A number of sheriffs across Illinois have said they won’t fully enforce the new state law that bans the sale of guns the state classifies as assault grade.
“Our oath, first and foremost, is to uphold the state and national constitutions, and this law is in contrary to that,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard said. “It’s my duty to stop civil rights violations from happening in my county, so it goes way beyond just not enforcing.”
Sheriffs in counties near Chicago — including DuPage, Kane, DeKalb, McHenry, La Salle, Grundy and Kankakee — have also said they would not fully enforce the ban.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act into law last week, described the decision by sheriffs not to enforce the law as “political grandstanding.”
The pushback from sheriffs comes as the so-called “assault weapons ban” already faces legal challenges in the courts, including one from former Republican Illinois attorney general candidate Tom DeVore on behalf of more than 800 plaintiffs.
In an open letter Tuesday, DuPage-area lawmakers called on the DuPage County sheriff to uphold and enforce the law.
Illinois state Rep. Maura Hirschauer, who signed on to that open letter, said in a statement, “In saying he won’t enforce this law, the DuPage County sheriff and others like him across the state are not only violating their sworn duty, they are sending a strong message to our residents that they’ll prioritize political gamesmanship over keeping dangerous weapons off our streets.”
Bullard said that the recently passed Protect Illinois Communities Act is a violation of the Second Amendment.
“I have put out a notice to the people of Jefferson County that if they’re being harassed by agents of government who are violating any civil liberties, that they should contact me so I can be aware of it and develop a strategy on how to deal with it,” Bullard said.