KANE COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- More than two dozen sheriffs around Illinois, including in Kane and McHenry counties, said they won't enforce the state's new bans on assault weapons by checking for compliance or arresting offenders.
Phones are ringing off the hook at the Kane County Sheriff's Office with legal gun owners worried about deputies searching their homes for assault weapons and extended magazines.
Sheriff Ron Hain said that will not happen, nor will they arrest someone who has yet to register their weapons.
"We are not going to be putting them in handcuffs and slapping a felony charge on them, maybe take it for safe keeping, but we don't want to ruin someone's lives on something they are confused about," Hain said.
The new assault weapons ban not only bans the sale and possession of military-style weapons, but requires legal owners to register their assault rifles.
"This bill puts us in a bind on the oath we took as sheriffs to uphold the constitution and constitution of Illinois," said McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman.
Whether it's questioning the constitutionality of the law or confusion about it, Tadelman and Hain are joining dozens of other Illinois sheriffs who do not plan to enforce the law when it involves legal owners.
"What we will be doing is using this law as another mechanism to charge people with additional crimes who are committing an act of violence or just simply illegally possessing guns," said Hain.
"We won't sacrifice safety but at end of the day we believe we have to do what is right for our own communities," Tadelman said.
Not all agree. After responding to the Highland Park mass shooting, the Lake County sheriff said enforcing the law is what is right for his community.
The Illinois Rifle Association said it will challenge the law in court.
Hain expects the new law to eventually wind up before the Illinois Supreme Court, and said he will ultimately enforce whatever the high court decides.