Disabled Marine Forced to Give Constitutional Rights to Get Custody of Grandson

By Dave Dolbee published on in Legal

Do you think the gun control issue is dead? Do you believe the last presidential election secured your gun rights? What if a court openly admitted it was trampling your constitutional rights, but gave you an unthinkable ultimatum of giving up your Second Amendment rights or losing custody of your grandchild? Don’t think that could ever happen? Then, you have never heard of William and Jill Johnson.

William Johnson is a Marine Corp veteran who is 100 percent disabled. The Johnson’s were seeking custody of their grandson when their civil rights were allegedly violated—after the state asked the Johnsons to be foster parents to their grandson. The sad story goes like this.

Second Amendment Foundation

National Organizations such as the Second Amendment Foundation are the great defenders of our rights.

Michigan DHHS caseworkers told Mr. Johnson, that he would have to give the agency the serial numbers of all of his firearms. Johnson logically questioned this—as I would imagine we all would. The caseworkers allegedly replied, “If you want to care for your grandson you will have to give up some of your constitutional rights.”

What a caseworker allegedly said is one thing, but we have a belief that the Lady Justice is blind and the courts will right certain wrongs. However, the lawsuit filed jointly by several parties including the Second Amend Foundation (SAF), alleges a Gogebic County Court judge told the Johnsons that if they wanted their grandson placed in their care, “We know we are violating numerous constitutional rights here, but if you do not comply, we will remove the boy from your home.”

The Second Amendment Foundation

“The statements from the caseworker and judge are simply outrageous,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This amounts to coercion, with a child as their bartering chip. I cannot recall ever hearing anything so offensive and egregious, and we’ve handled cases like this in the past. Blatantly telling someone they must give up their civil rights in order to care for their own grandchild is simply beyond the pale.”

The lawsuit asserts that “the policy of the MDHHS, by implementing requirements and restrictions that are actually functional bans on the bearing of firearms for self-defense, both in and out of the home, completely prohibits foster and adoptive parents, and those who would be foster or adoptive parents, from the possession and bearing of readily-available firearms for the purpose of self-defense. This violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.

“This is a case we simply must pursue,” Gottlieb said. “State agencies and the people who work in those agencies simply cannot be allowed to disregard someone’s civil rights.”

Will the Second Amendment Foundation be successful in defending the Johnsons’ Constitutional rights? Share your answer, thoughts, or feelings about the Michigan case in the comment section.


Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (59)

  • art


    give them part of your rights and pretty soon they will be knocking at your door asking for your guns. where is the due process???? there is no restriction in the second amendment. there will always be people killed with guns, some by accident, once you start trying to make laws to keep people from being killed sooner or later we will lose. they have already done that to us, sooner or later we will have to stop them from taking our right.


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