State’s Attorney Will Refuse to Prosecute Ban on ‘Assault Weapons’

State’s Attorney Brandon Zanotti speaks at a Legislative Summit. (Photo: Facebook)

Brandon Zanotti, the local state’s attorney in Williamson County, Illinois, says he will not enforce new gun legislation if it becomes law.  The pronouncement was made at a town hall meeting in Marion, Illinois this week.

“If you’re not a felon and you’re not using it for criminal purposes we are not going to prosecute you for it,” Zanotti said.  “I think we need to be careful before we start passing all of these bills that start banning everything without again taking a common sense approach.”

Zanotti is referring to Senate Bill 107.  The Bill, which was introduced in the Illinois Senate on January 23, 2019, is currently assigned to the Judiciary committee.

If the Bill passes, the new law will ban the possession, delivery, sale and purchase of “assault weapons.”  A first offense violation of the law would be a Class 3 Felony.  A Class 3 Felony carries a prison sentence of 2 to 5 years, as well as up to $25,000 in fines.

Zanotti explained that if the law passes he is not looking to make felons out of what he considers “good southern Illinois people” who use these weapons to protect themselves, hunt or shoot competitively.

“I’m not interested in adding a whole stack to my case load when it comes to just good decent people just trying to continue their hobby or just having them for their own personal protection purposes,” Zanotti continued.

“This is not a crime if that gets passed that I am going to prosecute,” Zanotti said.

Some wonder whether a prosecutor can just choose not to prosecute someone for violating a law that’s on the books.  The answer is: Yes, he can.

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There is a State’s Attorney elected for each county in Illinois.  The State’s Attorney is a constitutional officer elected by the people and has broad discretion in choosing which cases to prosecute.  No person or entity can force the State’s Attorney to bring charges.  The only check on his charging discretion is by the people, who get to choose the State’s Attorney in their county during an election held every four years.

Zanotti indicated that he has not yet spoken with the State’s Attorneys in other counties, but he plans on asking them to join him in refusing to prosecute gun owners who are not committing other crimes if the law passes.

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About the author: John Thomas is a U.S. Navy veteran, and a former prosecutor and defense attorney with over 20 years of experience in state and federal courts. He has handled everything from traffic tickets to first-degree murder cases and is a long-time supporter of Second Amendment rights and the rights of individuals to defend themselves, their families and their property.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • MASTERMECH48 February 8, 2019, 11:25 pm

    Recognition that the “Assault Weapon”, ones capable of AUTOMATIC OPERATION, are pretty much taken care of from other rules of the past. The “AR” rifle is made by Armalite which does have both a semi and automatic rifle both of the same caliber, 5.56 NATO or .223. The term “Assault Rifle” is soooo missssed used and over hyped.

  • mikeb February 8, 2019, 5:44 pm

    Obama and Holder were prime examples of not prosecuting laws on the books.

  • Larry Hasbro February 8, 2019, 5:05 pm

    DEMORATS AND LIBERALS ARE THE RUINATION OF OUR GREAT COUNTRY FOR EVERY TRUE AMERICAN CITIZEN
    TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020

  • Area 52 February 8, 2019, 2:59 pm

    Even though I don’t live in his county or state, I be willing to donate to his next re election.

  • Lenny F February 8, 2019, 1:09 pm

    Recognition that the “Assault Weapon” (aren’t all weapons made in this group?) is not more lethal than any other weapon is a start. It is important to mention that large capacity magazines give one man the firepower to defend against multiple aggressors. It is important to know that an AR-15 is better to use for defense than offense. It is even better to know that these rifles are not used in many crimes in comparison to a handgun.
    But all of this is unimportant when you factor in the thinking power of most politicians, who fail to see how many other things can be a lot more lethal, and still unregulated.
    I used to sell guns at a store that had a firing range. I have seen people shoot themselves in their hand because they covered the barrel of their handgun while cocking it. That is stupid, of course, but that does not usually happen with a long gun. We don’t even hear much about people accidentally shooting themselves with long guns unless they screw up in the woods.

  • James Steele February 8, 2019, 12:29 pm

    Them Dumbass Democrats Thinks By Passing More Laws Against our 2nd Amendment To Take Away our Guns And or Tax Ammo By 50% to reduce our Ammo and Guns. They Dumb As Them Brainless Zombie’s They Show On TV The Zombies Democrat Party Socialist Communist Assholes. The Democrat Swaswell I Think That’s Who He Is From California Said If We Don’t Give Up Our Guns, They Had Plenty Of Nukes And Would Nuke The People’s Houses. They Don’t Have Enough Nukes!!!! Them Democrats Don’t Want The People To Have Protection, But They Won’t Give Up Their Body Guards Who Carry Guns. Them Same Low Life Bitches and Bastards Don’t Won’t The USA Citizens To Have Border Wall Protection And Gun Protection But They Have Damn Walls Up Around Their Mansions And Gun Toting Guards With Guns.
    I Say Them Democrats Should Be First To Give Up Their Personal Protection Guards And Tear Their Border Walls Around Their Mansions Down Now Immediately!!!!
    The People In South Carolina Will Not Give Up Their Guns , Ammo!!! So They Best Start Nuking South Carolina’s People Now!!!! I’m Personally Friends With The Local Sheriff & Town Police Chief. We Talk and They And Our State Capital Representative’s Says They Support The 2nd Amendment And The States Legal Gun Owners Will Not Give Up Their Guns. I will say theirs many other States That Will Not Give Up Their Personal Protections 2nd Amendment. So Them Low Life Democrats That’s Trying To Destroy The USA Best Build A Whole Lot Of Fucking Nukes. They Will Need Them!!! Only The Dumbest People Which Comes From California, New York Needs To Be Nuked!!!!
    The Democrats Want To Protect Them Damn Illegal Imigrates & MS13 Pussies And Kill The Babies That’s Popping Out Of Women. The Bitches That’s Wanting To Kill Them Babies Should Be Smart Enough Not To Be Whores, Sluts and Should Take Birth Control To Prevent Murder On Their Production Of Murdering Innocent Babies. The Governor’s Of These States Should Be In Prison And Executed By The States They Represent. Also They Governors Of Sanctuary City States Should Be Elimated From Office And Held For Any Rapes, Murders, Assualts Caused By Any Crimes Caused By Their Dumbass Fucking Laws!!!!!
    Again We Won’t Give Up Our Fucking Guns or Ammo. Theirs More Guns And Ammo In The Ground Buried For The Days If The Democratic Government Starts Trying To Take Away Guns. They Won’t Get The Very Best Ones And Majorty Of Them. I Give You Permission To Publise My Information I Wrote And You May Take My Profanity Out If You Choose So or Can Leave It In It. Your Decision.
    Thank You For Accepting My Comments
    James Steele In South Carolina

  • SuperG February 8, 2019, 10:34 am

    One day I hope to see a ban on liberalism.

    • Alex February 8, 2019, 12:09 pm

      One day I hope to see a ban on letting people capitalize every word in a sentence. ^
      |

      • Winston February 9, 2019, 1:05 am

        Since you have no concern to comment upon the subject matter, you post off topic.

    • Winston February 8, 2019, 12:23 pm

      Americans will have to dislodge the Boston-NYC-Hollywood Coast ruling class from the halls of power before the deconstructionism is stopped. Who’s up for that leading that task, because it’s not going to be Trump, Pence, Rush Limbaugh nor Fox News that will be leading that charge.

      • Scumbuster February 9, 2019, 9:38 pm

        If not RUSH, Pres DONALD, VP. Pense, Fox News, Levin ETC. leading the charge…………………………….
        ……………………………………then WHO? Thomas Jefferson said a revolt, with blood, is needed every few years or was it decades? The CONSTITUTION is written in STONE. We can’t allow demosocialists to change it OR rewrite our history. The Stars and Bars, and monuments and statues of Southern Generals etc. ARE part of our history and if rewritten we might, someday, repeat it. As it is, the non-Whites will take over the nation in 50 years. They are OUT-BIRTHING the Whites who are 90% responsible for the
        power and greatness of the USA. I could say much more but, Chew on that!

  • Paul Wyckoff February 8, 2019, 9:18 am

    Assault weapons guns ,knives ,hammers baseball bats. cars. fists feet .trucks .golf clubs ,What else should we ban to stop assaults?

  • krinkov5.45 February 8, 2019, 8:54 am

    The thing is the laws are the books, politicians….. L I E!!!??? this guy won’t live forever or be AG forever., and it’s only one county. You’re hosed.

  • Edi February 8, 2019, 8:40 am

    What is their definition of “assault weapon”? What a f’n joke.

  • joefoam February 8, 2019, 7:48 am

    I keep asking myself why the LEOs are exempted from all these ‘assault weapons’ bans. Are they planning to assault the public? Do they need high capacity magazines that supposedly enable a shooter to kill more while supposedly protecting us? No common sense employed by lawmakers but it appears that the AG has some.

  • AK February 8, 2019, 7:38 am

    This is where it begins, like the Colorado sheriffs who refuse to enforce the +15 round magazine ban.

    Hallelujah…..

  • Alan February 8, 2019, 7:29 am

    Sounds like a good man. I wish we would have had a DA in our county with guts and common sense when I was on the job, instead of the political weasel we were stuck with.

  • Tim February 8, 2019, 6:29 am

    Looks like that county elected someone with common sense. What an absolute breath of fresh air in a day in age of prosecutors and politicians looking to make a name for themselves at the expense of justice and common sense. I applaud him and the good people who were wise enough to elect him.

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