The McHenry County Board voted to oppose Illinois’ law that bans “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines during a meeting earlier this week where dozens of residents spoke out.
The board voted 11-6 in favor of the resolution opposing the Protect Illinois Communities Act, also known as House Bill 5471, during the Tuesday evening meeting.
The resolution says the law violates Illinois residents’ rights under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Dozens of residents attended the Tuesday board meeting, with some arguing in favor of the gun ban and others arguing against it.
Residents spoke for approximately two hours during the public comment portion.
The board’s resolution says the law “threatens to make felons out of otherwise law-abiding citizens for exercising their constitutional rights.”
“The County of McHenry recognizes the right of the people to keep and bear arms is guaranteed as an individual right under the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States… [HB 5471] will negatively impact the lives, jobs, and businesses in the County of McHenry, resulting in countless loss of jobs and economic activity for its citizens,” the resolution says.
The resolution publicly calls for the law to be repealed and also calls on the McHenry County state’s attorney to take legal action.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally filed a lawsuit last month in McHenry County Circuit Court against the law.
The Protect Illinois Communities Act bans the sale and possession of what the Illinois General Assembly defined as “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines.”
The lawsuit alleges that the law violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and Section 22 of Article I of the Illinois Constitution, which also protects a resident’s right to bear arms.
“The party of unchecked power in Illinois knew the law was constitutionally problematic when they, like the SAFE-T Act, passed it in an irregular legislative session, without any meaningful debate, and under cover of darkness,” Kenneally said.
The suit names Governor JB Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul as defendants.
“We at the State’s Attorney’s Office have well-founded concerns that the law is unconstitutional and will, again, head to court to ensure we uphold our sworn obligation to protect and defend the United States and Illinois Constitutions,” Kenneally said.
The McHenry County case has since been moved to federal court following a motion filed by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
Pritzker, surrounded by lawmakers and gun control activists, signed the gun ban bill into law in the Illinois Capitol rotunda on January 10.
“For the past four years, my administration and my colleagues in the State Capitol have been battling the powerful forces of the NRA to enshrine the strongest and most effective gun violence legislation that we possibly can,” Pritzker said at the bill signing.
“I couldn’t be prouder to say that we got it done. And we will keep fighting — bill by bill, vote by vote, and protest by protest — to ensure that future generations only hear about massacres like Highland Park, Sandy Hook, and Uvalde in their textbooks,” he said.
The day after Pritzker signed the bill, McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman issued a statement speaking out against the ban.
“The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people,” Tadelman said.
“I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution,” he said.
Tadelman said that the sheriff’s office would not be checking to ensure gun owners register their weapons are registered with the state.
He also said the sheriff’s office would not be arresting or holding individuals that have been charged solely due to non-compliance with the law.