Illinois’s Recently Implemented Ban on Assault Weapons Is Opposed by Most of the State’s Sheriff’s Departments

When the state’s assault-weapons ban went into effect on January 10, Illinois became the ninth state to adopt such a ban. Its law went into effect immediately after being signed by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and “bans the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with rapid-fire devices.”

Following the enactment of the law, the Illinois Sheriff's Association (ISA) issued the following statement:

“The ISA is extremely disappointed in the passage and enactment of HB 5471, that further regulates and limits the purchase of a wide variety of weapons for lawful gun owners…. We are always supportive of new tools, techniques and laws that assist us in preventing and holding accountable those that wage efforts of harm and violence on others. However, this law does not do that. We will continue to advocate on behalf of Sheriffs, all of law enforcement and the law-abiding citizens throughout Illinois.”

But Pritzker insisted that “the law will save countless lives.”

However, close to 80 of the state's sheriff's departments echoed ISA's stance, announcing that they're not in agreement with the law and won't enforce it.

According to ABCNews:

“At least 74 Illinois sheriff’s departments have publicly vowed to defy elements of a recent gun-control law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, which banned assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and switches. The offices have vowed to not check if weapons are registered with the state or house individuals arrested only for not complying with the law.”

The sheriffs have a variety of reasons for their stances. DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick stated, “Therefore, as the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement official for DuPage County, that neither myself nor my office will be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the State, nor will we be arresting or housing law abiding individuals that have been charged solely with non-compliance of this Act.”

With more than 900,000 residents, DuPage is the largest county refusing to enforce the ban; however, they're far from being the only one making this decision.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard asserted, “We will not be enforcing it in this county; I will also not house anyone in my jail that has violated this act because we know it to be an unlawful act by the general assembly and the governor.”

And Jack Campbell, the sheriff of Sangamon County, which houses the Illinois State Capitol, expressed concerns about the constitutionality as well as the efficacy of the implementation of this law. Campbell said, “The law will have zero impact on the murder rate in the state of Illinois.” He added, “Between now or Tuesday when the bill was signed into law by the governor, how many people can have their constitutional rights violated ?… I don't believe any U.S. citizens should ever have their country's rights violated at anytime.”

Pritzker has come out against the law’s opponents and described their remarks as “political grandstanding at its worst.”

The ban is likely to go to court, with gun dealers as well as Second Amendment advocates vowing to fight the law.

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