A Michigan man is suing the state for denying him his Second Amendment rights in order to foster his grandson. (Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images)
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A lawsuit filed in federal district court Monday accused a Michigan state agency of violating the Second Amendment rights of a grandfather asked to foster his grandson, court records show.
According to the documents, caseworkers from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and a county judge told 54-year-old William Johnson, an Ontonagon, Michigan, resident, that he would need to choose between his Second Amendment rights and fostering his grandson.
As originally reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Johnson and his wife were asked by the state to foster their grandson, so he drove to the agency to pick up the child. Upon entering the premises, the disabled Marines veteran, who has a Michigan concealed pistol license, said the state searched him for weapons.
Even when officials didn't find any weapons, they insisted that Johnson display his concealed carry license and produce the serial numbers of all his weapons so they could be registered with the Department of Health and Human Services.
When Johnson resisted, court documents allege that one caseworker told him, "if you want to care for your grandson, you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights."
The documents also allege that when Johnson objected further, MDHHS warned him that they would not engage in a power struggle.
"They then told the Johnsons that 'there would not be a power struggle, that they would just take his grandson and place him in a foster home,'" the lawsuit reads.
Johnson added that a Gogebic County judge later gave him the same ultimatum: His constitutional rights, or his grandson.
Michigan law dictates that anyone who wishes to be a foster parent must register any guns with the state along with keeping the guns unloaded and locked in a safe separate from the ammunition.
The lawsuit alleges that MDHHS violated Johnson's right to keep and bear firearms, right to equal protection and right to due process, and asks the court to clarify the issue.
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Sara Gonzales is the host of “The News & Why It Matters.”