SB-530 Stop gun registration by adoption agencies

Adoption agencies in Florida are effectively profiling prospective adoptive parents who own firearms, and I think it’s outrageous.

I was adopted as an infant and couldn’t have been accepted into a more loving, safe and caring family — and we had a firearm in the house for as long as I can remember.

I was shocked to learn recently that some adoption agencies have been treating applicants for adoption, who chose to exercise the constitutional right to own a firearm, differently than non-firearms owning applicants. For some, as a condition of adoption, prospective parents who own firearms must agree to special regulations and restrictions imposed by the agency — not by state law.

I learned of at least one agency that requires prospective parents who own one or more firearms, to store the firearms and the ammunition separately in locked cabinets. Doesn’t that make it virtually impossible to defend yourself and your family if, God forbid, you actually needed those firearms?

Further, applicants who own firearms are required to register their firearms and ammunition with the agency on a form created by them, and also requires them to report to the agency exactly where the firearms and ammunition are stored. This, to me, is beyond belief.

Prospective parents seeking to adopt and make a home for a child are particularly vulnerable to abusive tactics of agency officials and personnel who appear to have a predisposition against firearms owners.

Forcing prospective parents to submit to requirements that usurp their legal rights and violate their privacy is nothing short of coercion. These agencies have set themselves above the law and have ignored Florida statutes.

F.S. 790.174, regulates how firearms must be stored and provides criminal penalties when firearms are accessed by minors due to a failure to store firearms safely.

F.S. 790.33 prohibits any regulation of firearms except by the Legislature. The Legislature exclusively occupies the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition.

F.S. 790.335 prohibits the compiling of and retention of lists of firearms owners and firearms. Forms required by some adoption agencies constitute such a registry, and, under 790.335(4)(a), office managers and officials who are a party to the collection and storage of those protected documents, commit a felony of the third degree.

While some adoption agencies have attempted to claim their firearms regulations and forms were authorized or required by the Division of Children and Families, in reality, DCF repealed those regulations in April, 2008.

So, now comes what I consider to be a legislative bill of significant importance.

SB-530 by Senator Thad Altman is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs on tomorrow, Thursday, March 4, 2010.

SB-530 is a bill to STOP Florida adoption agencies from forcing potential adoptive parents to register their firearms with the agency as a condition of adoption. Further, it will stop agencies from forcing these parents to follow gun control regulations regarding storage of firearms and ammunition created by the agency.

I believe that Senator Altman’s bill can stop this contemptible behavior and I believe that everyone should show their support for a bill that, if enacted into law, can put an end, once and for all, to yet another set of unauthorized, ad hoc regulations created without requisite enabling legislation by bureaucrats who mistakenly think they are law makers.

This bill makes it clear that adoption agencies may not condition adoption on a person’s exercise of a constitutional right or a person’s willingness to disclose private information concerning lawful firearms ownership – nor may adoption agencies impose restrictions on firearms ownership.

This bill codifies in law that adoption agencies may not violate rights, profile or discriminate against firearms owners who seek to foster or adopt children.

If you can, call, and at the least, send a short e-mail to the members of the Committee on Children and Families before their meeting tomorrow.

In the subject line, I put:

SUPPORT SB-530 — Stop Gun Registration by Adoption Agencies

The members who need to hear your support for this Senate bill can be reached at:

storms.ronda.web@flsenate.gov,
detert.nancy.web@flsenate.gov,
garcia.rudy.web@flsenate.gov,
hill.tony.web@flsenate.gov,
justice.charlie.web@flsenate.gov,
portilla.alex.web@flsenate.gov,
rich.nan.web@flsenate.gov,
wise.stephen.web@flsenate.gov

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