Monday was the deadline to register banned assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines and attachments with the Illinois State Police. Data released Tuesday show many Illinois gun owners are not in compliance.

Gary Hutchens of Decatur fires an AR-15 rifle at the Bullet Trap rifle and pistol range in Macon on Wednesday.

ISP data found 29,357 individuals completed disclosures between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, up from 15,100 last week. Of the 112,350 total disclosures, 68,992 were firearms, 42,830 accessories and 528 ammunition.

Noncompliant gun owners are subject to Class A misdemeanor upon the first offense and Class 3 felony for the second and subsequent offenses. A Class 3 felony could land violators up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

That is, of course, if law enforcement arrests violators. Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell is among 94 sheriffs in Illinois saying they will not.

Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell

The only case in which his deputies would arrest a violator of the state registry is if they are also facing other, more severe charges.

"We disagree constitutionally with this law," Campbell told The State Journal-Register Wednesday. "Our plan moving forward is to use discretion and to educate the people as to what the law says."

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The registration moved forward late last month after a southern Illinois federal judge declined to issue an injunction to delay its implementation. Challengers argued the law violated the Second and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn will still allow for a full review of the legal challenges facing the ban.

The decision to continue the registry did not inspire many of its detractors to comply. The nearly 30,000 who did register made up just more than 1% of the state's 2.4 million Firearm Owner Identification card holders. How many FOID card holders own banned weapons or accessories, however, is not known.

Some like former Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to say he would "die on my porch before I give up my guns."

It's approaching a year since Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act into law, which grandfathered those with banned weapons before Jan. 10, 2023, to keep them if they registered with ISP. Motivated by the Highland Park Fourth of July 2022 shooting, Illinois became the ninth state to ban assault weapons.

The law has been challenged several times on the state and federal levels with rulings mostly in favor of the state. Among them, the U.S. Supreme Court declined two requests to block enforcement in December, including one from state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur.

Pritzker has been named as a defendant in many of the cases and has stood by the merits of the law.

“I still believe that – as everybody that voted on the law and voted for it – that this is not only a legal undertaking and an appropriate undertaking to keep and safeguard the people of the state of Illinois, but a constitutional one too,” he said at an unrelated event in Springfield last month.

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Campbell said he will wait for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling before enforcing the state law.

"I don't like the position I've been put in because normally we say we don't write the laws, we just enforce them," he said. "But I was asked before... 'Why is this different? And are there other laws that you don't like that you're not going to enforce?' And the answer is no because I've not in 30 years seen a law passed that I felt violated our constitutional rights as clearly as this one did."

"This the only time I've ever taken this position, I don't anticipate ever doing this again."

Lawmakers are expected to return to Springfield on Jan. 16. Then, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will convene to discuss codifying registry rules. Temporary emergency orders have been in place since October that will expire in late February if no permanent rule is in place.

Contact Patrick M. Keck: 312-549-9340, [email protected],