Lawmakers introduce red flag law aimed at reducing gun violence

New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new proposed law backed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham would give law enforcement the right to confiscate guns from peoples’ homes who are accused of posing a threat.

As with any piece of gun legislation, you can expect heavy resistance.

While the bill’s sponsors argue this would minimize gun violence, some members of local law enforcement said it is an encroachment on peoples’ constitutional rights.

At a news conference this morning, the governor announced her support for legislation pushed by three Democrats, authorizing extreme-risk protection orders, also known as a red flag law.

“We are introducing it,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “It will be on our call.”

The measure would allow household members and law enforcement to ask a court for an order to temporarily take weapons and ammunition from someone making violent threats.

“It is actually one of the first lines of defense against gun safety in all our communities,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.

Evidence would be presented like social media posts or messages stating the person’s intention to use a firearm to hurt themselves or others.

If a judge determines probable cause, law enforcement would confiscate the weapon and ammo for 15 days. Then, a judge would schedule a hearing to determine if the order should end or be extended one year.

New Mexico gun rights activists and law enforcement have been preparing for this for months. Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace voiced his opposition against the measure on a national podcast in October.

“Our biggest concern is you are denying people due process,” Sheriff Mace said. “You are denying someone’s constitutional right to bear arms without even committing a crime.

However, the bill’s sponsors said it is a way for law enforcement to respond before a tragedy unfolds.

“Too often, the individuals publish and let us know their intentions in advance,” Sen. Joseph Cervantes said. “It is time that we respond quickly.”

Some are also worried about people abusing the red flag law and making false accusations against a gun owner. However, sponsors said there would be fines or jail time for someone making false claims.

Gov. Lujan Grisham said 17 other states and the District of Columbia have red flag laws, most of which passed after the Parkland shooting.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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