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Apartment residents asking for exception to firearm ban after sexual assault incident

(source: KCBD video) (source: KCBD video)

The recent sexual assault incident at The Village at Overton Park has residents looking for ways to protect themselves, but leases for the complex have a provision prohibiting weapons.

We obtained a copy of a lease from an anonymous resident.

There are two parts: the lease agreement and an additional Apartment Rules and Regulations section that contains the provision against weapons.

The Apartment Rules and Regulations exhibit states that residents and guests cannot possess a weapon, discharge a firearm in the Apartment Community, or display a firearm, BB gun, pellet gun, any other air powered weapon, knife or other weapon in the Apartment Community in a threatening manner.

But following this incident, this resident says he wishes the complex would allow residents to protect themselves, claiming management told him over the phone that having a firearm on the property, licensed or not, is grounds for eviction.

The resident says he fully read the lease before signing, and knew the provision was in there.

But he says when he signed several years back, security wasn't an issue like it is now.

But does this term violate the 2nd Amendment?

According to local attorney, Michael Uryasz, it would not.

"Generally your second amendment rights, under the United States Constitution, pertains to the Government's infringement on your right to bear arms, for example. It doesn't necessarily apply to private citizens. A lot of times, these apartment complexes are privately owned. So a property owner may, to a certain extent, do as they want, with their property. So these private property owners may restrict, especially if they have a tenant or someone, from doing something on their land they don't want to be done. One of which could be possessing a weapon," Uryasz said.

And what about the Castle Doctrine?

Uryasz says it's a different story when you are not the property owner.

"The difference being, in these particular instances, is that the apartment complexes are the property and you pay to lease that area. And part of it, again, it goes back to the contract. You are agreeing to a specific set of terms here, and if one of those terms are, or is, you cannot possess a weapon on the property, then you cannot possess a weapon on the property," he said.

But he says the complex does have a certain obligation to keep residents safe.

"If you're invited into someone's property, you are afforded a certain level of protection, at least if you're a tenant, for example. The apartment complex needs to take reasonable steps and watch out for their tenants and make sure they're safe and provide a good place to live. So if something like this does happen on their premises, they could potentially be liable," Uryasz said.

The resident we spoke with also said the complex hasn't had a courtesy officer for the last two years, leading to other concerns.

We called and emailed the corporate office for the complex, American Campus Communities, to get some answers about these safety issues, but have not heard from them regarding those questions as of Thursday night.

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