At least 80 county sheriffs and prosecutors have vowed not to enforce the new Illinois gun control law that bans 170 kinds of semi-automatic rifles and places limits on ammunition magazines.
“The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people,” said Iroquois County Sheriff Clinton Perzee. “I, among many others, believe that [House Bill 5471] is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution,” he added.
Perzee said he would not use his jail to detain people solely for violating the new gun law.
“[N]either 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 arrested solely with non-compliance of this Act,” Perzee said.
Governor J.B. Pritzker reminded the sheriffs that they took an oath to uphold the law. “As law enforcement, that’s their job and I expect them to do that job,” Pritzker said.
“It’s political grandstanding by elected officials. These are elected sheriffs,” Pritzker said during an evening interview with MSNBC.
Illinois gun rights groups are lining up to sue the state over the law. The “Protect Illinois Communities Act” bans 170 brands of semi-automatic rifles, limits ammunition magazines in pistols and rifles, and forces those with legal semi-automatic rifles to register their guns by Jan. 1, 2024.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul isn’t worried about sheriffs not enforcing the law. Center Square:
Attorney General Kwame Raoul said Friday if local law enforcement won’t act, someone will.
“As law enforcement agencies, there’s overlapping jurisdiction as well, so if they don’t do their jobs, there are other people there to do the job,” Raoul said.
Rhonda Ezell, who was a lead plaintiff in a case several years ago successfully challenging Chicago gun restrictions, said gun owners in Illinois need to stand up for their rights.
“They don’t care what color you are, where you reside, where you live, where you work. Their goal is to disarm America and they made that very clear,” Ezell told The Center Square.
What we have in Illinois is a public relations gambit versus the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The only people who are affected by the new law are law-abiding citizens who will be forced to register their legal firearms. Are criminals and gang members going to turn in their guns or register their firearms? Pritzker and those who support him should stop talking about how “safe” Illinois is going to be after the passage of this law.
St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson said in a statement he’s disappointed with the enactment of the law.
“I do not believe we should limit the protections that have been guaranteed to law-abiding citizens in the United States Constitution,” Watson said. “I will be supportive to any constitutional challenges that may occur.”
Watson did not explicitly say he would not enforce the measure as other sheriffs have.
Without an injunction blocking the measure, guns would need to be registered by the end of the year or owners could be charged with a Class 2 felony.