Sheriffs in 80 counties in Illinois say they will not enforce state’s ‘assault weapons’ ban
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker speaks during a news conference at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago. | Photo: Illinois Information Service
Sheriffs in roughly 80 Illinois counties say they will not enforce the state’s “assault weapons” ban, to which Gov. Pritzker has responded by saying the sheriffs are guilty of “political grandstanding.”
It is now illegal to buy or sell more than 170 semi-automatic firearms in Illinois.
Those who owned such weapons before the ban took effect Tuesday — when the governor signed the measure — must register them with the Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024.
There is also a ban on long gun magazines with more than 10 rounds and magazines with more than 15 rounds.
Sheriffs and state’s attorneys from across the state say they won’t enforce the ban and registry.
“The right to keep and bear arms in defense of life, liberty and property is considered an inalienable right of the people,” said Iroquois County Sheriff Clinton Perzee.
“I, among many others, believe this [House Bill 5471] is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution,” Perzee said.
Perzee said he will not use his prison to detain individuals exercising their civil rights.
“[N]neither I nor my office will check to make sure that legal gun owners register their guns with the state, nor will we arrest or harbor law-abiding individuals who have been arrested solely for noncompliance with this the law,” Perzee said.
After signing the measure Tuesday, Pritzker told law enforcement they must enforce the law or quit their jobs.
At an unrelated event in Quincy on Thursday, the governor echoed that sentiment.
“They took an oath to enforce the law. “As law enforcement, that’s their job, and I expect them to do that job,” Pritzker said.
Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell said he will not jail people who violate the ban alone and his oath is to uphold the constitution.
“Just because they had enough votes to pass this, time will tell whether or not it upholds constitutional scrutiny, but that doesn’t mean we have to enforce it if we clearly know it’s a violation of our Second Amendment rights,” Campbell said. WMAY.
“It is political grandstanding by elected officials. These are elected sheriffs,” Pritzker said during an evening interview with MSNBC.
Gun owners’ rights groups are expected to file a lawsuit in federal court against the measure as early as next week.
Dozens of counties across the state have already declared themselves Second Amendment sanctified counties. Pritzker fired him Thursday.
“You can have all the resolutions and statements you want, the reality is that the laws that are on the books, you don’t get to choose which ones people follow,” Pritzker said.
Kourtney Redmond, Illinois state director of the National African American Rifle Association, opposes the gun ban.
He was encouraged that some counties will not enforce it, but worried about those that will, predicting it could lead to mass incarceration.
“Maybe St. Clair County, where you have a black population, and then you have Cook County,” Redmond told The Center Square. “They will enforce the laws and this is how it will happen in our neighborhoods. It will happen in Black and Brown neighborhoods.”
St. Louis County Sheriff Clair Richard Watson said in a statement that he is disappointed with the passage of the law.
“I do not believe we should limit the protections guaranteed to law-abiding citizens in the United States Constitution,” Watson said. “I will be supportive of any constitutional challenge that may occur.”
Watson did not explicitly say he would not enforce the measure as other sheriffs have done.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart testified in support of the gun ban during a House Committee hearing last month.
Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said in a statement Thursday that he is very supportive of the new law and that his office will enforce it.
Absent a court order blocking the move, the guns would have to be registered by the end of the year or owners could be charged with a Class 2 felony.
Lake and McHenry County Scanner and The Center Square contributed to this report.