New Mexico’s Governor Says Sheriffs Should Enforce Red-flag Gun Bill Or Resign

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a red-flag gun bill on Feb. 25 that will allow state district courts to order the temporary surrender of firearms from individuals who may pose a danger to themselves or others.

The “Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act,” would allow district courts, at the request of police officers receiving information from family members or friends, to put into effect an “extreme risk protection order (ERPO).” Such an ERPO will enable removing the firearms from the individual’s possession for a period no longer than one year unless renewed.

However, after an application is submitted for an ERPO, the individual will be given written notice and an opportunity to be heard on the matter, according to the legislation, which comes into effect in mid-May and will make New Mexico the 18th state to enact such a law.

After signing the bill into law this week, Grisham said in a statement that it “had the strength to pass this measure because we all recognize: enough is enough, and we have the power to change the dynamic of gun violence in our communities.”

“Today, we are standing up—we do not accept the status quo; we do not accept the risk posed by dangerous armed individuals who have articulated their desire to cause harm. This law is sensible and balanced. It is a good public safety measure. If it saves even one life, and it will, we will have done good work here.”

However, the bill has faced opposition from a number of law enforcement officials in the state, including New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association President Tony Mace who on Feb. 23, released a statement saying that “modern red flag laws deny responsible gun owner’s notice or a chance to defend themselves against an initial confiscation order.”

Indicating he might not enforce the bill, he continued, “a judge may issue the order after an uncontested hearing. In some states, the person seeking the order is held to a relatively low burden of proof and with no real consequences of false allegations. Citizens have a right to bear arms, and we cannot circumvent that right when they have not committed a crime or even been accused of committing one.”

However, Grisham told reporters while signing the legislation, that law enforcement leaders “cannot not-enforce,” and those that “really intend to do that, they should resign as a law enforcement officer and leader in that community,” CNN reports.

Meanwhile, Anamaria Dahl, a volunteer leader with the New Mexico chapter of gun-control advocacy group, Moms Demand Action, applauded the signing of the new law and said she was grateful to Grisham and “all the gun sense champions in the legislature for listening to New Mexicans and fighting to keep our families and communities safe.”

Other law enforcement officials, including Aztec Police Chief Mike Heal, backed the signing, recalling an incident in which a gunman killed two students at Aztec High School in December 2017.

“Two of my heroes died that day a horrific death,” Heal said. “I will never forget it, and I will never stop pushing for the safety of our children.”

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Author: Katabella Roberts

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