Illinois lawmaker says banning assault weapons masks larger issue: mental health

A downstate Republican is joining area sheriffs in pushing back against Illinois' new assault weapons ban.

Sheriffs in Crawford, Jasper and Lawrence counties are among many law enforcement agencies that have refused to enforce the new law, claiming it is unconstitutional.

State Rep. Adam Niemerg said the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is an attack on Second Amendment rights and an attempt to avoid the larger issue: lack of mental health support in Illinois.


"You're talking about gun violence, and the solution is we are going to strip these folks in this room of their Second Amendment rights. We have some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation but still, crime is out of control in the city of Chicago as I alluded to earlier, so if the Democrats want to come to me and talk about mental health, completely open to that," said Niemerg.

The Protect Illinois Communities Act is being challenged by several state and federal lawsuits, including at least one backed by the NRA.