The push for more gun control legislation has Monroe County officials pushing back against representatives in Springfield.

The County Board has declared Monroe County a “sanctuary county” for gun owners and Sheriff Neal Rohlfing has said his department will not enforce any law that infringes on residents’ Second Amendment rights.

“These tragic things happen and a lot of politicians feel they have to throw their support behind these bills, and it’s a lot of feel-good legislation. My opinion is it’s a waste of time; I wish they’d fix things in the state,” Rohlfing said.

Among the potential laws that the Monroe County Board and the sheriff do not support are House Bill 1465, which would make it unlawful to sell an assault weapon, .50 caliber rifles, cartridges or assault weapon attachments to any person under the age of 21.

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House Bill 1467 says any municipality may not regulate assault weapons “in a manner less restrictive than the regulation by the State” and makes possession of a bump-fire stock or trigger crank illegal in Illinois.

Resolution for Sanctuary County status

Sen. Paul Schimpf, a Republican from Murphysboro, and Rep. Jerry Costello, a Democrat from Red Bud, were not immediately available for comment.

The county’s resolution posted on the sheriff’s Facebook page said that those bills are violations of the Fourth Amendment.

Rohlfing said he does support criminal background checks for gun ownership and gun safety education.

He said the proposals in the state House and Senate are creating a “false sense of security.”

“If someone truly feels and wants to inflict evil on somebody, they’re going to accomplish it,” he said. “Is making someone 21 before owning an assault weapon going to make us safer? I don’t think so.”

Rohlfing said in the last five years, Monroe County has had a handful of killings, with most being stabbings.

“In my opinion, none of these (bills in the Illinois Legislature) are going to create any more of a safe environment, especially in Monroe County.”

At least five counties recently passed resolutions declaring themselves sanctuary counties for gun owners, the Associated Press reports.

In mid-April, Effingham County declared itself a sanctuary for gun owners after a vote that officials said was largely symbolic.


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