I’m not a fan of Home Owners Associations or HOAs. I get where they can do a certain degree of good, so long as everyone is on board with what the HOA is going to do.
The problem is that a lot of people move into an area and are suddenly subjected to a whole list of rules over what they can and can’t do. Sometimes, the HOA has good sense and the list is mostly stuff you should probably do anyway, such as keeping your grass cut.
Yet we’ve all seen what happens when the neighborhood Karens get worked up. They become petty tyrants who will tell you exactly what kind of fence you can have for your backyard and what colors you can and can’t paint your house.
And, it seems that at least one HOA wants to decide if you can even own a gun.
Q: Our homeowners’ association is considering banning guns everywhere in the community, including in the residents’ homes. Many of the residents are upset about this, while others are in favor of it. Is the association even able to enact this rule? — Margie
The question was answered by an attorney who specializes in real estate. His take on Second Amendment issues may or may not be relevant, so keep that in mind.
A: This is the type of question that attorneys will disagree about. In my opinion, enacting this rule would overstep the board’s authority and not be enforceable.
Without getting into the politics of firearm ownership, the law is well-settled that people can keep firearms in their homes.
The Supreme Court sees the right to keep a gun in your home for self-defense as a fundamental right. Your association cannot put other restrictions, such as requiring guns to be kept unloaded, since “[t]his makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional,” as stated by Justice Scalia in the landmark Heller case on the issue. If someone can legally own a firearm, the association cannot restrict them from keeping the gun in their home.
There are other aspects of this discussion, including whether an HOA can ban guns in common areas the HOA controls such as, say, a clubhouse or something.
While I personally think that they shouldn’t, I don’t know that the law says they can’t. That would be something for the courts to settle.
The thing that gets me here is that there’s an HOA that is reportedly even considering trying to ban what you have inside of your home.
As bad as the Karens telling you that you can’t paint your shutters a particular shade of blue can be, that’s at least outside of your house where literally anyone can see it. The argument that it would impact potential homebuyers and, by extension, home values in the neighborhood at least makes some kind of sense as to why they think they should get a say.
But what I have inside of my house isn’t anyone’s business.
Is an HOA going to restrict how big a TV I can have? Or how many computers? Are they going to get a say in whether I paint my walls or apply wallpaper?
No? Then they don’t get a say in whether or not I own a firearm. My rights don’t disappear because the neighborhood tyrants think they can tread where the federal government can’t.
With all that said, we don’t really know if this is happening. It’s possible this is someone who is presenting it as something that’s happening when they just want their curiosity appeased. If it is, though, Karen needs to get used to disappointment.