Sheriffs across Illinois are doubling down in their refusal to enforce the state’s controversial ban on semiautomatic weapons, and this resulted in a threat from the Democratic governor.
The Illinois Senate on Monday passed the so-called “Protect Illinois Communities Act.” The law, signed into effect by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, bans the sale, manufacture, and possession of semiautomatic weapons.
It made illegal high-capacity magazines, devices to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic weapons, and .50 caliber guns. It also lengthened the duration of a firearms restraining order issued through the state’s red flag law from six months to one year.
It stopped just short of gun confiscation.
The new regulations require anyone who currently owns semiautomatic weapons to register them with the State Police. Serial numbers must be provided, which is a stipulation removed by the Senate before being controversially restored by the House.
Second Amendment advocates believe that lawmakers acted unconstitutionally in banning these firearms. And some sheriffs are publicly proclaiming their resistance to this infringement on residents’ rights.
Sheriffs across Illinois are refusing to enforce state's gun ban, and the Democratic governor responds with a threat https://t.co/l3P2b0tdUH
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) January 12, 2023
One protester, Edwards County Sheriff Darby Boewe, posted on Facebook that he was elected and sworn into office to protect the rights of Illinois citizens.
Boewe stated that “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.” The rights, he asserted, include the freedom to keep and bear arms. This, he added, “is regarded as an inalienable right by the people.”
The sheriff said that “neither myself or my office will be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the state.” He further noted that his department will not arrest or house those charged only with non-compliance with the controversial new law.
His comments and those of at least a dozen other sheriffs drew the quick ire of Gov. Pritzker. The Democrat proclaimed that “people who want to politically grandstand” will either fall in line “or they won’t be in their job.”
The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups have weighed in. They believe the measure goes far beyond previous attempts to prohibit specific weapons and encroaches on many popular models.
There is nothing to be gained for the state of Illinois by making felons of otherwise law-abiding citizens. Sheriffs and the NRA are right in their opposition, and there will unquestionably be legal challenges that should strike down this unconstitutional law.