More than two dozen New Mexico sheriffs have stepped up to voice their opposition to new gun control legislation that is currently being considered by the state legislature.
“You’re just taking guns out of law-abiding citizen’s hands,” Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton told KOAT-TV. “This is not going to affect the criminals out there. They’re going to be able to get guns and they do not follow the law.”
Helton is one of 29 sheriffs who signed onto a statement issued by the New Mexico Sheriff’s Association opposing four related gun control bills they say will not at all be effective crime deterrents, but would instead criminalize lawful gun owners.
The measures include:
— House Bill 83, which gives law enforcement authority to temporarily take away guns from anyone considered by a court to be an imminent threat (a so-called “red flag” law);
— House Bill 87, which proposes to prohibit anyone under a protective order from purchasing a firearm;
— House Bill 180, which mandates that gun owners ‘safely store’ guns around children or face legal penalties;
— Senate Bill 8, requiring background checks for all gun sales including private exchanges.
State Rep. Joy Garratt, a Democrat, believes, for instance, that HB83 could have prevented the Parkland, Florida, high school massacre — though there were already plenty of warning signs that the FBI, local police, and local school officials failed to act on regarding the alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz.
Though Garratt says she doesn’t believe any of the bills violate the Second Amendment — which includes the language “shall not be infringed” in terms of guaranteeing Americans their “right to keep and bear arms” — Helton doesn’t agree. He told local media that the laws being proposed are either redundant or they aren’t constitutional, adding that existing gun laws already offer people enough protection.
“I’m proud to say I’m a constitutional sheriff and I’m just not going to enforce an unconstitutional law,” Helton noted. “My oath prevents me from doing that.”
It’s important to note that there are only 33 counties in New Mexico, meaning that all but four county sheriffs have signed onto the association’s statement opposing the bills, the website BearingArms.com reported.
The proposals would unnecessarily punish New Mexico residents for the failings of law enforcement and school officials — and the FBI — in a single county in Florida, the website noted further.
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