McHenry County approves resolution denouncing new state gun ban

During an at-times contentious meeting filled with public comment and back-and-forth questions about civil liberties, safety and morality, the McHenry County Board passed a resolution opposing Illinois' recent gun ban.

The resolution argues that the legislation violates citizens' Second Amendment rights but did not create a gun sanctuary - a move some, including the McHenry County Republican Party, had pushed for.

The resolution denounces the new law and calls for its repeal, arguing it could harm local businesses and make "felons out of law-abiding citizens."

The final vote was 11-6, with the board's five Democrats and Michael Skala, a Huntley Republican, voting against it.

The state law, passed in January, bans the sale of more than 100 types of guns, most of which are semi-automatic rifles, and various attachments. It also creates ammunition caps for certain weapons. In addition, those who already own guns listed in the legislation must register them with the Illinois State Police by 2024.

On Tuesday, roughly 40 people spoke at the McHenry County Board meeting about the resolution, with support and opposition split almost evenly. Throughout, comments were met with a mixture of cheers and jeers.

Crystal Lake resident Krista Huffman said she's been hunting and likes to go target shooting. She said she feels many existing laws aimed at limiting gun violence are not enforced.

"I don't understand why removing these from my possession would stop an unstable person from harming others," Huffman said.

County Board member Jim Kearns, a Huntley Republican, said he doesn't believe the issue is guns.

"It's a lot of other issues," he said.

On the opposing side, Woodstock resident Janice Bosman noted the number of mass shootings that have occurred in recent years. She said she felt the resolution represented the county siding against the law.

"High-powered guns, whatever you may call them, are created for a specific purpose," she said. "It is time to support [the gun ban]."

County Board member Theresa Meshes, Fox River Grove Democrat, said the resolution is to placate supporters of the Second Amendment. She said the rhetoric surrounding it is "dangerous."

"This is not representative of what the county wants," Meshes said.

The resolution first was considered in January during the county's law and government meeting. Some committee members took issue with the wording in the resolution, which they described as "inflammatory."

The resolution approved Tuesday is different from the original draft. It includes past Supreme Court rulings, notes the law was passed in a lame-duck session of the state legislature and removes wording that supported McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman's announcement that he would not enforce the law's registration provision.

The resolution does throw its support behind McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally, who filed a lawsuit in January seeking to declare the law unconstitutional.

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