Couple Can't Become Foster Parents Because They Once Applied for Gun Permits

Brian and Valerie WilsonA Las Vegas couple has been denied permission to become foster parents and, eventually, adoptive parents, because they have permits to carry concealed weapons. They don’t actually have concealed weapons. Just permits. But that’s apparently enough.

Advertisement

Brian and Valerie Wilson applied for the permits several years earlier, following a home invasion, and they passed the necessary background check. Now the Wilsons, who say they want a family and looked into foster care as a step in the adoption process, are attempting to change the Nevada state law that makes them ineligible to become foster parents as a result. The bill has bipartisan support, including a Republican lawmaker, and a Democrat colleague who says that he is both looking into becoming a foster parent, and has a concealed carry permit.

Currently, there are more than 300,000 children in the American foster-case system, with about one-third of them eligible for adoption. These are usually older children, sibling sets, and those with special needs. About one-third of them, will wait for more than three years before finding a “forever home.”

Qualified foster and adoptive parents are desperately needed. There are already multiple rules in place about home square footage requirements, number of bedrooms, racial requirements, and sexuality that don’t apply to biological parents. They only serve to shove potentially excellent foster parents out of the system (not to mention the most important thing, deprive a needy child of a loving home). Are they really all necessary?

Those against amending the bill argue that guns in the home are a danger to children. The fact is, however, one child is shot for every 1,000,000,000 guns in circulation. One child drowns for every 11,000 pools in America. That means a child’s odds of dying from a pool accident is 100 time more than from a gun.

More From The Stir: How to Have the Pre-Playdate 'Gun Talk' With Other Moms

And yet children may be placed in homes with swimming pools. There are rules, of course, involving fences and covers, and commitments that children will be supervised at all times when in water. (How, exactly, is the latter something that can be enforced, or even checked?) The assumption is that parents will use good judgment and keep those under their care safe.

So why dangerous pools, and not guns? (Or, in this case, gun permits? Has anyone ever actually been hurt by a gun permit?)

And if having been approved for a gun permit is enough reason to keep someone from becoming a foster parent, does it stand to reason that it’s an equally valid reason for a biological parent to lose custody in the case of a divorce? What’s the difference?  Surely, the danger is the same whether a child is biological or adopted, isn’t it? And if one parent can lose custody for having a gun permit, why not both? Is a biological child any safer in a house with a gun than a foster child?

In most states, foster parents who smoke may not do so in the presence of the child, which includes home and car. Why should biological parents get a free pass on that one?

Would it be acceptable to remove a child from the custody of parents who smoke? You would with a foster child!

Obese children have already been taken away from their families. Let’s flip that script. Should healthy (for now) children be taken away from their obese parents? Obviously, they are setting a horrible example, and it’s doubtful the kids are eating any better than their elders.

Guns, swimming pools, smoking, obesity… where do we draw the line? We’ve already seen the witch-hunt for parents who let their children walk home alone from school or play outside.

What’s next? Families who barbecue (fire can burn!)? Moms who formula feed (breast is best!)? Dads who forget to put on sunscreen (melanoma!)? Experts have deemed all of the above dangerous. (Though swimming pools are still far and away in the lead.)

More From The Stir: Owning Guns Doesn't Make Me a Bad Mom

So where does it end?

It used to be called a parenting style. (And let the mother or father who has never, ever made a mistake, or just a choice different from their neighbors, cast the first stone.) How long before it becomes means for a parenting restriction?

Check out the Wilsons' story:

Do you think foster parents should be allowed to have guns? Or pools?

 

Image via Fox

 

Read More >

adoption