Williamson County Sheriff Diederich reacts to Protect Illinois Communities Act

Sheriff Diederich On Gun Legislation

Photo by Shane Hulsey/KBSI

MARION, Ill. (KBSI) – In the days since the Protect Illinois Communities Act took effect, it has seen its fair share of opposition, not the least of which has come from Williamson County. 

Sheriff Jeff Diederich said House Bill 5471, which effectively bans assault weapons in the state, is targeting the wrong people. 

The bill also caps sales of high-capacity ammunition magazine, bans “switches” that convert legal handguns into assault weapons, and extends the ability of courts to prevent dangerous individuals from possessing a gun through firearm restraining orders. The new law also requires existing owners of semi-automatic rifles to register their ownership, ensuing that law enforcement knows the location of these weapons of war and who hold accountable if they fall into the wrong hands.

“By limiting rights of lawful gun owners, we are creating a situation where we are targeting the wrong group of people because lawful gun owners typically are not the people who are committing these crimes, and so we’re really targeting the wrong audience,” he said.

He also said that this legislation is a violation of constitutional rights. 

“As a sheriff, it’s not my responsibility to cherry-pick which laws I’m going to enforce and not enforce, but rather it’s bestowed on me, as I took an oath to the Constitution, both to the state of Illinois and the United States, to uphold that Constitution,” he said.

Several lawsuits have been filed against the legislation, and Diederich believes that things will work themselves out in the court system. 

“We need to give the judiciary an opportunity to respond to this legislation, and I think ultimately, gun rights will persevere. I think that we will choose to uphold the 2nd Amendment,” he said. “You don’t want to say that we’re not going to enforce the law because that’s not the case. What we’re saying is we believe it’s unconstitutional. We believe in very short order, that will be upheld in the courts, and that they’ll deem this unconstitutional.” 

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