74 Illinois sheriff’s departments vow to defy state assault weapons ban

The sheriffs say they believe the law violates the Second Amendment.

Assault-style rifles now banned for sale in the state are displayed at Freddie Bear Sports on Jan. 11, 2023, in Tinley Park, Illinois.

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.

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.”

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.

“. . . . between now or Tuesday when the bill was signed into law by the governor, how many people can have their constitutional rights violated?” [Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell] asked?

On Thursday, Gov. Pritzker reaffirmed his stance that the sheriff’s offices should not be making decisions about which laws to enforce and which to ignore. “You know, you can have all the resolutions and declarations that you want,” Pritzker said. “The reality is that the laws that are on the books, you don’t get to choose which ones people are going to follow.”And I don’t believe any U.S. citizens should ever have their country’s rights violated at anytime.” Pritzker addressed the defiance, commenting that members of law enforcement who fail to enforce it might lose their job. “The fact is that yes there are of course people who are trying to politically grandstand, who want to make a name for themselves by claiming that they will not comply,” he said. “But the reality is that the state police is responsible for enforcement, as are all law enforcement all across our state and they will in fact do their job or they won’t be in their job.”