Sheriffs say they want no role in enforcing state’s assault weapon registry

Sheriffs say they want no role in enforcing state’s assault weapon registry

By HANNAH MEISEL
For Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – Dozens of county sheriffs in Illinois — approximately “80-ish,” per Illinois Sheriffs’ Association head Jim Kaitschuck — say they’ll refuse to enforce a provision of a new assault weapons ban that would require owners of such guns to register them with the state.

In the wake of Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature Tuesday on the law banning the sale and manufacture of assault weapons in Illinois, many sheriffs have written nearly identical letters expressing their unwillingness to enforce the law’s requirement for registering assault-style weapons with the state.

Beginning next year, a gun owner’s failure to provide the state police with the serial numbers for assault-style rifles they own prior to Jan. 1, 2024, will be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in prison. The degree of charges could increase based on the number of unregistered guns.

But Kaitschuck contended it would be impossible for local sheriffs to know who in their county owns assault weapons if those gun owners don’t voluntarily comply with the law, suggesting it would be ridiculous to go door-to-door to find out.

“We have no inventory of guns bought and sold that are available to local sheriffs,” Kaitschuck said of information partially available to the Illinois State Police. “We don’t have access to it — and I’m not asking for it either, by the way.”

Several gun rights organizations say they are planning to challenge the law in federal court, buoyed by a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision which Second Amendment proponents believe could mean friendlier opinions on firearms-related claims moving forward.

Democrats and advocates who pushed for Illinois to pass the nation’s ninth statewide ban on assault weapons had expected litigation, but on Thursday maintained that unless the law gets struck down, sheriffs’ refusal to enforce any part of it is a dereliction of duty.

“They took an oath of office to uphold the law,” Pritzker said at an unrelated news conference. “As law enforcement, that’s their job. And I expect them to do that job. You can have all the resolutions and declarations that you want (but) the reality is that the laws that are on the books, you don’t get to choose which ones people are going to follow.”

But Kaitschuck countered with the common example of police declining to write a ticket to a driver pulled over for driving 10 miles over the speed limit.

“If I pull somebody over for speeding going 65 in a 55, and I don’t write them a ticket, does that mean I’m not enforcing (the law)?” he aked. “And I know we’re talking apples to oranges here, but…my point on this is that officers have discretion. We don’t arrest everybody we could or else our jails would be totally overrun.”

The sheriffs’ letters this week primarily dealt with enforcing the registry portion of the assault weapons law, and Kaitschuck said he wasn’t aware of any sheriffs in his organization who don’t plan on complying with the law’s other provisions, like the ban of sales of assault weapons at Illinois gun shops.

However, Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Harold Krent argued the sheriffs’ letters go beyond what was explicitly stated and said the symbolism of law enforcement officers refusing to comply with state law is a slippery slope.

Krent contrasted the sheriffs’ move with state’s attorneys’ actions surrounding the cashless bail provision of Illinois’ SAFE-T Act, which was supposed to do away with cash bond in Illinois on Jan. 1. Despite grumbling from dozens of state’s attorneys in Illinois, even the staunchest opponents to the law were at least somewhat prepared to comply with it in the new year, at least until the Illinois Supreme Court stayed the law on Dec. 31, pending a full appeal.

“There, (the state’s attorneys) went to court and said, ‘We’re not going to block the process but we want a judicial resolution.’ That’s a norm in our country,” Krent said. “…The General Assembly has decided (the assault weapons ban is) constitutional. The attorney general has decided it’s constitutional. I think it’s an incredible risk for sheriffs to say, ‘We’re not going to enforce a law.’ …because that’s encouraging a lack of respect for the law.”

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

CRRNH_StLaurenceCheerChamps_020123

Viking girls are golden

Spread the love

Spread the love The St. Laurence High School cheerleaders (aka the Golden Girls) won first place in their division at the Spartan Showdown at Marian Catholic High School late last month. Clearing and Garfield Ridge girls played a key role in the team’s success. Those girls (and their grade schools) are: Lauren Weyer (St. Jane…

CRRNH_KimHughes01_020123

She kept her promise

Spread the love

Spread the love. . By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] . Never underestimate a woman’s love for her man. Gary and Kimberly Hughes met in 1996. They fell in love and were wed in 1998. They bought a home near 61st and Natchez and were on their way…

Palos School District 128 has launched a Therapy Dog visitation program for students at Navajo Elementary and Independence Jr. High in Palos Heights. (Supplied photos)

District 128 schools are going to the dogs and the kids love it

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Pet therapy has also been shown to improve energy levels, self-esteem, social skills, verbal communication and mood, as well as decrease depression. Palos Heights School District 128 made the decision to bring pet therapy into the classroom to help both its students and staff reap these benefits while enjoying the…

Michael Benjamin has a laugh after being named Orland Park’s Officer of the Year during a ceremony on Jan. 16. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park cops honored and defended

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The Village of Orland Park hosted its police awards ceremony last week and, as usual, Mayor Keith Pekau expressed his gratitude for the job the police force does. He also was irked by some comments he has seen online with negative comments on a post. On Jan. 7, Orland police…

Chicago Police Department

Warn of burglars in Garfield Ridge

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports A cluster of residential burglaries in Garfield Ridge has prompted police to issue a warning to the community. Crime scenes include: 5200 block of South Normandy on Jan. 1. 5600 block of South Mobile on Jan. 7. 5300 block of South Mason on Jan. 10. 6000 block of West 60th Street…

Sean Casten

Casten scolds sheriff on new gun control law

Spread the love

Spread the loveSays he can’t pick which laws to enforce By Tim Hadac U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-6th) and several other Democratic members of the state’s Congressional delegation recently sent a letter to DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, expressing concern over his Jan. 13 statement that he will not enforce the Protect Illinois Communities Act…

Muhammad

Bust accused shooter in Clearing

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Chicago Police and the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force visited Clearing late last month to apprehend a man wanted in connection with a West Side shooting. Shaheer Muhammad, 24 of the 3800 block of West Grenshaw, was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at a home in the 6000 block…

illinois income tax form - Copy

2023 Illinois tax filing season now open

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Illinois Department of Revenue began accepting 2022 state individual income tax returns on Monday, the same date that the Internal Revenue Service began accepting federal individual income tax returns. “Taxpayers are encouraged to file electronically as early as possible in the tax season and choose direct deposit in order…

Palos Park Police Officer Ross Chibe, shown at a village council meeting in 2021, and the Palos Park force are staying on top of a sextortion scam that has become prevalent. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park tries to stay ahead of the curve on sextortion scams

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The Palos Park Police Department is trying to stay ahead of a disturbing trend that has not been talked about publicly very much. When it comes to the topic of sextortion scams, the Palos Park police are monitoring things very closely and Detective Ross Chibe was called on to provide…

palos heights police logo

Former hospital employee charged in Palos Heights identity theft

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports A Hazel Crest man was charged last week with aggravated identity theft stemming from an incident that happened on December 27. Palos Heights police took a report on December 27 from a patient at Northwestern Palos Hospital who reported their wallet was missing and then observed two unauthorized charges on…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
CRRNH_StLaurenceCheerChamps_020123

Viking girls are golden

Spread the love

Spread the love The St. Laurence High School cheerleaders (aka the Golden Girls) won first place in their division at the Spartan Showdown at Marian Catholic High School late last month. Clearing and Garfield Ridge girls played a key role in the team’s success. Those girls (and their grade schools) are: Lauren Weyer (St. Jane…

CRRNH_KimHughes01_020123

She kept her promise

Spread the love

Spread the love. . By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] . Never underestimate a woman’s love for her man. Gary and Kimberly Hughes met in 1996. They fell in love and were wed in 1998. They bought a home near 61st and Natchez and were on their way…

Palos School District 128 has launched a Therapy Dog visitation program for students at Navajo Elementary and Independence Jr. High in Palos Heights. (Supplied photos)

District 128 schools are going to the dogs and the kids love it

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Pet therapy has also been shown to improve energy levels, self-esteem, social skills, verbal communication and mood, as well as decrease depression. Palos Heights School District 128 made the decision to bring pet therapy into the classroom to help both its students and staff reap these benefits while enjoying the…

Michael Benjamin has a laugh after being named Orland Park’s Officer of the Year during a ceremony on Jan. 16. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park cops honored and defended

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The Village of Orland Park hosted its police awards ceremony last week and, as usual, Mayor Keith Pekau expressed his gratitude for the job the police force does. He also was irked by some comments he has seen online with negative comments on a post. On Jan. 7, Orland police…

Chicago Police Department

Warn of burglars in Garfield Ridge

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports A cluster of residential burglaries in Garfield Ridge has prompted police to issue a warning to the community. Crime scenes include: 5200 block of South Normandy on Jan. 1. 5600 block of South Mobile on Jan. 7. 5300 block of South Mason on Jan. 10. 6000 block of West 60th Street…

Sean Casten

Casten scolds sheriff on new gun control law

Spread the love

Spread the loveSays he can’t pick which laws to enforce By Tim Hadac U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-6th) and several other Democratic members of the state’s Congressional delegation recently sent a letter to DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, expressing concern over his Jan. 13 statement that he will not enforce the Protect Illinois Communities Act…

Muhammad

Bust accused shooter in Clearing

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Chicago Police and the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force visited Clearing late last month to apprehend a man wanted in connection with a West Side shooting. Shaheer Muhammad, 24 of the 3800 block of West Grenshaw, was arrested on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at a home in the 6000 block…

illinois income tax form - Copy

2023 Illinois tax filing season now open

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Illinois Department of Revenue began accepting 2022 state individual income tax returns on Monday, the same date that the Internal Revenue Service began accepting federal individual income tax returns. “Taxpayers are encouraged to file electronically as early as possible in the tax season and choose direct deposit in order…

Palos Park Police Officer Ross Chibe, shown at a village council meeting in 2021, and the Palos Park force are staying on top of a sextortion scam that has become prevalent. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park tries to stay ahead of the curve on sextortion scams

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The Palos Park Police Department is trying to stay ahead of a disturbing trend that has not been talked about publicly very much. When it comes to the topic of sextortion scams, the Palos Park police are monitoring things very closely and Detective Ross Chibe was called on to provide…

palos heights police logo

Former hospital employee charged in Palos Heights identity theft

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports A Hazel Crest man was charged last week with aggravated identity theft stemming from an incident that happened on December 27. Palos Heights police took a report on December 27 from a patient at Northwestern Palos Hospital who reported their wallet was missing and then observed two unauthorized charges on…

DVN Getty Insurance House Ad
Reporter Mecy Circle House Ad