A married Nevada couple had their application to foster a child rejected, due to their possession of permits to carry guns.
Brian and Valerie Wilson were denied a role as foster parents due to a state regulation which doesn’t allow loaded guns to be carried with children up for adoption. Under the law, guns and ammunition must be stored in separate secure containers and cannot be carried on the person. The couple’s request to get a variance to the regulation was denied.
The Wilsons expressed disappointment in the law, saying they only wanted to open their home to a child in need. Brian Wilson said he and his wife both had background checks to declare themselves law-abiding gun owners and are aware to always keep guns out of a child’s reach. The couple first attained their permits after being victims of a home invasion.
In response, the Wilsons are campaigning to allow gun permit holders to become foster parents. They recently testified to the state Assembly Judiciary Committee, asking them to approve a bill which would allow Nevadans with concealed-weapons permits to carry loaded firearms and still care for foster children. The bill would require that residents keep loaded weapons in a secure safe when not carried on their person.
The bill has some bipartisan support from the Assembly including State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, a Democrat who has a concealed-carry permit and is hoping to become a foster parent himself. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, said the bill would help place more foster children into loving families. Fiore said;
I don’t know if some of my peers have toured Child Haven or have been in Child Haven, but we have children in need of great foster care, and we have had people that are law-abiding citizens that have gotten their background checks, that have their CCWs, literally denied to foster a child because they have a concealed-weapons permit.
However, the bill still faces some significant opposition. Some Democrats in the Assembly opposed the bill, saying they believe the current regulation protects foster children who are often traumatized after being exposed to weapons. Jill Marano, deputy administrator of the state Division of Child and Family Services, also said the law helps prevent a child from accessing a firearm.
The Assembly has yet to taken an official action on the bill.