Illinois recently passed a new Illinois assault weapons ban called the Protect Illinois Communities Act. This law comes about 6 months after the devastating Highland Park shooting that occurred on the 4th of July during the communities parade. The new law bans so-called assault weapons and certain types of magazines.
While the goal of the law is said to be the protection of the citizens of Illinois, many believe that Illinois is overreaching. While legal battles are sure to arise, the current enforcement of the law has become the topic of debate.
Unconstitutional Gun Ban in Illinois?
Shortly after the gun ban passed, more than 80 Illinois sheriffs from all across the state declared that they will not be enforcing the gun ban because they believe it is unconstitutional. Sheriffs in Illinois are elected by their constituents and they believe this is the proper stance in order to uphold their oaths and protect the constitutional rights of their constituents.
Law enforcement is in a difficult position when it comes to gun control. On one hand, they are responsible for enforcing the law and keeping the public safe. On the other hand, they also have to be mindful of the Second Amendment rights of the citizens.
As one Illinois sheriff noted, enforcing the ban could put law enforcement in a position where they are “enforcing a law that a large majority of our citizens do not agree with.”
Governor Pritzker Responds to the Sheriffs
Others in the state disagree with their interpretation of the new law and of their role as sheriffs. Is it legal for a sheriff to decide what laws they will or will not enforce? Or should that be left up to the courts?
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker responded to the sheriffs standing against the gun ban. He said that law enforcement across the state will do their jobs to enforce the new law or they will no longer be in their jobs. The governor’s announcement has been met with mixed reactions from law enforcement, gun rights advocates, and the public.
The new law will be tested in the courts and many believe the ban will not pass Constitutional muster. What does law enforcement do until then?
While it is unclear how the ban will be enforced and whether it will actually lead to reduced gun violence, it is clear that the debate over gun control is far from over in Illinois and the rest of the country.