Illinois Enacts Assault Weapons Ban but Vast Majority of Sheriff's Departments Won't Be Enforcing It

San Jose Police Department via AP

When its “Assault Weapons Ban” went into effect on January 10th, Illinois became the ninth state to enact such a ban. The law, which took effect immediately upon being signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, “bans the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with rapid-fire devices.”


Upon the law’s enactment, the Illinois Sheriff’s Association 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.”

Pritzker maintains that “The law will save countless lives.”

But close to 80 of the State’s Sheriff’s Departments, echoing the ISA’s sentiments, have signaled they are not on board with the measure and won’t be enforcing it.

Per 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 cite varying rationales for this stance. 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 over 900,000 residents, DuPage is the largest county declining to enforce the ban, but they are far from alone in that stance.

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 State Capitol, voiced concerns about both the constitutionality and the effectiveness of the law. Said Campbell: “The law will have zero impact on the murder rate in the state of Illinois,” adding, “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 pushed back, characterizing the statements as “political grandstanding at its worst.”

The ban is almost certain to end up in court, with gun dealers and Second Amendment advocates vowing to challenge the measure.


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