Suit filed to restore gun rights to Illinois foster parents

A federal lawsuit has been filed against the State of Illinois’ prohibition on otherwise qualified residents who are or wish to be foster parents from owning functional guns.

The suit, filed Tuesday against the director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in his official capacity, comes from Kenneth and Colleen Shults who currently have a foster child, whom they are in the process of adopting, and have been foster parents since 2007. Kenneth is a CNC shop manager who also provides his time to a youth firearms safety camp and Colleen is a nurse at a prison.

The couple said they do not keep loaded or unsecured guns in their residence because Child Services policy forbids it.

Recently Colleen was notified that state inmates were learning the home addresses of employees such as herself through internet searches. This came along with new guidelines implemented by Child Services last December that require guns to not only be unloaded and locked away but also to have a trigger lock installed at all times – subject to inspection on regular visits.

This led the couple to file suit this week with the assistance of the Illinois State Rifle Association and Second Amendment Foundation in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, against George Sheldon as director of the state agency.

“The IDCFS policy 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, are unconstitutional,” notes court documents seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions halting the prohibition.

Gun rights groups see the latest challenge as an extension of their long-running fight for civil rights under federal color of law protections in the Land of Lincoln.

“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 SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb in a statement emailed to Guns.com. “But here we are again, working with ISRA, fighting for the rights of law-abiding citizens in that state.”

Guns.com has reached out to IDCFS for comment but did not receive one in time for publication.