McHenry Co. Board to consider resolution denouncing firearms ban, but no plans for gun sanctuary

A resolution opposing Illinois' new ban on some high-powered firearms is set to be considered by the McHenry County Board, but changes to the measure are almost certain to come, officials said.

The resolution, which would affirm the county's stance against House Bill 5471, would not make the county a gun sanctuary as some want, but does denounce the new law, calling it unconstitutional and a violation of the Second Amendment.

Members of the county board's Law and Government Committee split 3-3 Tuesday on recommending the resolution to the full board. However, the measure still goes forward to the full board for consideration.

About 40 residents addressed the ban and county's reaction to it during the committee's meeting Tuesday. As with previous meetings, those who spoke were divided.

The ban, passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in January, outlaws more than 100 types of firearms from being purchased in Illinois. Most are semi-automatic rifles. The law also bans some firearm attachments and caps the amount of ammunition certain guns can have.

It also creates a requirement that those who now own of the newly banned guns eventually register them with Illinois State Police.

Among those speaking in favor of the resolution Tuesday was Fox River Grove resident and onetime Congressional candidate Jamie Milton, who said the nation is "at the precipice of losing freedom and tyranny is at the door."

"What side of history will you be on?" she asked committee members.

Crystal Lake resident Katherine Rosch was among those opposing the resolution, saying it could weaken gun laws and invite mass shootings into the community.

Ed Gogol, also of Crystal Lake, argued the Second Amendment was never intended to offer unfettered access to guns. He said he also agrees with the ammunition cap included in the law, which includes 10 rounds on long guns and 15 rounds on pistols.

"You can have as many (15-round pistols) as you want," he said. "That seems plenty to me for self-defense."

The resolution considered Tuesday was drafted by county board member Eric Hendricks, a Republican from Lake in the Hills. He said he didn't intend the resolution to be a gun sanctuary measure, though some members of the public and the Republican Party of McHenry County have been pushing for one.

Some members of the committee, including Crystal Lake Democrats Kelli Wegener and Carolyn Campbell said the language of the resolution is too "inflammatory." Among other things, the resolution states that the gun ban "threatens to make felons out of otherwise law-abiding citizens for the mere enjoyment of their constitutional rights."

"I don't have the authority to determine if (the ban) is constitutional or not," Campbell added.

In addition to the resolution, McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally has filed a lawsuit seeking to have the ban declared unconstitutional. Other lawsuits throughout the state - including one with a McHenry County gun shop on board - seek similar outcomes.

McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman takes notes Tuesday as he listens to public comments at the county board's Law and Government Committee meeting. Gregory Shaver for Shaw Media
Katherine Rosch of Crystal Lake speaks Tuesday at the McHenry County Board's Law and Government Committee meeting. The panel was discussing a resolution denouncing the state's new ban on some high-powered firearms. The panel split 3-3 on the resolution, which now goes to the full county board for consideration. Gregory Shaver for Shaw Media
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