Late Wednesday night, after a heated debate, the Sante Fe city council shot down an ordinance that would have banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds within the city’s limits.
The city council voted 6-2 against the ban after a three-hour public hearing where approximately 70 residents offered their thoughts on the measure that sought to prohibit the possession, transfer and sale of 10-plus round magazines.
The magazine ban was sponsored by Mayor David Cross and council members Patti Bushee and Ron Trujillo. However, Trujillo withdrew his support for the measure upon hearing police Chief Ray Rael question the ban’s efficacy and point out how difficult it would be to enforce, as the Sante Fe New Mexican reported.
Rael told the crowd that he had heard from residents and gun rights advocates who said they would take advantage of the measure’s grandfather clause and stockpile magazines before the ban took effect, which would actually increase the number of so-called ‘high-capacity’ magazines in circulation thus defeating the purpose of the ban.
“We’ve just created more problems,” said the Chief. “People who are not stable will always find ways to get these clips.”
Although the Chief’s reasoning is pretty sound, proponents of the ban disagreed, arguing that the ban has the potential to save lives and prevent a mass shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“We do know that limiting high capacity fitting devices to 10 bullets or 10 rounds is enough to save lives,” Bushee told local news affiliate KRQE.
Though, Bushee acknowledged that the majority of the people that attended the public forum were against the ban. According to her count, 46 people spoke out against the measure compared to 23 who supported it.
Others who backed the measure pointed to the language of the Second Amendment, in particular the prefatory clause regarding a “well-regulated militia,” reasoning that the founding fathers and framers envisioned contingencies and limitations with respect to one’s right to keep and bear arms.
“When the founding fathers passed the Second Amendment, they were thinking about muzzle-loading muskets,” said Sante Fe resident Bruce Merchant. “The Founding Fathers certainly did not have in mind assault weapons. Most hunters look down their noses at those who attempt to use assault weapons for hunting.”
Of course, those who opposed the ban rejected these arguments. Arguably, the most impassioned speaker of the night was Montoya Circle resident Paul Marthaler.
“This law which has been proposed by you will do absolutely nothing to prevent crime, murders, robberies or anything else for the simple reason, as has already been well-stated here, that criminals don’t pay any attention to our laws,” said Marthaler.
“Insane persons could care less about our laws,” he continued. “Nothing will stop these people except if we start at the very beginning about how they started to be insane, about how they started to be criminals. When we attack that problem, we’re attacking the roots of the tree instead of slashing rights of the innocent.”
Other critics of the ban said that it would never hold up in court as the state’s constitution contains preemption laws that prevent local cities and municipalities from regulating a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.
“The state constitution is very clear that in no way can it be regulated by anybody,” resident Thomas Iddings said. “But it’s not the magazines that are the problem. It’s criminals.”
Well, regardless of the reason, it’s good to see common sense prevail in Sante Fe. Unfortunately, Highland Park, Illinois, was not so lucky as Guns.com noted yesterday. The city council there voted to ban so called military-style ‘assault weapons.’ With no state preemption laws in place, that Highland Park AWB is likely to be upheld.