The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Michigan, challenging that state’s regulations on firearms ownership and use for anyone seeking to become a foster parent.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan against Nick Lyon “in his official capacity as director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). It alleges that the agency has violated the civil rights of four people under color of law.
SAF is joined by William and Jill Johnson and Brian and Naomi Mason, all residents of the small Upper Peninsula village of Ontonogan.
The lawsuit alleges that after the state had asked the Johnsons to be foster parents to their grandson, MDHHS caseworkers told Mr. Johnson, a 100-percent disabled Marine Corps veteran, that he would have to give the agency the serial numbers of all of his firearms. 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,” the lawsuit says.
Two weeks later, the lawsuit further asserts, 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.” Gogebic County neighbors Ontonogan County to the southwest.
Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president, said these statements “are simply outrageous.”
The lawsuit asserts that “the policy of the MDHHS, by implementing requirements and restrictions that are actually functional bans on the bearing of firearms for self-defense, both in and out of the home, completely prohibits 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. This violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.”
This is not the first time SAF has filed such a lawsuit. The organization has also challenged requirements in Oklahoma and Illinois. When SAF sued in Oklahoma, Gottlieb noted that the mandate in that state for foster parents “is not just restrictive, it’s ridiculous.”
“Why should a foster parent be stripped of his or her right to self-defense, or their ability to defend their foster child, simply to appease some bureaucrat’s anti-gun philosophy,” he wondered at the time.