New Mexico Gun Control Bill Signed into Law

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, last week signed a gun control bill previously vetoed by her Republican predecessor. The measure, SB 328, strips Second Amendment rights in situations involving protective orders, making the surrender of guns possessed by a subjected individual a mandatory requirement.

Narrowly approved by the state legislature, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez scuttled a similar proposal in 2017 saying it was unneeded because judges in the state already have the power to issue gun seizure orders along with restraining orders in domestic violence cases. “This new law will save lives,” said Lujan Grisham about the move.

Gun rights groups blasted SB 328 during its legislative process, with the National Rifle Association arguing it went “beyond federal law by broadening the scope of certain misdemeanor offenses to prohibit the possession, purchase and ownership of a firearm. Further, the bill places the burden of keeping custody of all relinquished firearms in these cases to law enforcement.”

The bill is not the only gun policy measure signed by Lujan Grisham since taking office in January. Last month she approved a controversial proposal making it a misdemeanor crime to sell or transfer a gun in a private transaction without a background check performed by a third party. Other bills, including a “red flag” law allowing courts to temporarily seize the firearms of gun owners thought to be at risk and a third bill establishing a mandatory gun lock requirement, tanked.

The glut of anti-gun legislation brought push back from state lawmakers triggered 29 of New Mexico’s 33 sheriffs to join in opposition by issuing a declaration through the state sheriffs’ association, holding the proposals were duplicative, could trample on constitutionally guaranteed rights, and just plain unneeded.

In response, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat issued a directive that the new background check law must be enforced. “As law enforcement officials,” Balderas said, “we do not have the freedom to pick and choose which state laws we enforce.”

As for Lujan Grisham, a former Congresswoman who was a reliable vote in Washington when it came to gun control, had the strong endorsement of groups such as Giffords and Moms Demand Action in her run for the Governor’s Mansion. Statewide last year, Everytown provided $400,000 to Dems running for office in New Mexico.

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