Michigan:  Do Adoptive Parents Have to Forfeit Second Amendment Rights?

Does a Michigan concealed pistol permit disqualify people as adoptive parents?

A federal lawsuit has been filed in Michigan, alleging that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) violated the Second Amendment rights of potential foster parents.

According to FoxNews.com, “Caseworkers from MDHHS and a county judge told William Johnson of Ontonagon, Mich., that he had to choose between his Second Amendment rights and fostering his grandson, according to a complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The 54-year-old Johnson is a retired, disabled Marine with a Michigan Concealed Pistol License.”

Initially, MDHHS asked Johnson and his wife to foster their grandson. When they arrived at MDHHS offices, “Johnson said he was searched for a firearm and, although he was not carrying a gun, officials demanded to see his concealed carry license. He was then told he would need to give MDHHS the serial numbers of all of his firearms, including rifles and shotguns, and register them with the agency.”

When Johnson asked why he had to register his firearms, he said that “he was told by one caseworker, ‘if you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.’”

The lawsuit alleges that a county judge also told Johnson much the same thing when he and his wife appeared for a custody hearing. 

On the MDHHS website, there is no mention of firearms in its document “Adopting A Child In Michigan,” on its “Frequently Asked Questions” page, or under the heading of “Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Applicants.” 

The closest we could find to a firearms refence and adoption on the MDHHS site concerning adoption had to do with a form entitled, “INITIAL FOSTER/ADOPTION HOME EVALUATION,” (CWL-3130_527684_7), which in part reads:

“If there are weapons in the home, specify what they are, where they are stored and how they are secured. Document all weapons (rifles, handguns, bow and arrows, air/paint guns, etc.), registrations, trigger locks/inoperable and storage. Weapons must be inoperable and locked in a place separate from ammunition or stored in a locked gun safe.”

The lawsuit is not referenced in the MDHHS website’s “Newsroom,” and a web search finds no MDHHS officials on the record disputing the reported situation or defending the alleged actions.

The lawsuit was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), a gun rights group located in Washington state, alleging civil rights violations under color of law for enforcing restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of people who want to be foster or adoptive parents. SAF was joined in the lawsuit by Michigan residents William and Jill Johnson and Brian and Naomi Mason. — Brian McCombie, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield® blog