SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Senate committee has passed a scaled-down version of a new law that would let the courts take guns away from New Mexicans deemed a danger to themselves or others.
The proposed red-flag law, Senate Bill 5, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday night but with a big concession. The new version of the bill would only allow law enforcement agencies to be able to file petitions to seize a person’s firearms if that person is deemed a danger.
“The changes are the changes that I believe the folks who have opposed this bill from the onset will be pleased with, that these are changes that have been suggested, and in many cases, adopted,” said Sen. Joseph Cervantes, a Democrat from Las Cruces who co-sponsored the bill.
The new version of this red-flag bill eliminates a provision that would allow anyone to file a gun seizure petition. A police or sheriff’s agency would have the final say in whether a petition would be filed to the court asking for a person’s firearms to be seized for their safety or others.
Despite the changes, some sheriff’s voiced continued opposition tonight.
“Many of the New Mexico sheriffs are still going to be concerned with the fact that there’s a gun confiscation before there’s a hearing, that there’s a due process element, and we’re concerned heavily about that, that we would be taking guns away even on a temporary order that is issued by the court after the petition that has been filed by law enforcement,” said Glenn Hamilton, the sheriff of Sierra County, New Mexico.
Backers of the bill say Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has also indicated her support for the changes to the bill.
The bill passed Wednesday evening on a near party-line vote of six to five. Democrat Richard Martinez was the only member of his party to vote “no” against the bill.
The bill will head to a full Senate vote next. That vote is expected to be close.