BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) on behalf of two state residents whose civil rights have been deprived under color of law because agency rules prohibit them from acting as foster parents while legally possessing functional firearms for personal protection.
At issue are the rights of Stephen and Krista Pursley. They have been foster parents to 34 children in Oklahoma, providing these youngsters with a stable environment. However, OKDHS “completely prohibits foster and adoptive parents…from the possession of firearms for the purpose of self-defense,” the lawsuit alleges.
For almost two years, OKDHS has issued a form to prospective foster and adoptive parents titled Weapon Safety Agreement for Foster or Adoptive Family (“WSA”). It prevents the carrying of firearms in the child’s presence “unless the employment of foster/adoptive applicant or parent requires when on-duty.”
“This mandate for foster parents is not just restrictive, it’s ridiculous,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Why should a foster parent be stripped of his or her right to self-defense, or their ability to defend their foster child, simply to appease some bureaucrat’s anti-gun philosophy?
“We’re in a new era, when people not only must be concerned with violent crime, but also acts of urban terrorism,” he added. “How would it look for Oklahoma if foster children came to some harm because OKDHS regulations disarmed their foster parents? We’re asking for an injunction against this requirement because it puts foster families at serious risk while denying parents of their constitutional rights.”
“It is completely unconstitutional, and unfair,” said attorney David G. Sigale, who is representing the plaintiffs, “that those persons who are providing a better life and environment for children, through the State’s DHS foster care and adoption process, would have to give up the fundamental rights of self-defense and defense of family in order to do so. If one is in compliance with federal law and the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, the DHS is not allowed to discriminate against those who foster and adopt through the State programs. The DHS’s policy that severely restricts the firearm possession of these good people must be struck down.”
SAF and the Pursleys are represented by attorneys David G. Sigale at David G. Sigale P.C. of Glen Ellyn, Illinois and Jason A. Reese at Meyer, Leonard & Edinger, PLLC of Oklahoma City.