A small-town home daycare owner is suing the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services(DCFS) for enforcing rules that blatantly violate her right to keep and bear arms. Thanks to cities like Chicago and Deerfield, Illinois isn’t exactly known as the most gun friendly of states, but, in general, it certainly isn’t as bad as some – not even in the worst eight. But when it comes to keeping a handgun in your private residence, that’s a no-no if you want the agency to approve your home daycare license.
Darin and Jennifer Miller both own guns and have their firearms owner’s identification and concealed carry permits, as required by the state. But in March, a DCFS employee informed the Millers that they could not keep handguns in the home while operating a licensed daycare – as Mrs. Miller has since 2017. Rifles and shotguns are fine, so long as they’re locked away, stored separate from ammunition, inaccessible to children, and disassembled.
The Millers don’t seem to even want to use their handguns, necessarily, for protection during business hours. The guns are stored in a locked container while children are present. As the Millers’ attorney, David Sigale, said, “This is not a lawsuit about keeping guns in the toy box or keeping them on the coffee table.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that the lawsuit seeks to bar the state and DCFS from enforcing the restriction. It also asks the court to declare the rule unconstitutional – which it very clearly is. For a refresher on the Second Amendment, it states:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Note that there is no mention of exceptions to that rule – not even for businesses involving children.
The Millers are joined in the lawsuit by The Illinois State Rifle Association, The Second Amendment Foundation, and Illinois Carry.
The Police Can’t Always Save You
According to a report by the Illinois State Police, The Land of Lincoln suffered 741 criminal homicides, 4,606 rapes, 27,966 aggravated assaults and batteries, and 44,627 burglaries in 2015. And that’s just the crimes reported or discovered – not necessarily all crimes committed, or, for that matter, all the police managed to solve. There were only 439 arrests for criminal homicide that same year, and just 933 for rape, 9,441 for aggravated assault and battery, and 5,823 for burglary.
Those are statewide totals, of course. Most of those crimes are, as is the case with most states, concentrated in the urban areas – Chicago being one of the worst in the nation.
But let’s be fair to the city in which Mrs. Miller lives. She isn’t up in Chicago. She’s about 200 miles south, in Shelbyville, the seat of Shelby County. The county had no recorded criminal homicides in 2015, a single rape – which did not lead to an arrest – 11 aggravated assaults and batteries, and 15 burglaries. Compared to the larger cities, that seems quite safe. Especially when you factor in that, according to Police One, the city has seven officers serving a population of 5100 spread out over about four square miles. Assuming no traffic issues and no speeding, the Shelbyville Police Department is a six-minute drive from the farthest location inside the city limits. Given the low local crime rate, the fact that officers tend to speed when responding to emergency calls, and the number of officers, it’s quite likely that the average response time is fairly low.
Individual Safety is the Individual’s Responsibility
However, for the victims of violent crime – rare though it may be in Shelbyville – statistics provide no comfort. Homes are still burgled, people are still beaten, and – on occasion – raped and murdered. And when such crimes occur, even a couple of minutes is too long. And as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled more than once, the police aren’t obligated to protect people from violent crime. What the Founding Fathers understood that so many today seem confused by is that individual safety is the responsibility of the individual. That is where the Illinois DCFS overstepped their authority. Their regulation infringes on the rights of Illinois residents, like the Millers, to defend themselves.