Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Foster Parent Gun Ban to Move Forward

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

A federal district court judge in Michigan ruled this week that a Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) can move forward.

On July 18, 2017, Breitbart News reported that SAF had filed suit against MDHHS, claiming William and Jill Johnson–who were trying to secure custody of their grandson William–were reportedly told to hand over the serial numbers for every gun in their home in order to complete the process. William claimed the caseworker said, “If you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.”

Upon filing the suit, SAF commented:

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.

Michigan Radio reports that the state of Michigan sought to have the case dismissed, but Judge Paul Maloney “agreed the parents have a plausible claim and denied the state’s motion.”

Maloney said, “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.”

SAF sent a press release to Breitbart News, noting that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s filed an amicus brief in support of the Johnsons. Schuette said, “As a practical matter, when a firearm is kept in a home for self-defense, it is always ‘in use.’ Criminals never take a day off, and they never call ahead. To serve its self-defense purpose, a gun must be readily accessible whenever its owner believes he might possibly need it.”

The case is Johnson v. Lyon, No. 2:17-cv-124 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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