Several Illinois sheriff’s departments said Wednesday they would refuse to comply with Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker’s new gun law signed this week, which immediately bans the manufacture or possession of dozens of rapid-fire rifles, pistols, .50-caliber guns, and some attachments.
Pritzker signed the “Protect Illinois Communities Act” into law during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Springfield earlier this week, hours after House Democrats secured the final passage and less than a day after Senate Democrats approved the measure.
“I’m signing this legislation tonight so it can take immediate effect,” Pritzker said in a press conference, local media reported.
Many Republican lawmakers opposed the legislation, saying it would do nothing to prevent crime and counters rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court involving Second Amendment rights, and lawyers have signaled that the new law would severely restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens in Illinois.
County sheriff’s departments responded to the new law, assuring residents that deputies would not enforce such measures, including forcing Illinois residents who already own firearms to register them with the state.
In his letter, Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen wrote that he would follow his “morals, beliefs, and obligations concerning protecting the rights” of the county citizens.
“These types of laws put law enforcement officers and prosecutors in a very precarious box, with us having to decide to not enforce laws that were passed by government bodies,” McMillen wrote. “But, as your Greene County Sheriff, I cannot sit back and let laws that strip Greene County citizens of their constitutional rights, and not take a stance supporting the citizens against a government that wants to trample on their rights.”
The law allows owners of newly-banned firearms to keep the devices on their private properties.
Clinton County Sheriff Dan Travous, Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, and Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing made similar statements, saying that their departments would not conduct any investigations or arrests pertaining to the law, sharing the same belief that citizens have an inalienable right by the people of this country to keep and bear arms for “defense, liberty, and property.”
Madison County Sheriff Jeff Connor and Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine shared a statement noting that authorities expect the law to face legal challenges and “trust that this legislative overreach will not stand.”
“In the meantime, we remain focused on reducing violent crime,” the letter reads. “Therefore, pending further direction by the courts, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office will not expend its limited resources to check whether otherwise law-abiding gun owners have registered their weapons with the State, nor will the Madison County Sheriff’s Office be arresting or housing otherwise law-abiding individuals solely due to non-compliance with [the law].”
Pritzker threatened the employment of state law enforcement if authorities refused to follow the new law during the Tuesday press conference.
“The reality is that the state police is responsible for enforcement, as are all law enforcement, all across the state,” Pritzker said. “And they will, in fact, do their job or they won’t be in their job.”
Devore Law Office announced that the firm has partnered with other legal professionals to take action against Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly for passing the new gun law.
Attorney Thomas Devore told The Daily Wire the firm has two separate lawsuits in the works to defend the citizens of Illinois against this unconstitutional law.
DeVore argues that the state court and Illinois legislator “continues to blatantly disregard the three readings requirement of the constitution and the supreme court needs to finally stop it.”
“The law has serious equal protection problems wherein it allows members of the strong unions in Illinois to retain their rights to purchase and possess ‘assault rifles’ and high capacity magazines,” Devore said. “This discrimination against citizens cannot stand.”
Lawyers argue that the new law is likely to violate recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent concerning Second Amendment rights, adding that banning gun sales and transfers constitutes an overreach they hope the U.S. Supreme Court would not allow to stand.