A growing number of sheriffs in the blue state of Illinois are refusing to enforce an aspect of a major new gun control law passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature and signed this week by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
The law bans sales of new so-called “assault weapons” — semi-automatic rifles that resemble military weapons but do not have the same specifications and do not function in the same manner — as well as high-capacity magazines. The law contains a grandfather clause, ‘allowing’ current owners of these weapons to keep them — but they must register the guns with the Illinois State Police.
“I’m signing this legislation tonight so it can take immediate effect,” Pritzker said in a press conference, local media reported.
The Daily Wire added:
Many Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation, saying it would do nothing to prevent crime and counters rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court involving Second Amendment rights, and lawyers have signaled that the new law would severely restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens in Illinois.
County sheriff’s departments responded to the new law, assuring residents that deputies would not enforce such measures, including forcing Illinois residents who already own firearms to register them with the state.
In a letter posted to Facebook, Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen noted that he plans to follow his “morals, beliefs, and obligations concerning protecting the rights” of the citizens of his county.
“These types of laws put law enforcement officers and prosecutors in a very precarious box, with us having to decide to not enforce laws that were passed by government bodies,” McMillen wrote. “But, as your Greene County Sheriff, I cannot sit back and let laws that strip Greene County citizens of their constitutional rights, and not take a stance supporting the citizens against a government that wants to trample on their rights.”
One provision of the law states that owners of banned weapons can keep them on their own property.
Clinton County Sheriff Dan Travous, Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, and Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing all made similar statements and commitments to their residents, saying that their departments would not be used to conduct any investigations or make any arrests in reference to the law under the same belief that citizens have an inalienable right to keep and bear legitimate firearms for “defense, liberty, and property.”
Also, Madison County Sheriff Jeff Connor, along with the county’s State’s Attorney Tom Haine, noted in a joint statement that they expect the law will face legal challenges and “trust that this legislative overreach will not stand.”
“In the meantime, we remain focused on reducing violent crime,” the letter reads. “Therefore, pending further direction by the courts, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office will not expend its limited resources to check whether otherwise law-abiding gun owners have registered their weapons with the State, nor will the Madison County Sheriff’s Office be arresting or housing otherwise law-abiding individuals solely due to non-compliance with [the law].”
Pritzker, meanwhile, threatened to fire any state official who refused to obey the law.
“The reality is that the state police is responsible for enforcement, as are all law enforcement, all across the state,” Pritzker said. “And they will, in fact, do their job or they won’t be in their job.”
The Daily Wire reported that legal offices were already aligning to take Pritzker and the state legislature to court over the law.
“The law has serious equal protection problems wherein it allows members of the strong unions in Illinois to retain their rights to purchase and possess ‘assault rifles’ and high capacity magazines,” Attorney Thomas Devore told the outlet. “This discrimination against citizens cannot stand.”