I’ve heard horror stories of kids who have to stay with foster parents. Some are absolute nightmare fuel.
But I like to believe that those horror stories represent a small minority of the foster families out there. Most, it seems to me, are people who want to open their home up to kids who need something better than the old-style orphanages where dozens of kids are packed under one roof.
That said, I get why agencies charged with protecting these kids have rules about what foster parents can and can’t do while there’s a foster child in residence. The problem is when they infringe on people’s civil liberties like in Missouri.
A Kansas City couple claims in a federal lawsuit state requirements for foster parents who own guns violate their constitutional rights.
Foster parents in Missouri are not prohibited from possessing firearms if they are otherwise legally allowed to do so. But the Missouri Department of Social Services imposes several restrictions on them, The Kansas City Star reported. The rules include storing firearms and ammunition separately, keeping firearms locked in areas inaccessible to children, and keeping firearms in a locked area in any vehicle transporting a foster child.
James and Julie Attaway, who have one foster child in their home and plan to have more, argue in their lawsuit the restrictions prevent them from possessing or carrying “loaded functional firearms.”
The Second Amendment Foundation is helping the Attaways.
David Sigale, an Illinois lawyer representing the couple, told the Southeast Missourian, “It leaves them with no actual ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.”
The problem with these rules and regulations is that they look at just one potential issue–namely, the child gaining control of the firearm and hurting or killing themselves–and fail to recognize the other side of the coin. The rules are there to prevent just one tragedy but may enable many others. In particular, by blocking the Attaways’ ability to access a firearm, they may be putting the entire family’s life at risk to home invaders.
While the odds of that are low, so are the odds of the child hurting themselves with a firearm.
Rules like this are generally the product of bureaucrats who don’t understand the multiple layers involved in owning and using firearms. Preventing accidents with children in the home is important, something I think everyone can agree on.
But the only solution isn’t to restrict people’s ability to access their guns in the case of an emergency. Especially when you essentially ban a concealed carry holder like James Attaway from actually carrying his firearm.
After all, if the gun is supposed to be locked up at all times, he can’t carry it. This despite a gun on his hip being just as inaccessible to the child as it would in a safe.
I wish the Attaways the best of luck in their lawsuit, and I hope Missouri comes to its senses quickly. There’s no reason for this kind of thing except either ignorance or maliciousness, and neither is an acceptable excuse.