Sheriffs in 80 Illinois counties have stood up against Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s ban on “assault weapons,” which was signed into law on Tuesday.
The ban targets commonly owned semi-automatic rifles, with Illinois becoming the ninth U.S. state to ban assault rifles.
Meanwhile, sheriff’s departments vowed to defy the law and not check whether weapons are registered with the state or house individuals arrested.
Pritzker responded by vowing to ensure that law enforcement failing “do their job… won’t be in their job.”
Pritzker’s office released a statement upon his signing of the bill, highlighting the registration requirement:
“The new law also requires existing owners of semi-automatic rifles to register their ownership, ensuring that law enforcement knows the location of these weapons of war and who to hold accountable if they fall into the wrong hands,” the statement read.
Edwards County Sheriff Darby Boewe responded by clarifying he would not enforce the ban.
Boewe’s statement said, in part:
“Part of my duties that I accepted upon being sworn into office was to protect the rights provided to all of us, in the Constitution.”
“One of those rights enumerated is the right of the people to KEEP and BEAR ARMS provided under the 2nd Amendment,” he added.
“The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people.”
Boewe referred to the semi-automatic rifle ban as “a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
The Lake & McHenry County Scanner reported that 79 other Illinois sheriffs joined Boewe in refusing to enforce the “assault weapons” ban.
Many of the sheriffs defying the law likened it to civil disobedience to protect the Second Amendment.
“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.
Sheriffs in 80 of Illinois’ 102 counties are refusing to mandate compliance with Pritzker’s gun ban.