Illinois is the ninth state in the country to ban assault weapons after the Illinois House on Tuesday approved legislation that will also stop the sale of high-capacity magazines.
making Illinois the ninth state to institute an assault weapons ban in the U.S.
Just days after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act into law, the state has already hit a roadblock to implementing the law: defiant sheriff’s offices to ban assault rifles.
At least 74 Illinois sheriff’s departments vow to defy state assault weapons ban because they say they believe the law violates the Second Amendment.
At least 74 Illinois sheriff’s departments have publicly vowed to defy elements of the recent gun-control law signed by 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.
As the number of uncooperative sheriff’s offices increased, Pritzker has made his own vow – to ensure those members of law enforcement who fail to “do their job… won’t be in their job.”
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association issued a statement Wednesday expressing continued opposition to the law. Simultaneously, dozens of sheriff’s offices began to post nearly identical messages promising they would not check for compliance with the law or arrest offenders of the law.
Jim Kaitschuk, executive director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, said he drafted the statement which sheriff’s offices began to sign or modify.
Kaitschuk previously served as director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association and as director of legislative affairs for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“The sheriffs defying this statute cannot justify their refusal to enforce the law as something akin to civil disobedience that protects the Second Amendment, because it is more like treason that usurps the power of the legislature and responsibility of the judiciary,” said Lisa McCormick, a New Jersey gun control advocate.
“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,” DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick wrote in a statement, which was mirrored by dozens of other offices.
With a population of over 920,000 residents, DuPage County is the largest county to defy the law.
ABC News was able to identify at least 59 sheriff’s offices that issued a nearly identical statement, the main identifiable difference between the statements being the letterhead and name of the county in the text of the statement.
In total, at least 74 offices said they plan to not use resources to enforce elements of the law, impacting nearly 4,000,000 Illinois residents, or over 30 percent of the state’s residents.
Other than DuPage county, the most populous counties in Illinois – Cook, Lake, and Will Counties – have not issued any statement opposing the law. The deadly 2022 Highland Park parade shooting took place in Lake County, which is enforcing the law. Most of the sheriff’s offices opposing the law reside in counties with less than 100,000 residents, though nine defiant counties have populations exceeding 100,000.
“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,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard Sr. said in an online video.