Oregon foster parent gun policy


July 19, 2007, 05:55 PM
This spring Oregon foster parents faced a new rule change effectivly prohibbiting them from CCW'ing.

Below I copied the news article. Fell free to let Oregon legislators know the danger of this policy. At least Rep. Krummel seems to be on the right track.


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Car Knocker
July 19, 2007, 07:02 PM
Krummel challenged the policy and it was recently retracted by DHS.

The agency is seeking public comment on new rules for certification standards through August 23rd. You can learn more about the rules on their web site: http://www.dhs.state.or.us/policy/childwelfare/drafts/2007/ii-b1.pdf or call 503-945-6897 or 503-945-5651.

July 23, 2007, 12:22 AM
The foster care system in every state need to do everything it can to bring new families into the system, not drive existing ones out. Unfortunately these regulations drives both prospective families and existing ones away.

That said, foster families that hold CCW permits need to take extra special precautions as many kids aren't just orphans or abused/neglected but juvenile offenders in the system as well (all too often it's a combo). Often times the agencies will either lie or withold information about kids they cannot place so one may not know if the new kid is an orphan or in the system for killing his siblings and setting fire to animals.

This kinda struck a chord, as just today I took a friend's foster kid shooting with me at a local indoor range. His foster family is on an activity with 2 other fosters that this kid couldn't participate in, so my wife and I are caring for him.

Despite a number of mental and emotional handicaps this kid can shoot tiny bugholes with my scoped Savage Mark 2 FVT and was the most safety conscious on the line today and it was noticed by others.

July 23, 2007, 08:51 AM
Well, I am a Foster parent, and I will quit if they try to tell me I can't carry or own firearms...

July 23, 2007, 09:44 PM
I suspect that most gun owning foster parents will, if this flies.

I wonder how they'll treat foster parents who are LEO's. There's a bunch around my area.

July 28, 2007, 02:13 PM
Pretty much not gonna happen, I think:

Foster parent gun rules shot down
Second Amendment - Oregon's child welfare agency, facing an outcry and a ruling, pulls back
Friday, July 20, 2007
The Oregonian Staff

SALEM -- Oregon's child welfare agency did not anticipate the firestorm it would create when it issued new rules regulating guns in state-certified foster homes.

Now the agency is backtracking. The National Rifle Association is on alert. And the Oregon Legislature is likely to get involved in the politically volatile matter of balancing an individual's right to have a gun vs. the state's need to protect its most vulnerable children.

For years, the state Department of Human Services has required foster parents to store firearms unloaded and ammunition locked away in a separate place. It also prohibited having a loaded gun while transporting a foster child in a car.

This year, the agency decided to do away with an exception for people with concealed-weapons permits. And that's when the trouble started.

Anyone who has attended a gun show knows that guns are part of Oregon's Western culture. An estimated 95,000 Oregonians hold concealed-weapons permits, according to the Oregon State Police. And last year, the state ran instant background checks on 145,774 people seeking to buy firearms at a gun show or from federally licensed dealers. That number does not capture gun sales between private parties.

"The right to bear arms is an equal right to the freedom of speech and religion. If we allow one right to be taken away, it is only a matter of time before the next one goes," says Talia Heath, a former foster mom who lives in Canby.

Heath, 29, says she and her husband, Aaron, spent many hours in training before becoming state-certified foster parents. They completed paperwork and shared everything about their personal lives with child-welfare workers, including the fact that each has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

The couple cared for four boys -- ranging from a newborn to an 8-year-old -- from March 2006 through January 2007.

But then the state issued the new firearms regulations.

Rather than abide, the Heaths did not renew their state foster-parent certification. "Being forced to choose between fostering children and defending my constitutional rights is a horrible position to be in and one I have considered long and hard," Talia Heath wrote to the agency.

July 28, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, would defend that point of view. "It's flawed logic," he says, "to think that if you're a hunter or a person who has applied for a concealed carry permit to defend yourself or your loved ones, that somehow you would not be a good parent or foster parent."

But Steven Green, a law professor and director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Law and Democracy at Willamette University, disputes the notion that DHS gun rules represent an unconstitutional requirement.

"There's no right to be a foster parent," he says. "People understand there may be certain conditions imposed on them that may affect a wide degree of their rights."

Still, Green suggests, the Second Amendment generates highly emotional debate, and there has been little guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court.

"People need to take a breath," he says.

Oregon doesn't have data showing how many of the 7,700 children living in the state's 5,309 state-certified foster homes have been injured or endangered by a foster parent's gun. The decision to tweak Oregon's rules wasn't prompted by any particular incident, says Kevin George, DHS foster care program manager.

"It really was just an issue of looking out for the safety of kids," George says.

Most states have rules regulating guns in foster homes. Until now, Oregon was among 27 states with specific gun-safety requirements, according to the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning at New York's Hunter College.

Although only a few foster parents objected to the state's gun rules, Rep. Jerry Krummel heard enough to declare that the rules violated state law, federal law and "the Second Amendment rights of Oregonians."

Armed with a legal opinion supporting his position, the Wilsonville Republican in April called on the DHS to rescind its rules immediately.

The agency sought an opinion from the attorney general.

Krummel was right: Only the Legislature has legal authority to regulate firearms, the AG said.

As a result, the DHS was forced to pull back. It is soliciting public comment this summer on a revised set of safety rules that tell foster parents they must safely store medications, have an adequate number of smoke alarms, and supervise children around swimming pools.

It doesn't mention guns -- and won't until the agency figures out what to do next.

Caseworkers still have authority to make sure foster homes are safe, and if they see guns in reach of children, they have the legitimate right to talk to foster parents about it, George says.

At Krummel's suggestion, the DHS is assembling a work group that includes differing perspectives to decide Oregon's policy regarding guns in foster homes. Its recommendations probably will be considered by the 2009 Legislature.

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