March 16, 2022
ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL HIGHLIGHTS COURT RULING UPHOLDING STATE RULES TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM GUNS
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced a decision in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois that upheld the constitutionality of state rules requiring the safe storage of firearms in foster and daycare homes.
“Exposing children to firearms has been proven to greatly increase their risk of injury and mortality, and these commonsense gun safety rules put in place by DCFS protect children from unthinkable tragedy,” Raoul said. “I am pleased that the court upheld the constitutionality of these important safety measures, and I am committed to continuing to preserve gun safety policies that will protect all Illinois residents, especially some of our most vulnerable.”
The decision is the result of a lawsuit, Miller v. Smith, filed in 2018 by Jennifer and Darin Miller, as well as the Illinois State Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation and Illinois Carry. The plaintiffs alleged that a provision of the Illinois Child Care Act and longstanding Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) rules that require guns to be safely stored away from children in foster homes and prohibit handguns in daycare homes were unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. In the decision, Judge Sue Myerscough granted summary judgment in favor of Attorney General Raoul and Acting DCFS Director Marc Smith, holding that Illinois’ rules were properly tailored to serve the state’s compelling interest in protecting children.
In the motion for summary judgment, Raoul argued that rules requiring firearms and ammunition be safely stored and inaccessible to children in foster and daycare homes are constitutional and help protect children from the risks posed by unsecured firearms. Raoul demonstrated that firearms have been among the top three leading causes of death of children in the U.S. over the last decade, and requiring the safe storage of firearms significantly reduces the risk of firearm injury and death.
Judge Myerscough agreed with Raoul’s argument that daycare homes are sensitive places where more restrictive firearms prohibitions are permissible. She also held that, because foster caregivers are government contractors, and the state has an ongoing obligation to children in foster care, DCFS is permitted to set reasonable requirements to ensure the physical safety of children in foster homes.
The court’s decision allows the state and DCFS to continue to prohibit foster caregivers and daycare home operators from leaving loaded firearms within reach of children in their care.