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Hero Sheriffs Take Stand Against Overreach, Announce They Won’t Enforce Gun Ban

Law enforcement officials across the Land of Lincoln are taking a stand against the latest attempt by Illinois Democrats to restrict gun rights in the state. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 5471 on Tuesday; the bill bans the purchase and use of “certain commonly-used firearms and firearm components in the State of Illinois,” Madison County Sheriff Jeff Connor and Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine said in a joint statement, The Telegraph reported. The law was passed with the stated goal of improving public safety. According to WQAD-TV, the sheriffs of Henry County, Knox County and Whiteside County joined sheriffs across the state in announcing their intention to not enforce the new law in their jurisdictions. Joshua Verscheure of Henry County, Jack Harlan of Knox, and John Booker of Whiteside released a joint statement outlying their reasons for opposition. “As your duly elected Sheriff my job and my office are sworn, in fact, to protect the citizens of [Knox, Whiteside] County. This is a job and responsibility that I take with the utmost seriousness,” the statement read. “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 enumerated rights if the right of the people to keep and bear arms provided under the Second Amendment.” “I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the sheriffs declared. The sheriffs continued by outlining their refusal to enforce the new law that they see as an attack on law-abiding citizens. “The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people.” “Therefore, as the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement official for Knox County, that 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 arrested solely with non-compliance of this Act.” Knox County State’s Attorney Jeremy Karlin criticized Harlan’s stance, arguing that sheriffs should not take such unilateral action on state law. “Illinois Courts have repeatedly declared the state’s attorney to be the chief law enforcement officer of the county because he or she decides whether charges are filed. Second, the Protect Illinois Communities Act is presumed constitutional and enforceable until Illinois courts state otherwise,” Karlin said, according to WQAD. “Third, until a court issues such a ruling, a law enforcement officer has an obligation to investigate crimes and enforce the law.” These three local law enforcement officials are part of a statewide effort by many other local cops to take a stand against the far-reaching gun law. According to WLS-TV, more than two dozen sheriffs across the state, including in the Chicago suburbs of Kane and McHenry County, have stated their intention to not force the state’s new law. “We are not going to be putting them in handcuffs and slapping a felony charge on them, maybe take it for safe keeping, but we don’t want to ruin someone’s lives on something they are confused about,” Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said. “What we will be doing is using this law as another mechanism to charge people with additional crimes who are committing an act of violence or just simply illegally possessing guns.” McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman also gave the rationale for his position. “This bill puts us in a bind on the oath we took as sheriffs to uphold the constitution and constitution of Illinois,” he said according to WLS. “We won’t sacrifice safety, but at end of the day, we believe we have to do what is right for our own communities.” The number of counties voicing their opposition is likely to grow, with most of the downstate counties overwhelmingly opposing the new rules, according to the McHenry County Blog. Cook County, home to Chicago, has voiced support for the law, with the county already banning “assault weapons.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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