Sen. Casperson introduces legislation for foster parents that own firearms
LANSING — State Sens. Tom Casperson and Tonya Schuitmaker have introduced legislation focusing on the Second Amendment rights of foster parents.
A policy change by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that took effect in 2015 requires all firearms legally possessed in foster homes be locked in a gun case or stored with a trigger-lock separate from ammunition.
Under this policy, firearms cannot be carried in a holster, even by someone who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, or stored in any other safe manner.
“Adopting a child does not require you to give up your constitutionally guaranteed rights,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Thousands of families across Michigan have figured out how to safely possess firearms in the privacy of their own homes without the government telling them how to do it.”
Senate Bill 527 stemmed from a situation in Casperson’s district in which a grandfather from Ontonagon and his attempt to foster his grandchild.
“This man is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and legally holds a concealed pistol license in the state of Michigan,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “The department has no authority to force someone to give up their constitutional rights.”
Both legislators pointed out that a very large percentage of Michigan’s law-abiding citizens carry or otherwise safely store firearms within their homes for self-defense.
“A gun that is locked up without ammunition does no good if someone breaks into the home,” Schuitmaker said. “The department is essentially telling residents that they can’t be trusted and they need the government to watch over them.”
Casperson added that Michigan should be doing more to assist parents looking to adopt, not asking them to forego their rights as Americans.
“Government officials are telling a law-abiding citizen that he needs to forego some of his constitutional rights in order to care for a family member, and if he doesn’t, the child will be removed from his custody. This is absolutely insane,” Casperson said.
“We should be encouraging people to adopt and give children a stable home. Telling them they have to give up rights in order to do so puts one more unnecessary roadblock in the way, hurts families and is blatantly unconstitutional.”
SB 527 would codify in state statute the rights of lawful gun owners to possess their firearms in a foster home. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services.