Adoption agencies are violating gun owners' rights by asking prospective parents whether they keep guns and ammunition in the home, according to a Florida state legislator trying to ban the practice.
And the National Rifle Association backs the law Republican Sen. Thad Altman has introduced in the Florida Legislature that would make it unlawful for an adoption agency to ask gun ownership questions, according to a report in the Miami Herald. Such questions violate privacy rights, the proposal contends.
Altman became involved in the issue after two constituents in his congressional district complained when they tried to adopt a child.
“An adoption agency has no right to subvert the privacy rights of gun owners,'' Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the NRA, told The Herald.
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Hammer noted that requiring individuals to register guns is illegal in Florida; therefore, requiring couples to disclose whether they own firearms before adopting a child should be, too.
Liz Bruner, a spokeswoman for the Children's Home Society, said Florida’s privatized child-welfare system asks about gun ownership because the state’s Department of Children & Families requires it in its role overseeing the adoption process.
“We're trying to get an updated form to use, but there's a gray area over what [form] we can use,” Bruner said.
A spokesperson for Florida's DCF reported that some forms used in the state's adoption process include the gun ownership question, while other forms don’t, depending on which subcontractor handling the adoption process is involved.
NRA critics, including Democratic Sen. Nan Rich, contend the gun ownership question on adoption forms is valid and doesn’t agree that adoption agencies should be banned from asking the question. “Parents frequently ask if other parents have guns in the home before their kids play there, so why can't an adoption agency just ask?” Rich told The Herald.
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