WHEATON, Ill. — The DuPage County Board held a meeting Tuesday after the county sheriff said he would not enforce the new assault weapons ban.
The Illinois State Rifle Association helped organize a show of support for the sheriff, who very publicly said he would not enforce the law.
Both sides were present at the meeting, with more than 200 people partaking in the lengthy board meeting, but things remained civil.
“I give my support to the Sheriff as a constitutional protector and ask that the board and others take the time to read the constitution themselves,” said Scott Lugowski, in support of the county sheriff.
“I want to thank the board for supporting HB 5471 and for speaking out against what Sheriff Mendrick has said,” said Linda Kalis, a supporter of the newly signed law.
The Protect Illinois Communities Act was signed into law on January 10, banning the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and switches in Illinois.
Enforcement of the law is currently suspended for hundreds of petitioners due to a judge’s ruling on Friday in Effingham after multiple lawsuits were filed to overturn the ban.
On January 13, Mendrick announced that due to his personal beliefs on the act, he would not enforce the law in DuPage County. He is one of many county sheriffs across Illinois to voice such a statement.
“I’m here to say thank you to Sheriff Mendrick for sticking up for our constitutional rights,” Jamie Clark voiced at the board meeting.
Mendrick took particular aim at the section of the bill that requires those who own assault-style weapons to register them with the state.
State federal and local lawmakers have called on the sheriff to either retract his statement or resign.
Mendrick came back with another statement on Monday, saying the law is a poorly written piece of legislation with no clear direction on who will be enforcing the new gun laws.
The board didn’t specifically address any of those who came to speak Tuesday, but board chair Deb Conroy did speak.
“I believe our jobs as elected officials is to uphold the laws of the state of Illinois – all of the laws – we do not, individually, decide which laws we will uphold,” Conroy said.
Governor JB Pritzker also addressed the topic.
“We’re going to have to play all of this out in state court, over the next several months, and there will be a federal case as well that will be carried out but I think they will lose in the end,” Pritzker said.
Mendrick did not attend the meeting.
It’s still unclear what, if any, action the board could take against the sheriff.