Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday she will not abide lack of enforcement by any sheriff or other local government official who opposes a new law intended to reduce gun violence. Her comments came during a press conference at which she defended her support of Senate Bill 5, which cleared the Legislature on Thursday and which she intends to sign into law, adding New Mexico to the list of states that have passed what are called “red flag” laws. The measure will allow authorities to petition courts to temporarily remove firearms from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others. “If just one life is saved, if one potential [dangerous] situation is averted, then we’re doing our job,” she told reporters. Her comments came after news that Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton told people at a Eunice City Hall meeting Monday he would rather go to jail than enforce the law, which he thinks is unconstitutional.
Despite the freezing cold, Stefani Lord wore a T-shirt that read “Pro-Gun Women” as she waited in line to speak against passage of gun-control legislation known as a “red flag” bill.
“Rural people feel differently from those who live in urban cities,” said Lord, who lives in a rural part of Bernalillo County. “We feel disenfranchised … like Santa Fe is not listening.” Opponents of Senate Bill 5, perhaps the most controversial piece of legislation in this year’s session, made what may have been their last stand Tuesday during a House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee hearing. Though the outcome was not unexpected — the Democratic-controlled committee moved it to the House floor by a 3-2 vote along party lines — the frustration felt by the bill’s detractors remained as palpable as it was last week, when it passed the Senate by a narrow 22-20 vote.
If the House approves Senate Bill 5 — which is likely, since Democrats who favor the bill outnumber Republicans by a ratio of almost 2 to 1 — it will then go to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has been pushing for the bill over the past year.
Many people came to the Capitol to speak about the bill, but their mood, and perhaps words, were more about lifestyle than mere votes.
In an emotional hearing before hundreds of supporters and detractors, a state Senate panel narrowly passed a high-profile gun bill on Tuesday that would allow law enforcement to obtain a court order to confiscate guns from people considered dangerous. The Senate Public Affairs committee voted 4-3 along party lines in favor of Senate Bill 5, known as the “Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order Act.” The bill will now be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation is a marquee item on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s agenda and likely to be one of the most contentious bills heard during the session. If it becomes law, New Mexico would join 17 other states and the District of Columbia that have similar measures, also known as “red-flag” laws. Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, who is co-sponsoring the legislation and is an attorney, invoked last year’s mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart as a reason why the bill should be passed.