ROBINSON, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) – “If further gun control were the solution, the problem would’ve been solved a long time ago,” State Rep. Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) said.

Niemerg and several local Sheriffs held a press conference on the recently passed assault weapons ban in Illinois at the Crawford County Courthouse on Thursday.

All who spoke strongly oppose the new law.

Niemerg opened the press conference with strong remarks in opposition to the assault rifle ban. He said that this new law infringes upon the rights of honest citizens and is a violation of the 2nd amendment.

Jasper County Sheriff Brandon Francis stood alongside Rep. Niemerg at the podium in the courtroom. He said that he has no fear in not enforcing the ban.

“When I took my oath as Sheriff, the second line in my oath was to uphold the constitution,” Francis said.

Crawford County Sheriff William Rutan explained that this law doesn’t follow the spirit of the law. He suggested that there are different ways to curb gun violence and crime.

“It’s the difference between the spirit of the law and the letter of the law,” Rutan explained. “Are we going to be able to get the safety results by doing something different than what the law states? Yes we can.”

An emphasis on mental health services was suggested as one method to curb violence. Rutan said that he has more certified counselors helping those in jail than ever before.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is firm on his stance that this law is constitutional

“This is a constitutional law,” Pritzker stated. “We’re the ninth state to pass and sign into law an assault weapons ban that will save lives.”

Niemerg joined hundreds of others in the lawsuit challenging the bill. He said that the ban is an abuse of power.

“Coming into our counties and coming into the State of Illinois and stripping folks of our second amendment rights for a political narrative doesn’t solve the problem,” Niemerg said.

Although he said he will not enforce the law, Sheriff Rutan said he thinks roughly 90% of Crawford County residents may own guns that could fall under the legislation.

Lawrence County Sheriff Trenton Masterson was also at the press conference.