Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed Senate Bill 8, which will now require background checks for guns sold privately and at gun shows.
However, the question remains: How will law enforcement know if buyers and sellers are even bothering to follow the law?
This law seems to heavily rely on the honor system. It will also rely on sheriffs enforcing a law they have come out against, which is something the governor addressed Friday.
“Even the sheriffs who brought these resolutions know these men and women who dedicate their lives to law enforcement, they will follow the law. They will enforce this law, they will do their job and duty,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
Private gun sales will soon have to go through a federal firearms licensee to do a federal instant background check. However, law enforcement officials say it would have to be based on a type of honor system: hope people follow the law in the first place, then hope if a criminal is caught with a gun he fesses up as to who he got it from, and then of course, prove the seller ignored the background check law.
As for pursuing those cases, Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage says they would much rather spend their time focusing on felony crimes.
“So why would we even bother spending very scarce, very expensive man-hours on investigating a misdemeanor crime?” he said.
Although more than a dozen counties across the state declared themselves as ‘Second Amendment Sanctuaries,’ Sheriff Cage says he would, of course, enforce the law because that’s his duty.
He also says local law enforcement does not have access to the federal database to see if a gun was purchased with a background check. Senate Bill 8 will go into effect July 1.
KRQE News 13 asked Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez what he would do if law enforcement agencies do not thoroughly investigate these gun cases. He says he would take them to court to make sure they do so.