Yorkville police chief says new Illinois weapons law puts police in a tough spot

Yorkville Police Chief Jim Jensen talks during the city's Thursday, Nov. 7 public safety committee meeting at City Hall in Yorkville.

YORKVILLE – The Yorkville Police Department is following the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s guidelines for handling violations of the state’s new semi-automatic weapons ban.

There would be no point in filing charges, Yorkville Police Chief Jim Jensen said, because Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis has made it clear that his office will not prosecute cases involving the new law until its constitutionality has been decided.

Police would be vulnerable to lawsuits if they made arrests given the challenges that are being raised against the new law, Jensen said.

“It puts us in a very precarious position,” Jensen said. “It leaves our officers open to liability issues.”

Weis is telling local law enforcement agencies to document the violation but hold off on filing charges.

However, Jensen said he believes that cases involving the new law are unlikely, noting that such weapons are not something that Yorkville police commonly come across.

“We don’t see this stuff now,” Jensen said. “I’m not concerned we are going to have a bunch of cases.”

If a police officer discovers a violation, the officer would take photographs and write up a report that includes the weapon’s serial number, Jensen said.

“We would document it that way,” Jensen said.

Asked to estimate how many semi-automatic weapons might be in the hands of Yorkville residents, Jensen replied: “No clue.”

Jensen also was asked for his opinion of the new law.

“I believe in the Second Amendment. I carry my duty weapon not because I like to or want to, but because it’s my job,” Jensen said. “My personal opinion doesn’t matter.”

And for the record, police will not be raiding people’s homes to confiscate weapons.

“Yorkville police will not be doing that,” Jensen said.