Sheriff Reverses Course on Gun Ban

( – After stating he would not enforce an assault weapons ban that went into effect in Illinois this January, DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick now says he will enforce the law.

In a statement January 13, Mendrick said he and others believed HB 5471 was unconstitutional and that he would not enforce it. In Mendrick’s view, the law was in violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The new Illinois law, which went into effect January 10, bans the distribution and sale of what it calls “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines.

But Mendrick has reversed course after a meeting with the Dupage County Board Chair and the County State’s Attorney, saying he will now enforce the law.

The Board Chair, State’s Attorney, and Mendrick, issued a joint statement affirming that the Dupage Sheriff will enforce the law. The statement said the new law does not require law enforcement officers to go looking for illegal guns to confiscate, a sticking point for Sheriff Mendrick.

Mendrick confirmed that his deputies will not be actively seeking out illegal gun ownership, but will enforce stricter penalties against those who use the now-banned guns and accessories when committing crimes.

The sheriff also said that anyone committing gun crimes in his jurisdiction will “find out how seriously we take gun offenses.” Law-abiding gun owners have nothing to fear, but criminals can expect to be hit with “every possible penalty.”

Meanwhile, the controversial law is again on hold. An Illinois appeals court modified a temporary restraining order against the law on January 31. The restraining order applies across the state now; before the ruling it applied only to the plaintiffs challenging the law.

When courts issue temporary injunctions against laws, this usually indicates the court believes that those challenging the law are likely to win in the end. The appeals court’s latest ruling says the plaintiffs challenging HB 5471 are likely to win “on the merits” as the case wends its way through the courts.

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