Grundy County Board opposes new gun legislation

The Grundy County Public Health Department

GRUNDY COUNTY – The Grundy County Board voiced its opposition to a gun bill that was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

The legislation will prevent the sale, manufacture, possession and purchase of assault-style weapons, assault weapon attachments and .50 caliber cartridges in Illinois. The bill would expedite the implementation of universal background checks, but would not change the age range for Firearm Owners Identification cards.

The Grundy County Board unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Illinois General Assembly HB5471 billed by Democrats as the Protect Communities Act.

“Whereas, proposed legislation, any bills similar to, or any bill under consideration by the Illinois State Legislature which would infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms of commonly owned firearms by the individual citizens of Grundy County, Illinois, is a direct violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S Constitution,” Grundy County Board said in the resolution.

“Now, therefore be it resolved, that the County Board of Grundy County, Illinois, do hereby oppose the enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms and consider such laws to be unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority.”

Grundy County Board Vice-Chairman Drew Muffler spoke in opposition to the bill, claiming Springfield knew it was a “bad bill” but chose to go forward anyway.

“The fear is that we are still going to be left with less freedoms at the end of the day than what we had yesterday – which is unacceptable,” he said.

Grundy County State’s Attorney Russ Baker said the bill was “pandering to the problems in Chicago” and the legislation has “very little teeth to it,” except to “muddy the waters” for legal gun ownership.

Members of the community came forward to state their opposition to the bill stating the law is restricting their Second Amendment rights and infringing upon the freedoms of law-abiding citizens.

“I have owned and safely and responsibly owned firearms for over 50 years and everything on this bill that I see is being imposed on law-abiding citizens,” Gary Matteson of Morris said.

“I would enforce this bill to be passed if they tried it for six months and if they could reduce the crime rate in Chicago by at least 20% in that first six months – great. If not, repeal the bill, bury it and never bring it back up again,” he said.

Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley said his concern for the citizens of Grundy County is minimal. His only concern would be the people who will not comply.

“There are people in Grundy County who have told me they will not comply with this. They are not going to send their information to the state police,” he said.

How are they going to know who isn’t complying? Briley said it is going to come down to traffic violations, such as having an unregistered gun in the car or someone reporting an unregistered firearm as stolen.

“Do I think the state police or any law enforcement agency is going to go to people’s houses just to check? That’s not going to happen. I can tell you it won’t happen in Grundy County. I am not going door to door to determine whether they registered their guns with the state police. As long as they continue to be law-abiding citizens and do the things they have always done, they are not going to have a problem with me,” he said.

Briley said the best way to combat gun violence would be to enforce the laws that are already on the books and if someone wants to commit a crime they are going to do it and this legislation is not going to change it.

“We have provisions in place – we just aren’t doing it. If you want to make a step in the right direction, enforce the laws that are there, make those laws have teeth, and make there be consequences for those people who are doing criminal activity with guns,” he said.

Maribeth M. Wilson

Maribeth M. Wilson has been a reporter with Shaw Media for two years, one of those as news editor at the Morris Herald-News. She became a part of the NewsTribune staff in 2023.