The battle over a controversial gun law is heating up once again after the Secretary of State rejected a petition from Republicans for a second time.
Republicans want to force a public vote on Senate Bill 8 that requires background checks on private gun sales.
“It’s apparent that they’re going to really extreme lengths to try and discount voters in New Mexico from participating in this decision, and I think it’s unfortunate,” House Minority Leader James Townsend said.
Townsend submitted a revamped referendum to Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, after their first request was denied. The Secretary of State cited technical issues with the original petition, and said that this is a public safety issue so it doesn’t necessarily qualify for a public vote.
Sheriffs argue it’s unenforcable and will only burden law-abiding gun owners. Democrats say Republicans are simply grasping at straws.
“In my opinion, this is just a shot from the NRA and the Republican Party to try and stop this great bill that will be enforced after the first of July of this year,” Sen. Richard Martinez said.
If the petition had been approved, it would have allowed Republicans to gather signatures to potentially put the issue on the ballot.
Townsend says he’s going to continue to fight the issue saying “every opition is on the table.” That would likely include a lawsuit.