Lawmakers stand by gun control bill many New Mexico counties are against

Politics - Government

The first major gun control bill of this legislative session is now on the governor’s desk, but the fight over it is not over.

“It’s fine for them to disagree with it, but that’s not going to stop us from keeping common sense measures to keep our community safe,” said House Speaker Brian Egolf.

Senate Bill 8 requires background checks for guns sold privately and at gun shows. It passed both houses Monday night and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign it.

The vast majority of New Mexico counties have declared themselves ‘Second Amendment Sanctuaries,’ refusing to enforce any kind of gun control bill.

“It is breathtaking to me that you would have sworn law enforcement officers saying that they are going to refuse to enforce a law,” said Egolf.

Of New Mexico’s 33 counties, 27 of them are already pushing back against any gun control bills by declaring themselves ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties.’

Egolf calls the behavior of sheriffs across the state ‘unprecedented’ and says even though most of the counties are against the bill, most of the state is actually for it.

“Well, it might be tense for the 15 percent of the state or so that doesn’t want universal background checks, but they’re very popular. 85 percent of people in the state support background checks,” said Egolf.

The bill targets private sales from one person to another and says one person would have to pay for a background check. Opponents say the law would create more bureaucracy for law-abiding citizens, while criminals would still do what they want. There are other concerns as well.

“It isn’t an expansive we’re coming after your guns kind of legislation, but I think people are worried about the slippery slope,” said News 13 Political Analyst Gabe Sanchez.

Sanchez says a ‘checkerboard’ of counties choosing to enforce gun laws will be a problem.

“I think that’s the danger, right? They can have a law on the books but if nobody enforces it what’s the point of having that law?” said Sanchez.

Sanchez believes this is an issue that will have to play out in court and Egolf believes the law is on their side.

“The conservative United States Supreme Court has told us that this type of common sense law is entirely constitutional,” said Egolf.

Counties that have passed rules declaring themselves a Second Amendment Sanctuary include:

  • Catron
  • Chaves
  • Cibola
  • Curry
  • De Baca
  • Eddy
  • Grant
  • Hidalgo
  • Lea
  • Lincoln
  • Luna
  • McKinley
  • Mora
  • Otero
  • Quay
  • Rio Arriba
  • Roosevelt
  • Sandoval
  • San Juan
  • Sierra
  • Socorro
  • Taos
  • Torrance
  • Union
  • Valencia

Counties that have not passed rules declaring themselves a Second Amendment Sanctuary are:

  • Bernalillo
  • Colfax (is expected to pass rules at County Commission meeting on March 12)
  • Dona Ana
  • Guadalupe
  • Los Alamos
  • San Miguel
  • Santa Fe

It is unclear if Harding County has passed any kind of rules. KRQE News 13’s calls to the county were not returned.

The town of Edgewood is set to have a public discussion about whether they will break from Santa Fe County and declare themselves a ‘Second Amendment City’ Wednesday night. The city council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

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

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