April 22, 2019

SOS says no to third attempt calling for referendum to reverse gun background check law

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The third time was not the charm.

For the third time in just over a month, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver rejected a Republican petition for a referendum to overturn the law that would require background checks for nearly all gun purchases.

Minority Leader Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, submitted the second amended petition on April 12. The petition fixed a technical problem related to the filing. But the Secretary of State found the larger issue is still that the law is not eligible for a referendum under the state constitution according to Toulouse Oliver.

While the state constitution allows for voters to initiate a petition for a referendum to overturn laws passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor, there are restrictions. Laws that “[bear] a valid, reasonable relationship to the preservation of public peace, health or safety” are not eligible for such a referendum.

Nothing changed on that front since Toulouse Oliver last rejected the petition from the Republican legislator.

In fact, Toulouse Oliver’s rejection relied largely on quoting from the last rejection.

With the third such rejection, the next step would be a court battle, which Townsend has hinted at following the previous two rejections.