A bill that would ban adoption agencies from asking prospective parents about whether they have guns in the home moved through The Health & Family Services Policy Council with a unanimous vote.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Horner of Kissimmee, was partly inspired by his efforts to adopt a child through the Childrens Home Society. Turns out, the society asked if he owned a firearm and what kind. That worried Horner, who wondered if his mere ownership of a firearm would be held against him -- and worse. Could the agency, a state contractor, be keeping a list of firearm owner?
"There are people who have a bias against guns," Horner said. "We don't want anyone in the state to register firearms. And this is a de facto registration." NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer told the committee that she feared the adoption agencies could be complicit in "profiling" gun owners.
The bill (here) has three prohibitions that forbid an adoption agency from 1) asking prospective parents about firearms 2) restricting gun ownership and 3) making a determination about whether a person can adopt based on gun ownership.
Democrat Kelly Skidmore, of Boca Raton, voted for the bill. But she didn't like the paranoia about gun owners.
"I object to the assumption that the question was asked for nefarious reasons... to document and register people who own guns," said Skidmore.
But Rep. Paige Kreegel, R-Punta Gorda, said the agency's asking a firearm question was akin to asking about someone's political affiliation, race or religion.
"It's not a great leap to realize they are using the information to decide your fitfullness as a parent. They're not just shooting the breeze," Kreegel said.
Horner gushed about the Children's Home Society. He said it was a good agency. "They have good intentions," he said. "But I think we both know what road [to Hell] is paved with good intentions."
Shortly after Horner filed the bill and we wrote about it (here), the Children's Home Society ceased asking the gun-ownership question.