Let’s begin this piece is by offering a quote:
The statements from the caseworker and the judge are simply outrageous. This amounts to coercion, with a child as their bartering chip. I cannot recall ever hearing anything so offensive and egregious, and we’ve handled cases like this in the past… Blatantly telling someone they must give up their civil rights in order to care for their own grandchild is simply beyond the pale… This is a case we simply must pursue. State agencies and the people who work in those agencies simply cannot be allowed to disregard someone’s civil rights.
Thus said Alan Gottlieb, founder and the executive vice-president of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), a non-profit group that defends peoples’ right to self-defense against encroachments by the state.
Gottlieb and the SAF are sponsoring a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on behalf of William and Jill Johnson. The Johnsons are having their rights conditionally curtailed by the MDHHS after the the agency asked the couple to raise their grandson – a boy whose mother was deemed unfit to parent by the Michigan government.
As the Johnsons prepared to bring the boy into their home, they got a surprise. The government demanded that they serve up the serial numbers of any firearms they own, and implied that the guns would be seized.
And, as Bob Adelman writes for The New American:
A heated discussion ended when the social worker told Johnson, “You are going to have to give up some constitutional rights here if you want to keep that boy.”
Folks familiar with constitutional law might hear alarm bells going off, because not only is this a patent infringement of the right to keep and bear arms -- a right which the Constitution prohibits any government from infringing upon -- it falls under the category of what the U.S. Supreme Court calls “Unconstitutional Conditions.” This is a term applied to government demands – usually a curtailment of a right – of a citizen in order for that citizen to enjoy some other government “benefit.”
The most famous of these cases is the “Cabrini-Green” SCOTUS case, a late ‘80s decision in which people who wished to stay in, or move into, federally subsidized housing controlled by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) were ordered to submit to no-knock apartment searches by police looking for drugs. The Supreme Court ruled against the government, noting that, despite the government providing some kind of “benefit” of subsidized rent to the plaintiffs living in the buildings, the “authorities” could not demand that the people give up any constitutionally protected right as a condition of receiving the “benefit.”
If taken logically, this important standard should also apply to the Transportation Security Administration, which breaches the Fourth Amendment continuously, claiming that if you want to board a plane, you must submit to body pat-downs or radiation scans, as well as searches of your belongings. The argument that they are “providing a service” and that you are “voluntarily” giving up rights in exchange for the “benefit” of so-called “security” would, if viewed consistently under the precedent of “Cabrini-Green,” be seen by honest SCOTUS members as being completely bogus and an infringement of our rights – an “unconstitutional condition."
But don’t count on any such case ever reaching the SCOTUS, and don’t count on the SCOTUS members being consistent if such a case is argued before them.
In Michigan, the Johnsons are standing their ground, while their grandson is used as ransom by the tax-funded agency that supposedly protects children. Of course, one wonders how children are “protected” when those caring for them are stripped of their right to armed protection. It would seem blatantly obvious that making foster or adoptive homes “gun free” doesn’t make them safer, and leaves the people stripped of their rights in greater danger of being targeted by criminals with violent intent.
More children under the age of 14 die of accidental drowning in bathtubs each year than by accidental firearm death, so is Michigan going to require parents to register their tubs under threat of seizing their children?
The lawsuit filed by the SAF on behalf of the Johnsons states, in part:
The policy of the MDHHS [Michigan Department of Health and Human Services], 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 and readily-available firearms for the purpose of self-defense.
That statement is precisely correct. Government doesn’t make people “safer” by stripping their right to self-defense and leaving their only hope for protection in the hands of that very same inefficient and unethical government.
(Photo credit: U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Thomas Dow; licensed for re-use)
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