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Hundreds of people flooded a DuPage County board meeting to speak out about the sheriff’s statement against enforcing the state’s assault weapons ban

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More than 200 people gathered at the DuPage County Board meeting in Wheaton on Tuesday, where DuPage Sheriff James Mendrick issued a statement earlier this month that he would not enforce the state’s new assault weapons ban. Afterwards, I heard their voices.

After public comment, Deborah Conroy, the Democratic chairman of DuPage County, said she plans to introduce a resolution condemning the sheriff’s remarks at her next board meeting on Feb. 14. Conroy said words matter and the impact of what we say can be “sometimes dangerous.”

“I feel the board needs to be assured that the sheriff is focused on the safety of our residents and is not engaging in inflammatory political rhetoric,” Conroy said.

Mr. Mendrick, a Republican, has previously considered the new law unconstitutional, and his office does not verify that legal gun owners register their weapons with the state, allowing them to comply with the law. He said he would not arrest or detain anyone who has been indicted for nothing.

Dozens of sheriffs around Illinois have also declared that they will not enforce a ban on new assault weapons.

Last week, several DuPage County Democrats and some residents called on him to retract his statement or resign. Long a stronghold of the Republican Party, the DuPage County Board now consists of 10 Democrats and his eight Republicans.

Several state and federal Democratic lawmakers on Monday also called on Mendrick to retract his statement.

Republican DuPage County board member Sam Tonatore speaks at Tuesday's board meeting.
Democrat Liz Chaplin, a member of the DuPage County Board of Governors, is attending the board meeting in Wheaton on Tuesday.

After Conroy’s announcement at Tuesday’s conference, Republican DuPage County Commission member James Zay said he supported the sheriff, not in favor of the accusations.

“I stand by the sheriff and his right to speak out on the issue of this conduct,” Zay said.

Sam Tornatore, a member of the Republican County Commission, expressed concern to Zay about the condemnation resolution, arguing that it must include open discussion.

“My only question is, will it make us better, or will it unite us, or will it continue to divide us further?” he said.

Democratic county commissioner Liz Chaplin has accused Mendrick of spreading misinformation and offending voters by posting a statement on the official DuPage County Sheriff’s Facebook page. said to support the

“He demonstrates a lack of the integrity, judgment and professionalism necessary to carry out his duties,” Chaplin said.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting, which lasted more than an hour, several members of the audience showed signs of support for gun rights in particular and for Mendrick in general. I did. He could not be reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

DuPage County Board Chairman Deborah Conroy speaks at the board meeting in Wheaton on Tuesday. After her public comments, she said she plans to introduce a resolution condemning DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick at the next Board meeting on Feb. 14.
Supporters of DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick will rally outside the DuPage County Administration Building in Wheaton on Tuesday before the DuPage County Board of Governors.

“Today’s public comment drew more people than I have ever seen in my four years on this board,” said DuPage County Board Member Dawn, a Democrat representing the 5th District. says DeSart.

West Chicago resident Joe Cosentino believes the new assault weapon ban will embolden criminals and deprive legal gun owners of their Second Amendment rights.

“Criminals are still trying to get guns, whether there’s a law in place or not,” Cosentino said, referring to gun owner identification. They don’t have FOID in the first place.” “Just as the board is asking Sheriff Mendrick to do so, I ask those calling for him to resign to do the same. I allow you to interfere with

Tom Martin, 65, of DuPage County, said he is a sportsman and supports the right to bear arms. However, he said the government is designed with separate departments and that sheriffs do not have the right to decide whether to enforce the law.

“I call on the Board to do everything it can to reprimand Sheriff Mendrick,” Martin said.

On Friday, an Effingham County judge temporarily blocked an assault weapons ban from being enforced for more than 850 people named in lawsuits filed in the county and a small number of licensed gun dealers. The judge has set a hearing for February 1st. This order applies only to plaintiffs in this case.

The lawsuit was brought by Downstate attorney Thomas DeVore, who was defeated last year as the Republican Attorney General’s nominee, and has since been sued by more than 1,000 people in Downstate White County, including former state senators and Republicans. filed a separate lawsuit against the Assault Weapons Ban listing the plaintiffs of Gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey and about 70 gun dealers.

mejones@chicagotribun.com

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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