In a four-page statement released Tuesday, Aug. 21, Mclean County State's Attorney Ronald Dozier pointed to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, holding that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution "is fully applicable to the states."
"We will no longer use the power and authority of our office to criminalize and punish decent otherwise law-abiding citizens who chose to exercise their rights granted under them by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and their families," Dozier's statement read, in part.
Dozier, who was appointed in December as state's attorney until a new chief prosecutor was elected in November, said he has been "quietly changing our policies to bring them in accordance with the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court."
Mclean County is a largest Illinois county in area, and includes the cities of Bloomington and Normal.
Illinois currently has the most restrictive firearms laws in the country, and is the only state that does not allow individuals to carry concealed weapons for personal protection.
Dozier's action received the support of other prosecutors as well as law enforcement leaders.
Edwards County State's Attorney Mike Valentine released a companion statement defending Dozier's action, and while admitting he shares the prosecutor's belief, McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery said his deputies would continue to enforce Illinois' gun laws.
"Many share the same belief as our state's attorney, including me. However, until the governor signs legislation creating CCW, all firearms have to be unloaded and cased and for transport to be legal and the owner must possess a FOID (Firearms Owners Identification) card," Sheriff Emery told The Bloomington Pantagraph newspaper.
"I advised sheriff's office law enforcement staff that we will not change our enforcement policies and that we shall continue to enforce the laws of the state of Illinois as they currently exist."