ILLINOIS, USA — Two Illinois sheriff's departments in the eastern portion of the state posted on Facebook Wednesday saying they will not enforce the state's new assault weapons ban.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an assault weapons ban into law Tuesday night, hours after the Illinois House passed it in Springfield.
"I'm signing this legislation tonight so it can take immediate effect," Pritzker said in a press conference Tuesday night.
Pritzker announced the bill's signing while flanked by Illinois congressional Democrats and gun control advocates from around the state and across the country.
The legislation bans the manufacture or possession of dozens of brands and types of rapid-fire rifles and pistols, .50-caliber guns and some attachments. The law will allow gun owners to keep the guns they have now but will require them to register them with the state.
Illinois gun manufacturers can continue to make assault weapons and sell them to suppliers in other states, but may not sell them to buyers in Illinois under the new proposal.
On Wednesday, Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen and Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl posted on the department's Facebook pages saying they will not enforce the law.
"I believe that this stance will be the stance of many other Sheriff's throughout the State of Illinois," McMillen said in the post, "so we are unified in this movement to protect the rights of our respective citizens."
In his post, Kahl said he believes the law violates the 2nd Amendment. He said his office will not "be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the State".
In a message posted to Facebook, St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson said he disagreed with the new law and would support challenges to it. The letter did not say if his department would enforce the law.
Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing also shared on Facebook that his office would not "be checking to ensure that lawful gun owers 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."
Madison County Sheriff Jeff Connor and the Madison County State's Attorney, Tom Haine, shared a statement that read, in part, "...We expect a strong court challenge to HB 5471 in short order. We trust that this legislative overreach will not stand. In the meantime, we remain focused on reducing violent crime. 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 HB 5471."
Clinton County Sheriff Dan Travous shared a similar statement Wednesday, reading, "...As the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement offical for Clinton 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."
During his Tuesday night press conference, Pritzker said he would not abide by officers refusing to enforce the new law.
"The reality is that the state police is responsible for enforcement, as are all law enforcement, all across the state," he said. "And they will, in fact, do their job or they won't be in their job."