Is an Illinois sheriff backing away from his stance on state's gun, magazine ban?

Townhall Media

In the state of Illinois, a number of sheriffs vowed they wouldn’t enforce the state’s new assault weapon ban. This predictably sparked a lot of controversy, with some saying their oath of office preventing it and others arguing that law enforcement doesn’t get to pick which laws they enforce.


But most have steadfastly refused to budge.

One, however, seems to be backing down a bit.

A sheriff in Illinois is reversing course and says he will enforce a state assault weapons ban if the law is implemented, after calling the bill unconstitutional.

DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick said in a Jan. 13 statement that he believes the assault weapons ban signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker is unconstitutional.

“I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution,” Mendrick said.

However, after Mendrick attended a meeting with DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, the sheriff reversed course and said he would enforce the law.

“Enforcement of this law does not demand that deputies go door to door seeking to remove weapons from those licensed to own them. With this understanding, Sheriff Mendrick is committed to enforcing all state and local laws,” Berlin, Conroy, and Mendrick said in a joint statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday.

Mendrick said that while deputies won’t be going “out proactively to take your lawfully owned guns,” penalties will be enhanced for those using guns in the commission of crimes.


So what really gives? Was he threatened? There’s no indication he was.

So, what’s the deal? Well, here’s what Medrick said on the DuPage County Sheriff’s Facebook page.

Do not listen to the media. I was not threatened to be censured or anything else during this meeting. The meeting that I had with State’s Attorney Bob Berlin and County Board Chair Debra Conroy yesterday was the first day three tiers of government came together in discussion on this topic.

We ALL agreed that our police should not be going to the homes of law-abiding residents to harass them over gun restrictions. They get the issues. We will not be sending deputies out proactively to take your lawfully owned guns. Please remove that stressor from your lives.

What we will be doing is enhancing penalties for those that use guns illegally in the commission of crimes. Those that commit gun crimes in DuPage County will find out how seriously we take gun offenses. If you are not using a gun to conduct criminality, you have nothing to fear from us. If your use of a gun is to harm someone within DuPage County, we are united to ensure you endure every possible penalty that we can bestow upon you for your crimes.

We have reached a time where we must protect our citizens from illegal gun use and at the same time allow law-abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves. The media will make up their own version of this interaction to create conflict, but the truth is we all agree on the difference between lawful citizens and criminals.


It’s entirely possible that Mendrick simply figures that he can say his deputies will enforce it like he says while figuring the law won’t survive legal challenge. As such, he’s not really out anything by saying he’ll enforce it.

Right now, there’s an injunction against enforcement of a lot of it, so it’s not like he could do anything anyway.

However, this is still concerning. The sheriff’s comments come after a meeting with the county prosecutor and the head of the county government. It’s kind of hard not to imagine some kind of pressure was applied, even if Medrick says that wasn’t the case. If that is what happened, don’t be surprised to see it applied to other pro-gun sheriffs in Illinois.

The truth of the matter is that this law wouldn’t do anything to make anyone safer anyway. Sentencing enhancements won’t work as a deterrent because bad guys apparently don’t think they’ll ever get caught in the first place. Assault weapon bans in general don’t seem to do much, either.

So here we are. One of the people we celebrated for his promise to uphold the Second Amendment is now trying to satisfy both gun owners and supporters of Illinois’ new ban. I fear this is just the first of many throughout Illinois, especially if some behind-the-scenes arm-twisting was applied, but even if it isn’t, we now see just how strong Mendrick’s support for the Second Amendment really is.


And honestly, I hope the voters there remind him of that fact come reelection time.


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