A virtual panel convened Sunday night where members discussed the history of the ‘Constitutional Sheriff’s Movement’ and how dangerous they believe the movement is considered.
Hosted by Illinois Congressman Sean Casten (6th District) and Professor Jason DeSanto from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, the panel described the movement as being comprised of people who believe local sheriff’s should hold higher authority in their home counties than any other person or government body.
“Often framed in terms of liberty, [it] may often be a threat to our liberty,” DeSanto said.
The movement picked up steam in Illinois following the January signing of the ‘Protect Illinois Communities Act’ (PICA) signed by Governor JB Pritzker.
PICA came about following the Highland Park Mass Shooting and carries penalties for anyone who “carries or possesses … manufactures, sells, delivers, imports, or purchases any assault weapon.”
It wasn’t long before the PICA faced opposition though.
“Illinois has 102 counties,” DeSanto said. “Within days of the law [being signed], the elected sheriffs — more than 90 of them — declared they would not enforce that law.”
Casten said the sheriff in his own county refused to uphold the PICA on the basis he believed it threatened the second amendment.
“I called my own sheriff, who said he wouldn’t enforce it,” Casten said. “[I] asked on what legal ground he could do that and he said he had a legal obligation to uphold the constitution.”
After a discussion with a Republican colleague in congress, Casten believes the Constitutional Sheriffs Movement is a threat.
“He said the Constitutional Sheriff’s Movement is the most dangerous thing happening right now,” Casten said.
The assault weapons ban put in place by the PICA is currently back in effect after a federal appeals judge put a hold in place after a previous ruling that blocked the ban’s enforcement, pending further appeals.