(The Center Square) – While dozens of sheriffs have said they won’t enforce Illinois’ gun ban, Democrats in DuPage County placed their focus on one.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation prohibiting individuals from purchasing certain semi-automatic weapons in Illinois earlier this month after lawmakers approved the measure on the final day of the 102nd General Assembly. The law also prohibits the future sale and possession of magazines with more than 10 rounds for rifles and more than 15 rounds for handguns. Already owned guns must be registered with Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024.
More than 90 sheriffs across the state say they won’t enforce the law, questioning its constitutionality.
On Monday, in Wheaton, U.S. Reps. Sean Casten, IL-06, Delia Ramirez, IL-03, and Bill Foster, IL-11, all spoke out against DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick for his position. Several members of Illinois’ legislature also attended the news conference.
Casten, who represents parts of DuPage County, urged Mendrick to enforce the law, claiming he will be making the county more dangerous if he does not.
“We are here today because DuPage County Sherriff Jim Mendrick announced he will not enforce this law,” Casten said. “His actions will make future mass shootings more likely.”
Mendrick released a statement later Monday in response to Casten’s remarks.
“There is absolutely nothing that we are doing or not doing that would make a mass shooting more accessible in DuPage County,” Mendrick said. “In fact, I have asked on multiple occasions to increase penalties on all existing gun crimes, but it does not appear that they want to have that conversation.”
Casten’s news conference comes after Mendrick said in a letter posted to Facebook that neither he nor his officers would be enforcing the gun ban and registry.
“As the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement official for DuPage County, 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 individuals that have been arrested solely with noncompliance of this Act,” Mendrick said.
Casten said he would not comment on other sheriffs who have made similar claims due to not being a representative of their districts. Casten did say failure to enforce this measure would lead more criminals to these areas.
“They are going to invite illegal gun traffickers to DuPage County, confident in the knowledge that the sheriff said ‘if you come here and violate the law, I will look the other way,'” Casten said.
Mendrick joins a long list of law enforcement officials who have said they will not enforce the law, including Sangamon County Sherriff Jack Campbell.
“This is a violation of our constitutional rights,” Campbell told WMAY earlier this month. “Just because they had enough votes to pass this, and time will tell whether or not it upholds constitutional scrutiny, but that doesn’t mean we have to enforce it.”
At least four lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the new ban, and an Effingham County judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order temporarily barring the state from enforcing the law against the more than 860 plaintiffs in the case.