Sheriffs in 80 counties in Illinois say they will not enforce state’s ‘assault weapons’ ban

JB Pritzker speaking during a press conference at the Carole Robertson Learning Center in Chicago. | Photo: Illinois Information Service

Sheriffs in about 80 Illinois counties say they won’t ban the state’s “assault weapons,” to which Governor Pritzker responded by saying the sheriffs are guilty of “political posturing.”

It is now illegal to buy or sell more than 170 semi-automatic firearms in Illinois.

Those who owned such guns before the ban took effect Tuesday — when the governor signed the measure — must register them with the Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024.

Long gun magazines of more than 10 rounds and handgun magazines of more than 15 rounds are also prohibited.

Sheriffs and state attorneys from across the state say they will not enforce the ban and the program.

“The public views the right to keep and bear arms to protect life, liberty and property,” said Iroquois County Sheriff Clinton Perzee.

“I believe, among many others, that [House Bill 5471] 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.

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“[N]I and my office will not check to ensure that legal gun owners register their weapons with the State, nor will we arrest housing law abiding individuals who are arrested solely for non-compliance with this Act, ” said Perzee.

After signing the measure Tuesday, Pritzker told law enforcement they must enforce the law or leave the job.

At an unrelated event in Quincy on Thursday, the governor reiterated that sentiment.

“They took an oath of office to uphold 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 only jail people who violate the ban and that his oath is to uphold the constitution.

“Just because they had enough votes to pass this, time will tell whether or not it stands up to constitutional scrutiny, but that doesn’t mean we have to enforce it if we clearly know this is a violation of our Second Amendment rights,” Campbell said. WMAY.

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“It’s a political position by elected officials. These are elected sheriffs,” Pritzker said during an afternoon interview with MSNBC.

Gun owner rights groups are expected to file lawsuits in federal court against the measure as early as next week.

Thousands of counties across the state have already declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuary counties. Pritzker was fired that Thursday.

“You can have all the resolutions and declarations you want, the reality is the laws are on the books, you don’t get to choose which ones people are going to follow,” Pritzker said.

Kourtney Redmond, Illinois state director of the National African-American Rifle Association, opposes the gun ban.

He was advised that some counties are not going to enforce it but are concerned about the ones that do, predicting that 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’re going to enforce the laws so that’s going to happen in our neighborhoods. It will happen in Black and Brown neighborhoods.”

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St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson said in a statement that he is disappointed with the enactment 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 support any constitutional challenge that may occur.”

Watson did not specifically say he would not enforce the measure as other sheriffs have.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart testified in support of a gun ban during a House Committee hearing last month.

Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said in a statement Thursday that he strongly supports the new law and that his office would enforce it.

Unless there was a court order blocking the measure, 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 both contributed to this report.

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