MACOMB — McDonough County Sheriff Nick Petitgout introduced his new chief deputy, Adam Cremer, to the county board's law and legal committee Monday.
The sheriff said that Cremer would be the committee's chief contact for his office. Petitgout said that Cremer would continue to coordinate the McDonough County Crimestoppers program.
The sheriff also reported that the average prisoner population in the county jail was 32 in June. Petitgout said his staff had "great" success in solving burglary cases and making drug arrests in recent weeks.
In other business, a local group requested county board endorsement of the county as a "sanctuary county" for 2nd Amendment rights. J. P. McLaughlin, a small business owner who teaches weapons training and sells guns, said 27 Illinois counties have already passed such resolutions.
Another member of the group, Marcus Hess, said, "This is a fundamental liberty issue, We want to send a message."
The committee was asked to recommend a resolution opposing state enactment of anti-gun legislation. A draft document stated, "The people of McDonough County derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and shooting using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution."
McLaughlin said, "We need to send a message to Springfield and Chicago." He said that he has trained 800 people in the safe use of firearms.
State's Attorney Matt Kwacala said he considers the proposed resolution "more of a PR thing." He said it wouldn't have legal standing. "Once a law is passed, it's presumed to be the law unless a court says differently."
Kwacala said he opposed one section in the proposed resolution that stated "McDonough County will prohibit its employees from enforcing the unconstitutional actions of the state government."
He said he cannot endorse ignoring any state law.
County Board Chairman Scott Schwerer agreed, "Disobeying the law can lead to anarchy," he said. "That's not the way I would want us to go."
Committee member Clarke Kelso moved that the resolution be recommended with the objected language removed. The committee approved the recommendation with one dissent, from member Alice Henry.
Noting the support of other Illinois counties, McLaughlin said, "I'm not normally a bandwagon person but this issue is hitting close to home....It's catching on nationwide."

Reach Patrick Stout by email at pstout@mcdonoughvoice.com