement September 13 to have the provision removed from all leases by April 2020. It also agreed not to enforce the rule upon any residents in the meantime.

Chapin’s attorney, Tom Kamenick with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, said that the ban infringed upon citizen’s rights.

“You don’t give up your constitutional rights when you move into public housing or when you’re taking any public benefit,” said Kamenick. “You can’t trade your right to vote for getting a welfare check, or you can’t be required to support a certain candidate in order to qualify for public housing or anything like that.”

Kamenick said this is not an isolated case. He said he’s seen several similar bans across the country.

News 18 reached out to the Menomonie Housing Authority for comment but did not receive a reply.

Mary Pautsch

Mary came to News 18 in July 2019 from Sioux City, Iowa where she graduated from Morningside College with a BA in Spanish after attending Iowa State University for 3 years.

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