‘Unconstitutional’: Gov Pritzker threatens Illinois sheriffs who vow non-compliance to sweeping new gun ban

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has threatened to fire any and every law enforcement agent who refuses to enforce a new law that bans so-called “assault weapons” and forces existing semi-automatic weapon holders to register their guns.

“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 they will not comply, but the reality is 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,” he said during a press conference later that same day.

Listen:

“The assault weapons ban is the law of Illinois. The General Assembly passed the bill and the governor signed it into law to protect children in schools, worshippers at church and families at parades from the fear of sudden mass murder,” the governor’s spokesperson added in a separate statement to the media.

“Sheriffs have a constitutional duty to uphold the laws of the state, not pick and choose which laws they support and when,” the spokesperson continued.

Following the governor signing the ban into law on Tuesday, law enforcement figures from across the state began pushing back on it.

“Locally, sheriff’s departments in Winnebago, Ogle, Stephenson, and Lee counties, among others, have said they will not enforce the new law, which makes more than 100 guns and magazines illegal because the state deems them ‘assault weapons,'” local station WTVO reported Wednesday.

“At least two groups say they are preparing lawsuits to overturn the law that Pritzker signed Tuesday night, saying it’s unconstitutional, something that Guns Save Life Executive Director John Boch says will be proven in court,” the news station added.

By 10:00 pm Wednesday evening, an estimated 50 percent (or more) of the state’s county sheriffs had reportedly released statements vowing to not enforce the law.

Included among them was McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman.

“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 with this act,” he said in a statement.

Then there’s Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey.

“I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution. Therefore, as the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement official for Kankakee County, that neither myself nor my office will be checking to ensure 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,” he said in his own statement.

Notice how the latter part of the statement was a near-verbatim copy of what Tadelman had said.

According to Chicago station WGN, most of the dissenting  sheriffs “released similarly worded statements Wednesday, saying the right to keep and bear arms is an inalienable right.”

As your Sheriff, I wanted to give citizens of Kankakee County an update on the recent passage of HB 5471, also known as…

Posted by Sheriff Mike Downey on Wednesday, January 11, 2023

They aren’t the only upset parties. So are gun store owners like Roger Krahl of R Guns, a store that is now pretty much out of business.

“For right now, we are shut down,” he told local station WFLD, adding that the majority of the guns he’s been selling since 1989 qualify as so-called “assault weapons.”

“Reading the statue, if I sell this flash hider, this two-inch piece of metal here, that’s an assault weapon accessory — that could be a felony in this state,” he added.

He blamed the incident on the political grandstanding over what happened in Highland Park, where on July 4th a deranged mass shooter opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing seven people.

“Realistically, this didn’t start to materialize until the incident happened in Highland Park. Highland Park is a rich white neighborhood. You look at the inner city and things happen and yet the government didn’t react. You know, so do the math,” he said.

Indeed, Chicago boasts some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet it also features some of the most crime, raising the question of what exactly a ban on guns will accomplish.

“This law is blatantly unconstitutional,” Krahl added.

Pushback is also coming from inside the Illinois General Assembly.

“I, and millions of other gun owners in this state will not comply. You’ve got to know that the actions that you’re taking right now are tyrannous,” state Sen. Darren Bailey, a Republican, said on the Senate floor Monday, according to WTVO.

Illinois state Rep. Mary Miller has also spoken out against the law:

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