Michigan Couples Sue to Protect Foster/Adoptive Parents’ Rights
Russ Chastain 07.18.17
In Michigan, fostering or adopting a child opens a door for government negation of parents’ civil rights, and two couples are suing in an attempt to curb it.
William and Jill Johnson were reportedly asked by state officials to care for their grandson as foster parents, but before they were allowed to take custody of him, William (a CCW licensee and disabled veteran) was searched and told that he must provide them with serial numbers for each and every one of his guns.
When he questioned this, the caseworkers allegedly told him, ‘if you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.’
As if this was not outrageous enough, a County Judge even backed up the invasive policy:
Two weeks later, the lawsuit alleges, a Gogebic County Court judge told the Johnsons that if they wanted their grandson placed in their care, ‘We know we are violating numerous constitutional rights here, but if you do not comply, we will remove the boy from your home.’
What a country — where the government steals your rights, publicly acknowledges it, and threatens you with punishment if you refuse to knuckle under.
Well, the Johnsons and another couple (who are joining forces with them because they wish to become foster parents but also wish to retain their rights to effective self-defense) have filed a complaint together with the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Not About Safe Storage
A colleague looked at this story and concluded that it’s about keeping firearms secured, so why argue against that? Well for one thing, an empty gun that’s locked in a safe doesn’t do you any good when you need to defend yourself–and defend your family, including foster children–in a hurry.
Even beyond that, it’s about a government that says yeah, okay, we are stomping on your rights… but who’s gonna stop us?
4. Plaintiffs seek to establish that the recognition and incorporation of the Second Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses, renders the State’s ban on the possession and bearing of firearms by foster and adoptive parents, and would-be foster and adoptive parents, unconstitutional. As the Plaintiffs only seek to be treated the same as other law-abiding Michigan residents, the Second and Fourteenth Amendments render a ban such as that challenged in this action, impermissible.
And back to firearm storage. Michigan state guidelines for adoption and foster care classify firearms as “hazardous materials”(!) and dictate that:
Firearms are subject to the following conditions:
(a) Stored in a locked metal or solid wood gun safe or
(b) Trigger-locked and stored without ammunition in a locked area.
(c) Ammunition shall be stored in a separate locked location.
(d) A handgun shall be registered. Documentation of the registration of the handgun shall be available for review.
That is absolutely ridiculous. How can anyone hope to defend against a home invasion, burglary, robbery, etc if one’s guns are locked up, especially if those guns are empty and the ammo is locked up someplace else? It’s preposterous, and the complaint says as much:
5. This action is not about the issue of ‘safe storage’ laws generally, but only insofar as the State’s requirements and restrictions prohibit foster and adoptive parents, and those who would be foster or adoptive parents, from the possession and bearing of readily-available firearms for the purpose of self-defense, both in and out of their homes.
You can read the entire complaint here.
‘The statements from the caseworker and judge are simply outrageous,’ said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. ‘This amounts to coercion, with a child as their bartering chip. I cannot recall ever hearing anything so offensive and egregious, and we’ve handled cases like this in the past. Blatantly telling someone they must give up their civil rights in order to care for their own grandchild is simply beyond the pale.’
SAF has a long history of helping individuals fight against governmental violations of our Constitutional rights. Here’s hoping they win this one.