Jones, Kuhns Announce Their Plans Concerning HB5471


Published on January 13 2023 8:36 am
Last Updated on January 13 2023 10:40 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham County State's Attorney Aaron Jones and Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns have both announced that they will not be prosecuting or enforcing the portion of the new assault weapons ban concerning registration of firearms or ammunition.


Aaron Jones Effingham

State's Attorney Jones released this statement Thursday evening:

"On January 10, 2023, Governor Pritzker signed into law House Bill 5471. This law criminalizes the possession of firearms defined therein as “assault weapons”, as well as magazines above a certain capacity, among other restrictions.

In the past few days, I have been flooded with calls and messages from concerned citizens within Effingham County. Like many of you, I am very concerned by the passage of House Bill 5471. This statute clearly touches on fundamental constitutional rights and appears to be in contradiction with recent and binding United States Supreme Court precedent on the Second Amendment.

On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, overturning a New York gun safety law. In so ruling, the Supreme Court stated: “the Second Amendment protects the possession and use of weapons that are ‘in common use at the time.’”

Regardless of the policy reasons for the enactment of House Bill 5471, it is plainly at odds with the Bruen decision. For instance, House Bill 5471 bans many of the most popular firearms and components in America, firearms and components that are currently in common use for lawful purposes and which law-abiding citizens have legally owned for many years. Accordingly, I fully expect a strong court challenge to House Bill 5471 in the near future.

Therefore, pending further direction by the courts and in accordance with my sworn oath to protect the United States Constitution, my office will exercise strict prosecutorial discretion in circumstances relating to enforcement of House Bill 5471, ensuring that the clearly-defined Second Amendment rights of our citizens remain undiminished. While my office remains committed to protecting the citizens of Effingham County by prosecuting violent crimes, I have no intention of turning otherwise law-abiding citizens into convicted felons solely due to non-compliance with House Bill 5471."


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Sheriff Kuhns released a similar statement Friday morning. It is as follows:

"I generally refrain from making public statements expressing and explaining policy decisions. I have had so many calls from people wanting to know how my Office will react to HB 5471 that I feel I need to respond. This message is for all of the citizens of Effingham County who pay their taxes, go to work, raise their children, support their communities, and usually never have negative contact with their police.

When I first read HB 5471, I was shocked by how many commonly used firearms were on the ban list. This law would, in short order, make criminals out of hundreds of otherwise law-abiding Effingham County Citizens. In my opinion, I cannot believe that HB 5471 can exist in conjunction with our Second Amendment, especially when we consider recent Supreme Court decisions that uphold a citizen’s right to possess and use weapons that, “are in common use at the time”. Using this example alone, it is my opinion that HB5471 will be quickly challenged in the Courts.

For this reason, until further direction from our courts, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office will not expend the resources of Effingham County to ensure law-abiding gun owners are registering their firearms with the State, or arresting, otherwise law-abiding individuals, solely for their noncompliance with HB5471.

That being said, this office will take any steps legally available to us to stop those who would bring violence to our communities and harm our citizens with a firearm, or any other means.

I am troubled by the division and violence that is taking place today in our country. I take this Office and my oath seriously. The Staff of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office will continue to do everything in their power to protect our community and, as I swore on December 1st, 'I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Effingham County Sheriff to the best of my abilities, so help me God'".