Does one relinquish their rights in Michigan in order to foster a child?
Nick Lyon is having a bad week, but probably deserves it. He is now on trial for Flint’s water based woes (why Michigan ever became involved in this however is beyond me), and the department he runs is being sued for constitutional violations.
William and Jill Johnson live in Ontonagon Michigan. They wanted to take care of their grandson. They also wanted to step up and offer their home to foster other children in need. This last part put them at odds with MDHHS and along with others sharing their interest sued MDHHS director Lyon and the state of Michigan.
11. The Johnsons were asked by the State of Michigan to be foster parents to their grandchild. When Johnson and Jill and Mason went to pick up Johnson’s grandson at the MDHHS, Johnson was searched. Even though Johnson was not carrying a firearm, the MDHHS officials still demandedto see Johnson’s Concealed Pistol License. The caseworkers stated that Mr. Johnson, a 100% disabled veteran, was going to have to give them the serial numbers for all of his guns, including shotguns and rifles. When Johnson questioned the caseworkers about this, they told him: “if you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.” They then told the Johnsons that “there would not be a power struggle, that they would just take his grandson and place him in a foster home.” The MDHHS later said they had “big concerns” over Johnson exercising his Second Amendment rights and carrying a firearm. There is nothing in Johnson’s history that would warrant such concerns.
Thanks slick Rick for this pick.
Beyond the typical “I know better than you” nonsense that case workers will often exhibit, the case worker and the agency openly violated the constitutional rights of the Johnsons. The case worker freely admitted as much.
Apparently so did the judge. Though he failed to include the other defendants in the above action, (unfortunate) he did did agree that they were being denied their ability to self defend:
U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney agreed the parents have a plausible claim and denied the state’s motion to dismiss the case. In his opinion, he wrote: “Storing firearms in an inoperable condition makes them useless for the defense of hearth and home, which implicates the Second Amendment….The need for self-defense rarely comes with advance notice; it occurs spontaneously, often at times specifically chosen for the expected vulnerability of the intended victim.”
Perhaps it was with the help of Bill Schuette’s office?
The attorney General’s office filed an amicus brief in support of the Johnsons. It lays out 2 things. The common sense, and the constitutional aspects.
In this State we trust certain citizens—individuals whom the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has vetted and believes have the requisite moral fitness and good judgment—to provide a temporary haven for some of the State’s most vulnerable children. Given that we trust those individuals with the great responsibility of caring for these children, it makes sense that we would also trust them to do what we trust every other law-abiding citizen to do: exercise responsible gun ownership. Yet for the past sixteen years, the Department has required licensed foster parents to keep the firearms in their home locked away inoperably. However well intentioned, that Rule is unconstitutional.
The Rule’s requirement that firearms be kept inaccessible and inoperable prevents foster parents from exercising their right to keep and bear arms for self- defense in the home. By burdening the people, place, and activity that matter most under the Second Amendment, the Rule strikes at the heart of its protection. And that means that under District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Rule violates the United States Constitution.
We agree with the Attorney General, and applaud his effort to reign in the (anti gun) politicization of Michigan’s health agency.
Having gone through the foster parenting program classes, and graduating, only to be told that our firearms present a problem, my wife and I can relate with the Johnsons. Providing a place of refuge for those in need ought not become a trigger for the loss of rights guaranteed under the law of the land.
Or is it simply the best of intentions gone wrong?
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – CS Lewis