Some southern Ill. sheriffs at odds with Gov. Pritzker over state’s new gun law

Some southern Illinois sheriffs refuse to enforce new assault weapons ban.
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 3:24 PM CST
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SOUTHERN Ill. (KFVS) - Some southern Illinois sheriffs are at odds with Governor JB Pritzker over the state’s new gun law.

On Wednesday afternoon, January 11, sheriffs in Massac and Jefferson County took to social media to call the Protect Illinois Communities Act unconstitutional.

The legislation signed by the governor on Tuesday night outlaws the sale, purchase and manufacturing of semiautomatic weapons in Illinois.

The measure bans dozens of brands or types of rifles and handguns. It also requires people who already own such guns to register them with the state.

In separate social media posts on Wednesday, Massac County Sheriff Chad Kaylor and Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard announced they would not enforce the law in their counties.

“Any citizen who’s having a problem with any agent of government that’s trying to enforce this act in my county, you need to contact me so we can make sure citizens rights are protected in this county,” Sheriff Bullard said in part.

By Wednesday night, other sheriffs in southern Illinois, including in Johnson County; Williamson County; Randolph County; White County, Union County and Wayne County, shared similar statements.

After signing the bill on Tuesday night, Governor Pritzker was asked how it would be enforced. He warned there could be consequences for authorities who don’t enforce the new law.

“You don’t get to choose the laws you comply with in the state of Illinois, let’s be clear. But the reality is that the state police is responsible for enforcement, as are all law enforcement all across this state, and they will in fact do their job or they won’t be in their job,” the governor said.

The new law also bans “switches” that convert legal handguns into assault weapons.

Illinois courts also have new powers to prevent dangerous people from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders.