Should handguns be allowed inside home daycares? A lawsuit filed in federal court Monday argues they should.
The suit questions Illinois Department of Children and Family Services licensing regulations that prohibit home daycare operators from keeping handguns in their homes. The daycare owners say it’s a violation of state law and their constitutional rights.
Jennifer Miller and her husband filed the suit. They’ve run a licensed home day care in Shelbyville, Illinois since last year.
“I’m not only fighting for myself I’m fighting for future licensed daycares,” Jennifer Miller told NBC 5.
Both Millers are licensed for conceal and carry. But last month DCFS told them handguns are banned in home day cares.
“So, they said we couldn’t even have the handguns on the premises," Miller said.
According to Illinois conceal and carry law, child care operators should not be prevented from “owning or possessing a firearm in the home while children are present as long as the firearms are “stored in a locked container.”
“The guns are in one locked safe and the ammunition is in another locked safe and the door is locked," Miller said.
But DCFS only allows that if someone living in the home is a peace officer or required to have a handgun as a condition of their employment--not for self defense.
Harold Krent, dean at Chicago-Kent School of Law, said the DCFS regulation seems to run against both the conceal and carry law and the 2nd Amendment "which poses the challenge for the regulation to be upheld in this legal challenge.
DCFS would not comment on pending litigation, but in discussion about licensing standards has written: “the department’s position is that a licensee or household member may obtain a concealed carry permit, but, per current licensing standards and the child care act, may not have a handgun on the premises.
“We should be treated just the same as everyone else," Miller said. "If not, we’ve taken more precautions because there are small children on this premises.
The Millers say they’ve undergone all the necessary background checks, fingerprinting and training required by law and that all the parents are notified that they do have guns in the day care. They say the regulation is a violation of their 2nd Amendment rights.