“After the number of times we’ve had to take legal action in Illinois, including our landmark U.S. Supreme Court Second Amendment victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago six years ago, one would think the state would have wised up by now,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and legal representative for the Shults’.
“But here we are again,” said Gottlieb, “fighting for the rights of law-abiding citizens in that state.”
It all started a few months ago when Colleen Shults, who works as an LPN at Danville Correctional Center under the Illinois Department of Corrections, received a letter from their Central Intelligence Unit warning “prisoners in the IDOC system were using people locator websites on the Internet to learn the home addresses of IDOC staff, including correctional officers and nurses.”
Although the letter advised Colleen and those like her to “be careful and diligent for their safety”, the Shults’ are unable to protect themselves or their family with a firearm for one reason.
They’re foster parents.
“Our family has always owned and used firearms,” said Kenneth Shults, 37, who is a firearms safety instructor and a machine shop manager. “No foster parent should have to forfeit their constitutional rights in order to be a foster parent.”
Their lawsuit says that because the Shultses are foster care providers, which they have been for many years, the policy of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has suspended their Second Amendment rights.
The rule states: “Any and all firearms and ammunition shall be locked up at all times and kept in places inaccessible to children. No firearms possessed in violation of a state or federal law or a local government ordinance shall be present in the home at any time. Loaded guns shall not be kept in a foster home unless required by law enforcement officers and in accordance with their law enforcement agency’s safety procedures.”
In part, the lawsuit challenging this rule says, “The Shultses would possess loaded and functional firearms for self-defense and defense of family, but refrain from doing so because they fear their foster children being taken away from them by the state, and/or being prohibited from being foster parents in the future, all due to the IDCFS policy complained of herein.”
The Shults’ lawsuit also claims, “…and all other Illinois statutory language, which restricts foster parents, and would-be foster parents, the rights and privileges of possessing and carrying firearms for self-defense and defense of family based solely on their status as foster parents, on their face and as applied, violate the plaintiffs’ individual right to possess and carry firearms for self-defense and defense of family as secured by the Second Amendment.”
I would think that having even more children in their home would be an additional reason to allow the Shultses to carry in order to protect the children in their care. But of course, this is in the State of Illinois where the stringent gun laws only manage to strip people like Colleen of their gun rights.