By Megan Jones
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DUPAGE COUNTY, Ill. — DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick will not face possible censure from the DuPage County Board after he agreed to enforce “all state and local laws” after a discussion which included talk about the state’s new assault weapons ban with DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy and DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, according to a joint statement from the three released Monday.
Mendrick, a Republican, faced backlash after making a statement earlier this month that he would not enforce the state’s new assault weapons ban, leading to several Democratic legislators calling on him to retract his statement.
Conroy, a Democrat, said during last week’s DuPage County Board meeting that she planned to introduce a resolution at the board’s next meeting to censure the sheriff for his statement.
More than 200 people showed up at the board meeting last week to let their feelings be known — both pro and con — concerning Mendrick’s comments.
On Monday, in a joint statement, Conroy, Mendrick and Berlin said they “engaged in a meaningful conversation during which they discussed their shared commitment to the safety of DuPage County residents.”
After clarifying that enforcing the assault weapons ban does not demand that “deputies go door to door seeking to remove weapons from those licensed to own them,” the statement said that Mendrick is committed to “enforcing all state and local laws.”
The statement said that Conroy is committed to supporting the sheriff’s office and will no longer pursue a censure resolution at this time.
“All parties look forward to positive, productive collaboration on important initiatives that will keep DuPage residents safe and ensure the security of our communities moving forward,” the officials said in the statement.
Mendrick previously said he believes the new legislation is unconstitutional and said his office wouldn’t be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the state nor arresting nor housing anyone charged solely with not complying with the act.
Dozens of sheriffs around Illinois have declared they will not enforce the new assault weapons ban.
The DuPage County Board, previously a Republican stronghold, is now made up of 10 Democrats and eight Republicans. During the board meeting last week, members spoke out both in favor of and in opposition to a move to censure Mendrick.
On Jan. 20, an Effingham County judge temporarily blocked the assault weapons ban from being enforced on more than 850 people and a handful of licensed gun dealers named in a lawsuit filed in the county. The judge set a hearing for Wednesday on the matter. The order only applies to the plaintiffs in the case.
That lawsuit was filed by downstate attorney Thomas DeVore, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for attorney general last year, who later filed another lawsuit against the assault weapons ban, in downstate White County, that lists more than 1,000 plaintiffs, including former state senator and GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey and some 70 firearms dealers.
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