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Oklahoma Department of Human Services amends gun policy

Posted May 16

— A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that alleged the Oklahoma Department of Human Services violated foster parents' right to bear arms.

The lawsuit was filed after the department asked parents to sign a written agreement requiring weapons to be locked up.

The suit argued that the department's agreement obligated foster parents to keep their firearms locked up, to only carry their weapons around a child if it was required by their employer and to ensure weapons in automobiles were unloaded, disabled and locked in a container.

But agency spokeswoman Sheree Powell told The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2qo6DBh ) Monday that the agreement wasn't mandatory and had been revoked before foster parents Stephen and Krista Pursley, who have fostered three dozen children, filed the lawsuit.

"Someone in foster care and adoptions came up with an informal weapon safety agreement that they crafted themselves and they were circulating it for foster parents to sign," Powell said. "Once the agency found out about it, we told them to cease use of that. It wasn't an official form."

Last week, U.S. District Judge David L. Russell determined the case was moot.

"DHS no longer uses the (agreement) and there is no evidence from any official at DHS that the department intends to impose a similar rule if this litigation is dismissed," Rusell wrote in the ruling.

Powell said the agency is working with foster parents with gun permits as new firearm policies are finalized. Foster parents will be allowed to have guns around their foster children as long as they're securely holstered.

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