McHenry County approves resolution denouncing new state gun ban

Resolution argues it could harm local businesses and make ‘felons out of law-abiding citizens’

People listen to speakers Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, during the public comment period at the McHenry County Board meeting about the proposed resolution opposing the Illinois gun ban and supporting its repeal in the Illinois State Legislature.

During an at-times contentious meeting filled with public comment and back-and-forth questions about civil liberties, safety and morality, the McHenry County Board passed a resolution opposing Illinois’ recent gun ban.

The resolution argues that the legislation is a violation of citizens’ Second Amendment rights but did not create a gun sanctuary, a move some, including the McHenry County Republican Party, had pushed for.

The resolution denounces the new law and calls for its repeal, arguing it could harm local businesses and make “felons out of law-abiding citizens.”

The final vote was 11-6, with the board’s five Democrats, as well as Michael Skala, R-Huntley, voting against it.

The law, passed in January, bans more than 100 different guns from being purchased, most of which are semi-automatic rifles, as well as different attachments, and creates ammunition caps for certain guns. It also requires those who already own the guns listed in the bill to register them with the Illinois State Police by 2024.

All told, roughly 40 people spoke at the meeting about the resolution, with support for the resolution split almost evenly. Throughout, comments were met with a mixture of cheers and jeers.

Crystal Lake resident Krista Huffman said she’s been hunting and likes to go target shooting. She is also part of a women’s shooting league and feels a lot of the laws already on the books aimed at limiting gun violence are not enforced.

“I don’t understand why removing these from my possession would stop an unstable person from harming others,” Huffman said.

County Board member Jim Kearns, R-Huntley, said he doesn’t believe the issue is guns.

“It’s a lot of other issues,” he said.

On the opposing side, Woodstock resident Janice Bosman noted the number of mass shootings that have occurred in recent years and said she felt the resolution represented the county siding against the law.

“High-powered guns, whatever you may call them, are created for a specific purpose,” she said. “It is time to support [the gun ban].”

County Board member Theresa Meshes, D-Fox River Grove, said the resolution is to placate supporters of the Second Amendment, and said the rhetoric surrounding it is “dangerous.”

“This is not representative of what the county wants,” Meshes said.

The resolution was first considered in January at the county’s Law and Government meeting. More than 100 people attended that meeting, and nearly 40 spoke during the meeting’s public comment period.

Some committee members took issue with wording in the resolution, which they described as “inflammatory.”

The resolution approved Tuesday is different than the original draft. It includes past Supreme Court rulings, notes the law was passed in a lame-duck session of the State Legislature, and removes wording that supported McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman’s announcement that he would not enforce the law’s registration provision.

The resolution does throw its support behind County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally, who filed a lawsuit in January seeking to declare the law unconstitutional.