SAF Lawsuit Challenging Michigan Foster Parents ‘Safe Storage’ Requirement Allowed to Proceed

Second Amendment Foundation Michigan DHHS

Press release:

FEDERAL JUDGE ALLOWS SAF LAWSUIT TO PROCEED AGAINST MICHIGAN DHHS

BELLEVUE, WA – A federal district court judge in Michigan has allowed a Second Amendment Foundation lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to move forward, challenging the agency’s requirement that foster parents keep firearms and ammunition locked up, so as not to be immediately accessible, and thus useless for self-defense.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney issued the ruling in a case involving William and Jill Johnson and Brian and Naomi Mason, all of Ontonagon. While the judge dismissed claims from the Masons, he allowed the Johnsons to continue. The judge dismissed a motion by the state to dismiss the case.

In deciding that the Johnsons have a plausible case, Judge Maloney observed, “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.”

The Johnsons’ case got support from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who filed an amicus brief on their behalf. “As a practical matter, when a firearm is kept in a home for self-defense, it is always ‘in use’,” he wrote. “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.”

“We are delighted that Judge Maloney and Attorney General Schuette expressed such common sense perspectives,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This case is really all about common sense, as well as the right of citizens to be able to defend themselves and their homes and families.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve had to challenge such a requirement by a state agency,” Gottlieb added. “We look forward to continuing the case.”

The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

comments

  1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Let me get this straight:

    The judge dismissed a motion by [Michigan] to dismiss [Johnson’s] case.

    and then we have

    … Johnsons’ case got support from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who filed an amicus brief on their behalf.

    So, the Michigan Attorney General files an amicus brief against the case when he could simply direct his underlings to STOP harassing the foster parents.

    Either the Attorney General is:
    (a) Feckless for refusing to direct his employees to stop doing something that he considers unjust.
    — or —
    (b) He is exceedingly clever for allowing the case to proceed and set permanent precedent when the foster families prevail.

    Anyone else care to weigh-in on this apparent conundrum???

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      At any time it is necessary to discern the motives or thinking of any elected official’s nonsensical behavior, it is often safest to assume “fecklessness”.
      🤠

    2. avatar FedUp says:

      Schuette can’t instruct the Department of (in)Human Services to stop violating anybody’s rights, from what I’ve seen, nobody can, not even the courts.

      But it puts him in a strange situation when somebody sues the state for something the state is just plain wrong on. And it looks like conflict of interest when an assistant AG argues the case for the state while the AG files an amicus brief for the plaintiff suing the state.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        … it looks like conflict of interest when an assistant AG argues the case for the state while the AG files an amicus brief for the plaintiff suing the state.

        Um, last I checked the Attorney General IS in charge of his/her underlings and an Assistant Attorney General is an underling. Thus, the Attorney General can direct his Assistant Attorney General to NOT take the case and hang the Department of Health and Human Services out to dry.

        Saying it yet another way, let the Department of Health and Human Services hire their own defense council and pay for it out of their own budget.

  2. avatar GS650G says:

    I believe it is a separate state agency not the Michigan department of justice that has the lawsuit.
    Either way it’s crazy with so.many kids needing foster care these nimrods would come up with a rule like this.

  3. avatar Kendahl says:

    If DHS is a department of state government, it is parallel to, no subordinate to, the attorney general. He can tell them that their legal position is untenable and that he won’t waste state funds trying to defend it. It’s common for state agencies to trust the attorney general’s judgement on legal matters. If DHS is stubborn, they could appeal to the governor to order the attorney general to defend their policy. I don’t know if it would be legal for DHS to spend state money on private attorneys to defend a policy against the attorney general’s advice.

  4. avatar rt66paul says:

    And yet, the state foster care don’t see anything wrong with allowing same sex partners to foster and adopt the children under their care.

  5. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

    Look, you roll the dice so to speak mixing your own young children and guns let alone foster children. With yoyr own kids it is a process of years to teach then safety concerning guns and their use. As a gun owner, as my use has picked up over the years and my collection has expanded I realized that a safe was in order to protect my investment from possible theft. But that was because my kids were taught from the time they were very young what they could and could not do with regards to firearms in the house. No imagine for a second, you decide to open your house to some young person with dubious disciplinary training? I would be surprised if you didn’t have a safe to store your guns and ammo for safety. I’m sorry folks, but this is a no brainer. FOSTER PARENTS SHOULD BE REQUIRED AT THEIR EXPENCE TO HAVE ALL FIREARMS AND ACCESSIRIES INCLUDING AMMUNITION SECURED IN A SAFE PLACE IF YOU WANT TO FOSTER CHILDREN PERIOD. To do otherwise is insanity and any arguement against it is also insane.

    1. avatar Free Texas says:

      Sensible reply. If I were in a foster father’s shoes I would carry on my person all day, and only remove the weapon when I went to bed (placing it at my bedside or replacing it with my bedside gun and securing it), which is what I do now anyway. However, this regulation is really just another infringement and as a grownup and as a free person whose rights are supposedly secured by a constitution I would fight this. Despite what the statists in government think they don’t have more responsibility over or for the members of my family than I do and they should keep their tentacles out of my life unless there’s PC I’ve committed an actual crime. If we’re not adults in a free society then shouldn’t we just be honest and abandon our constitutional republic for the communist nanny state. Maybe we’re there already. Moreover if I’m not a responsible adult then who is, and who then can be entrusted to raise kids in any event. Why trust me with a kid if you don’t trust me with a gun.

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