New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the state’s Red Flag law after it passed the House and Senate in New Mexico by slim margins (House vote 39-31, Senate vote 22-20). After she signed the bill the NM Governor told the twenty-nine sheriffs who opposed the red flag law to resign.
“They cannot not enforce. And if they really intend to do that, they should resign as a law enforcement officer and leader in that community… The Legislature had the strength to pass this measure because we all recognize: Enough is enough. This law is sensible and balanced. It is a good public safety measure. If it saves even one life, and it will, we will have done good work here.” NM Gov Grisham
Cannot not? Yep, she not only advised 29 sheriffs to resign but also used a double negative.
The red flag law is opposed by twenty-nine out of the thirty-three county sheriffs in New Mexico. The twenty-nine signed a public statement saying the new laws would not be effective.
The NM Red Flag law allows police to petition the court for an “Extreme Risk Protection Order.” But that petition is based on sworn affidavits from “school administrators, employers, or relatives” The court can remove firearms from persons deemed a threat to themselves or others without being accused of a crime, or charged with one. Once the gun is seized a hearing is set for 10 days later and at the hearing a person can lose their gun rights for one year.
The NM Red flag law also carries a penalty for law enforcement officers who fail to enforce it. It contains a provision in which the District Attorney can petition the court if the Sheriffs or other law enforcement refuse to act on it. But law enforcement officers can be held liable for that refusal under the new law.
New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association President Tony Mace of Cibola County said the new law goes too far by potentially impounding guns before any crime is committed and that he and other sheriffs will assert their discretion over its enforcement.
“We don’t work for the governor, we don’t work for the Legislature,” he said. “We work for the people that elected us into office.”
New Mexico lawmakers last year expanded background check requirements to most private gun sales and banned firearms possession for people under permanent protective orders for domestic violence.
Highlighting discontent in rural communities, elected commissioners declared Roosevelt County a “sanctuary” for Second Amendment guarantees on Tuesday, recognizing the right of the local sheriff “not to enforce any unconstitutional firearms law against any citizens.” The county of roughly 20,000 residents adjacent to Texas is the latest of at least a dozen New Mexico counties to embrace the sanctuary label.
“You’re just taking guns out of law-abiding citizen’s hands,” Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton said. “This is not going to affect the criminals out there. They’re going to be able to get guns, and they do not follow the law.” Helton added that the four laws were either redundant or unconstitutional. And he won’t enforce the unconstitutional ones.“I’m proud to say I’m a constitutional sheriff and I’m just not going to enforce an unconstitutional law,” Helton said. “My oath prevents me from doing that.”
Grant County Sheriff Frank Gomez is joining with other New Mexico sheriffs in opposition to the Red Flag Law:
Basically, Gomez said he is against taking firearms from the homes of law-abiding citizens. “I’m not for the bills,” Gomez stated. “Maybe there needs to be more thorough background checks, but as for taking guns away from people, no, sir! It’s our constitutional right to have them.”
Gomez also stated that perhaps there needed to be more education regarding responsible gun ownership and the safe handling of firearms.
The twenty-nine sheriffs who oppose the law are proving that they believe in the constitution and the law rather than making a political point. I pray that the legislators listen to the sheriffs who are on the front lines fighting crime. If they don’t these legislators should all be voted out of office.
Below is a video of a news report about the Sheriffs’ statement opposing the law.
Read more at Lid Blog