New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a red-flag gun bill Tuesday that will allow state district courts to order the temporary surrender of firearms, and she urged sheriffs to resign if they still refuse to enforce it.
Flanked by advocates for stricter gun control and supportive law enforcement officials at a signing ceremony, Lujan Grisham said the legislation provides law enforcement authorities with an urgently needed tool to deter deadly violence by temporarily removing firearms from people who pose a threat to themselves or others.
Some sheriffs from mostly rural areas opposed the bill in committee hearings as a violation of constitutional guarantees to due process, free speech and the right to bear arms. Public rallies were held for and against the legislation.
Lujan Grisham said sheriffs should have the opportunity to oppose any proposed policy change, but “they cannot not enforce.”
“If they really intend to do that, they should resign as a law enforcement officer and leader in that community,” she said.
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.
This year’s red-flag legislation allows police and sheriffs’ deputies to petition a court for the surrender of household firearms within 48 hours from people who appear to pose a danger to themselves or others. Full Credits CBS News