Kenneth and Colleen Shults want to permanently welcome a foster child into their Fairmount, Ill., family, but claim in a federal suit filed this week they are being forced to surrender their Second Amendment rights to do it.
Already parents of three, the couple is in the process of formally adopting a daughter through the state foster care system and is fighting Department of Children and Family Services rules they say severely restrict their gun rights. The couple charges that the firearm restrictions aimed at safeguarding foster children violate their constitutional rights and threaten their ability to keep their family safe.
“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.”
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.