Missouri sued over rules for foster parents who have guns

3 months 14 hours 37 minutes ago Thursday, January 17 2019 Jan 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 12:12:00 PM CST January 17, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City couple claims in a federal lawsuit that 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 reports . 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 that the restrictions prevent them from possessing or carrying "loaded functional firearms."

The Attaways say they fear losing their foster son if they don't comply with restrictions. The nonprofit Second Amendment Foundation joined the Attaways in the lawsuit.

"It leaves them with no actual ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights," said David Sigale, an Illinois lawyer representing the couple. He said similar lawsuits have been filed in Michigan and Illinois.

"Members of SAF who are foster parents in Missouri would possess and carry loaded and functional concealed handguns in public for self-defense, but refrain from doing so because they fear their foster children being taken away from them by the state, and/or being prohibited from being foster parents in the future," the lawsuit states.

The Attaways are legally allowed to own firearms under Missouri law, and James Attaway has a concealed carry permit.

They are seeking an injunction preventing the state agency from enforcing the regulations. They also want the regulations declared null and void.

Spokeswoman Rebecca Woefel said Wednesday the Department of Social Services doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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