New Mexico: Sheriffs fight gun-control bills with ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary County’ resolutions

New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe. (By Zack Frank/Shutterstock.com)

By MARY HUDETZ,  Associated Press  ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) 02/15 — A handful of rural counties in New Mexico are passing resolutions saying they will not require their sheriffs to enforce a sweeping slate of gun-control proposals that have gone before state lawmakers.

The “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” resolutions are being presented by sheriffs to commissioners in dozens of counties, according to the head of the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association.

So far, commissioners in at least four counties situated in some of the most remote pockets of New Mexico have passed the resolutions in the past week, Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace said. He expects more county commissions to be presented with similar resolutions at their upcoming meetings, he said.

The resolutions represent the sheriffs’ latest attempt at pushing back against legislation supported by Gov. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who took office in January, after the lawmen expressed opposition to the bills for weeks in legislative committee hearings, arguing they are unconstitutional.

“The key thing to remember is this is all a burden on responsible gun owners,” Mace said. “We’re here to protect people’s individual rights.”

The New Mexico proposals include a bill that would expand requirements for background checks on private gun sales. Another measure would allow for courts to order people deemed threatening to temporarily surrender their guns to law enforcement.

The background-check initiative has cleared both chambers of the Democrat-led Legislature, and a Senate vote still is pending on a bill that would make it easier to take guns from people deemed suicidal or bent on violence.

The counties that this week declared themselves Second Amendment “sanctuaries” include Quay, Union and Curry counties in eastern New Mexico, and Socorro County, situated in the middle of the state and about an hour’s drive south of Albuquerque, the state’s largest city.

Mace said he expects commissioners will weigh the resolution next week in Cibola County, where he is sheriff. The county dotted by small towns amid mountains, mesas and open desert is on the western side of the state.

The New Mexico sheriffs’ push for the resolutions is inspired by a similar effort in Washington state, Mace said. A dozen sheriffs there are refusing to enforce new restrictions on semi-automatic rifles until the courts decide whether they are constitutional — a move that prompted a warning from the state’s attorney general.

The voter-approved Washington law raises the minimum age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, requires buyers to pass a firearms safety course, and adds expanded background checks and gun storage requirements.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in an open letter to law enforcement this week that law enforcement officers could potentially be held responsible if they don’t perform expanded background checks under the new voter-approved laws and then someone who should not have a weapon buys one and uses it in a crime.

A spokesman for the attorney general in New Mexico did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the county resolutions in his state.

In an email, Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the governor, said the “commonsense firearm safety measures” would not infringe on New Mexicans’ constitutional rights.

“These resolutions mark an expression of opinion, and that’s fine,” Stelnicki said. “State law will be followed.”

In New Mexico, the gun-control bills mirror measures that have become laws in numerous other states, following tragedies both in the state and elsewhere that include the school shooting Valentine’s Day, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was the deadliest high school shooting in the nation’s history, killing 14 students and three staff members.

In New Mexico, both a deadly shooting at New Mexico’s Aztec High School in December 2017 and an episode just on Thursday at a Rio Rancho high school in which police say a student fired a handgun in a hallway are fueling arguments for the legislation among Democratic lawmakers in Santa Fe. No one was harmed in the shooting at V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuquerque.

 

Posted in: Civil Rights, Firearms, Gun Control, Legislation, Politics, Public Policy, Sanctuary Cities/States, Sheriffs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seventeen − 9 =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.