DuPage County sheriff under fire for claiming he won't uphold assault weapons ban

Another suburban sheriff says he won't uphold Illinois’ assault weapons ban. But that decision isn't faring well with state lawmakers.

On Monday, they fired back.

Representative Sean Casten says the DuPage County sheriff doesn't have the authority to decide when he will and when he won't enforce a law.

"We are here today because DuPage County Sheriff Jim Mendrick has announced that he will not enforce that law, his actions will  make future mass shootings more likely," Casten said.

Casten, alongside other state lawmakers are firing back at James Hendrick, the DuPage County sheriff for not upholding the new law on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

On January 13, the sheriff issued a letter calling the law unconstitutional and quote: "...neither myself nor my office will be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the State, nor will we be arresting or housing law-abiding individuals that have been arrested solely with non-compliance of this Act."


"He's going to put the police officers that are there to protect them directly in the line of fire," Casten said. "The sheriff's position is dangerous and unconstitutional."

The sheriff joins a list of more than 90 others in the state opposing the law.

Mendrick released another statement, this time addressing Casten's press conference and the issues with enforcing the law.

"There is absolutely nothing that we are doing or not doing that would make a mass shooting more accessible in DuPage County. In fact, I have asked on multiple occasions to increase penalties on all existing gun crimes, but it does not appear that they want to have that conversation. They seem more concerned with lawful gun owners than people illegally possessing guns."

DuPage County is in Casten's district, along with Cook County.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart acknowledged that enforcing the law isn't easy, but he's following it.

"I think the more prudent thing would be to say, A: we enforce the laws that exist. We do have manpower issues, we all do, so where is that gonna fit in your pecking order? That would be unique to that sheriff. And that sheriff could then go to the voters at the election time and say this is where it fits in my pecking order, not because I'm avoiding the law because I don't have the resources to do x, y and z, and then it's up to the legislature and governor … that's what I suggested with the FOID card thing. Let's have regional task forces because these departments don't have enough to do their patrols anymore, let alone knock on doors to get revoked guns away from people," said Dart.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a petition asking an appellate court to throw out the temporary restraining order issued in Effingham County last week.

Raoul's office is arguing that the judge abused his discretion and that the order was granted incorrectly.