A sheriff in southern Illinois has said the state’s ban on the sale and possession of semiautomatic weapons, which was signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, is unconstitutional and that he won’t enforce the ban.
Edwards County Sheriff Darby Boewe posted a letter on the sheriff’s department Facebook page that states, “Part of my duties that I accepted upon being sworn into office was to protect the rights to all of us in the Constitution. One of those rights enumerated is the right of the people to keep and bear arms provided under the Second Amendment.”
Boewe wrote he believes the legislation, which also limits the size of magazines for rifles and handguns, is a “clear violation” of the Second Amendment.
“Therefore, as the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement officer for Edwards County, that neither myself or my office will be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the state, nor will we be arresting or housing individuals that have been charged solely with noncompliance of this act.”
Edwards County is about an hour north of the Indiana border.
Illinois became the ninth state, along with the District of Columbia, to prohibit the sale or possession of semiautomatic weapons. Those who already own such weapons must register them. The legislation reportedly was spurred by the killing of seven people at a Fourth of July Parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.
Pritzker issued a warning to law enforcement agencies who don’t uphold the law.
“Well, you don’t get to choose which laws you comply with in the state of Illinois; let’s be clear,” the Democrat said, according to WIFR. “The state police is responsible for enforcement, as are all law enforcement all across the state. And they will in fact do their job, or they won’t be in their job.”
Several advocates for gun rights are prepping lawsuits over the legislation.
“I don’t think that this deprivation of fundamentally, constitutionally protected rights is going to stand for very long,” Todd Vandermyde, a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, told WLS-TV.
The Illinois State Rifle Association said in a letter to its members that it is seeking plaintiffs to join in a lawsuit challenging the legislation. The letter said the ISRA will be partnering with the Second Amendment Foundation and the Firearms Policy Coalition in the lawsuit.
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