An Illinois couple have filed a lawsuit claiming they are being forced to give up their Second Amendment rights in order to adopt a child.
Kenneth and Colleen Shults are the parents of three children and are seeking to formally adopt a daughter through the state foster care system. But they are battling with the Department of Children and Family Services over rules that they say are threatening their Constitutional gun rights, Fox News reported.
“Our family has always owned and used firearms,” said Kenneth Shults, 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.”
According to Fox News:
“Prospective Illinois foster parents must either certify that there are no firearms in their home or complete a form called the Foster Family Firearms Arrangement. That document requires a list of all guns and ammunition in the home and locations where they are stored. Would-be foster parents also must certify the guns have trigger locks and are stored unloaded, separate from ammunition and in locked containers accessible only with a key kept off the premises or on the owner’s person.
The rules can be enforced by involuntary home inspections, according to the lawsuit.”
“When seconds count, having your gun unloaded, locked up and ammunition stored somewhere else makes you a likely victim of a violent crime,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, which has joined with the Illinois State Rifle Association as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The couple, who have complied with state laws thus far, claim an accessible and loaded gun is a necessity for their family’s protection. A letter from Colleen’s employer, the Illinois Department of Corrections’ Danville Correctional Center where she is a nurse, warned that prisoners were seeking home addresses of prison staff and employees should take precautions, according to Fox.
Fox News reported:
“The suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, accuses the director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services of deprivation of civil rights under color of law. The complaint maintains the constitutional Second Amendment rights of foster parents were violated because Illinois Department of Children and Family Services policy effectively prohibits current and prospective foster parents from possessing firearms for the purpose of self-defense.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services told FoxNews.com that the agency had no comment because it had not yet received and reviewed the lawsuit.”
The Second Amendment Foundation previously filed other lawsuits in Illinois challenging the state’s gun laws.
“One would think the state would have wised up by now,” Gottlieb said. “But here we are again, to make sure that the state cannot discriminate against foster parents who merely wish to exercise the rights we’ve restored in Illinois.”
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