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Measure filed to prohibit gun sanctuary counties in Illinois

By Greg Bishop
Illinois News Network

SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois lawmaker wants to make sure local governments don’t try to flout state gun laws, symbolically or otherwise.

The measure comes after dozens of Illinois counties last year passed largely symbolic “gun sanctuary” ordinances that promised not to enforce unconstitutional gun laws.

Freshman state Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, filed House Bill 3553, which prohibits local governments from passing any ordinance restricting enforcement of any state gun law.

Williamson County’s State’s Attorney recently said he wouldn’t charge otherwise law-abiding citizens with for violating any possible statewide ban on certain guns. And 26 of Illinois’ 102 counties, mainly in rural areas of the state, passed nonbinding resolutions that either said they wouldn’t enforce unconstitutional gun laws or that they didn’t support specific bills that were being considered in Springfield.

Illinois State Rifle Association’s Richard Pearson said some politicians in Illinois don’t understand the significance of the Second Amendment.

“It’s a fundamental right, it’s in the Bill of Rights,” Pearson said. “Law-abiding gun owners are not the problem, have never been the problem.”

Pearson said Costa Howard’s bill is a home rule issue and that there’s real opposition to her measure and other gun-control bills.

“We’re going to look at all kinds of regulations that mostly come out of the city of Chicago to make gun ownership harder, more expensive, more embarrassing, more difficult to do and the Illinois State Rifle Association is going to fight that every step of the way,” Pearson said.

Costa Howard refused to talk about the bill. Her measure remains in committee.

Pearson is preparing for next month’s Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day, scheduled Mar. 27 in Springfield.

“It’s going to be a larger crowd turnout,” Pearson said. “It depends on the laws that they’re trying to pass and some of the laws they propose are ludicrous. It’s just raining gun laws on us.”

State lawmakers have filed measures to ban certain common firearms, to require every bullet have a serial number and be tracked by state police and a measure requiring state police to scour the social media accounts of those applying for gun permits.

Pearson said that in less than a week’s time, lawmakers filed 125 new gun bills.

“Some of them are just silly,” he said. “Some of them are really trying to hurt firearm owners.”

Pearson said his organization will go to the courts fighting laws he sees as infringement, regardless if a county has passed a sanctuary county resolution.

“We’re going to take them to the [U.S.] Supreme Court, we’re going to go all the way,” Pearson said. “We’re not giving up our Second Amendment rights. We’re going to fight and fight and fight.”

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