New Mexico’s Red Flag Disgrace

New Mexico’s version of the so-called “Red Flag” law (SB5) passed the House last Thursday and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature to become law.  And what a sad, sad spectacle it was.  This law breaks new ground in the nation including never before seen provisions designed to punish law enforcement for noncompliance, expanding the definition of who can petition for an Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order as well as completely giving up any resemblance of being concerned with public safety.  Still, if any version was going to pass and become law in New Mexico, I’m glad it was this one.  Why? That’s simple. This law removes any shadow of a doubt that the purpose behind it is purely about government gun control and nothing else.  Hopefully this will be what unites the New Mexico’s citizens to take back control of their government from the special interest groups. 

The scene that played out in the Roundhouse on Thursday shows how little our current government cares about public safety.  Aside from the live feed inexplicably going out during the final hearings, the Sheriff’s in attendance needed to be “escorted” outside the chamber on bathroom breaks. If that wasn’t enough, they were subsequently ejected from the chamber altogether. What does it say that the government of the people chose to remove the elected sheriffs from the room while this law was being considered? 

Through the multiple revisions that lead to this point, the law strips away law enforcement immunity for failure to enforce these “red flag” orders. This of course is in direct response to 30 of the 33 elected sheriffs signing on to oppose the “red flag” laws and vowing not to enforce them. Also dragged into the loss of immunity are the district attorney’s offices and the office of the attorney general. Potential damages to be awarded were also raised into the millions of dollars. 

Attempts to amend the law to remove the loss of legal immunity for law enforcement and the district attorneys failed. And – bear with me for a minute on this – I’m glad these amendments failed. Keep in mind I’m saying this as a former law enforcement officer who believes this is a slap in the face of everyone who wears a badge. 

Too often in the world of gun control laws, state legislators buy the cooperation and loyalty of the law enforcement community by granting them generous exemptions to the laws impacting the regular citizens of the state. What we’ve seen here is a deliberate legislative smack down of any law enforcement discretion or compliance with Constitutional standards. It clearly states they will blindly obey or pay the price.  The fact that is was purposely introduced and left in a so-called “public safety” law should remove any doubt about the true intent, gun control and gun confiscation.  

Other fascinating additions to this law include the expanded list of who can be the reporting party. It includes the usual relatives plus now “… child, person with whom a respondent has or had a continuing personal relationship, employer or public or private school principal.”  There is no definition of  a child here, so supposedly any child able to speak is old enough, nor is there a definition of continuing personal relationship. Exactly how many dates does it take to equal a “continuing personal relationship”. Your anti-gun employer or principal? No problem!  Keep in mind the reporting party incurs no costs to initiate a complaint – actually a reasonable thing since the ability to pay should not be a limiting factor – but there is also no penalty for false or misleading claims.  

Of course, this courtesy doesn’t extend to the respondent, the person being accused of being a danger to themselves or others. Since this is a civil matter, albeit law enforcement, a city, county or state prosecutor and a criminal court judge are involved in getting the order, the respondent has no right for a public defender in these proceedings. And since this process assumes the respondent is guilty until proven innocent, fees are currently running upwards of $15,000 for legal representation.  In other words, justice and restoration of your Constitutional rights is denied for anyone who can’t afford it. 

Then there is the fact that the respondent, accused of being an imminent threat to themselves or someone else, to the point where their Constitutionally protected rights can be stripped away from them without due process, has 48 hours to surrender their firearms to law enforcement or a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). 

Set aside the absolute insanity of thinking that a person who is an immediate threat to themselves or others could not utilize some other form of violence (knives, club, car, chemical, hands & feet, etc. etc. etc.) to carry out their plans, giving them 48 hours to voluntarily comply shows this law has nothing at all to do with public or personal safety. 

Every state in this nation has legal mechanisms to deal with individuals who are a threat to themselves or others. The horrific violent incidents that gave rise to these “red flag” laws all have the same thing in common; a complete and utter failure of federal, state, county and local government officials in multiple agencies to act on clear indications of impending violence. Simply put, the government already has all the tools to save lives but has been criminally negligent in enforcing them. 

New Mexico’s Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order law will soon be signed by the Governor in what is expected to be a made for media event designed to demonstrate how this law, and this law alone, could have saved the lives of those lost to previous violence. 

The signing of the law will also be our wake-up call to the fact that our representatives no longer represent our interests. By enacting a law that has ZERO to do with public safety and is only a back-door method of confiscating firearms and stripping away Constitutionally protected rights without due process or evidence of a crime committed, the New Mexico legislature has shown they are only interested in compiling with the national political party platform and gun control special interests. 

Is this the kind of government you want?  Maybe it’s time to vote for someone else. 

Bob

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New Mexico Is Second Amendment Proud

I’m a little behind due to a bad case of the SHOT Show crud, so let’s catch up quickly. 

On Friday, January 31, 2020, Second Amendment supporters from around New Mexico gathered at the Roundhouse to protest House Bill 7 / Senate Bill 5 (SB5). These are the so-called “red flag” laws that allow your firearms and Second Amendment rights to be taken away without due process and without a crime ever being committed. A peaceful crowd estimated between 300 and 1000 were in attendance to let those in the Roundhouse know they were opposed to this latest infringement on our rights. Following the speeches outside, the attendees went inside to speak to their representatives. It was an amazing day. 

Since then, there have been numerous rallies and Second Amendment supporters attending committee hearings on SB5. Sadly, through numerous revisions, SB5, now SB5.5, has passed committees and the Senate. It is now destined for the House.

Here’s what I saw at the rally. A peaceful gathering of strong and independent people who are concerned about their rights being taken away. I saw a diverse crowd, some openly carried handguns or long guns, others concealed. There were men and women, old and young, just about every race you could imagine including members of Native American tribes, professionals, tradesmen, business owners and employees, local and state level politicians, democrats and republicans – isn’t that a shocker. 

Of the most encouraging groups was the elected sheriffs from around the state. 30 of the 33 county sheriffs have signed on to oppose this “red flag” legislation and by my count, the majority of them, along with a number of their deputies, were in attendance. Notably, these men and women were standing side-by-side with those protesting SB5, not standing in-between the protestors and the legislators as we’ve seen in other states. 

All in all, it was a polite crowd, as most groups of Second Amendment supporters are. Nobody was pushing, yelling or threatening anyone, no property was damaged, no laws were broken, no arrests were made, and the capitol property was picked up and left the way it was found. All of which is typical of Second Amendment protest rallies. It was a pleasure to be there, meet and speak to some of those involved in the New Mexico Second Amendment community. 

But… what did the gun control community see? Oh, something radically different.  Among my favorite articles from the day was one entitled: “The Face of Trump: Scary NRA Roundhouse Rally”.  It started out with the paragraph: “It was actually pretty frightening, the guns, the faces, the signs, the words, the anger. This is the Trump army and it is scary to think of what happens when he loses.”

Some highlights: 

“The Scary Underside of the US”

“Yesterday was NRA day at the Roundhouse, drawing a large crowd of people seething with anger and armed. First, they rallied outside with speeches filled with fury, misinformation, and threats.”

“I had to pass through the throng to fetch some lunch. Going out and returning, passing through these people, was a very uncomfortable experience. When their eyes caught my Retake Our Democracy button, I was met with scowls, with one guy smirking and pushing forward his assault weapon. He was wearing a flak jacket and MAGA cap.”

Others called this a rally of “Nazis”, “white supremacists”, “Trump supporters” and “Second Amendment extremists”.  Some called for law enforcement to sweep the attendees at the rally as it was “obvious they couldn’t pass a background check”. 

Of course, none of this was true, starting with the fact it wasn’t an NRA rally, it was organized and sponsored locally by Pro-Gun Women. Were there supporters of President Trump there? Yes. But there were also those who are not his supporters. Where there NRA members there? Yes. But there were also those who are not NRA supporters. It’s almost as Second Amendment supporters cross all political lines and all those people showed up to peacefully protest together. 

Although there is one characterization I will agree with, but not in the context it was stated. Yes, the people at the rally were “angry”, but it wasn’t the mad, pre-violent, scowling, hostile type of angry the gun control lobby implies, but more the determined, motivated and empowered type of anger. Think about it, how would you feel if your natural, God-given rights were being threatened? You’d probably want to do something about it, and that’s what’s happening here. 

They claimed it was all sneers, sinister and threatening faces, not a smile in the group. I want to know where the hell these people were!!  I saw nothing BUT smiles and good natured, positive attitude people. But then, that doesn’t go along with the narrative of hostile, unstable and violent hordes the gun control lobby wants everyone to see.  

SB5 has mutated a few times since this rally and includes more people who can petition to have your rights and firearms stripped from you as well as provisions to make the sheriffs liable for NOT enforcing these unconstitutional orders. It also gives the person who is being stripped of their rights 48 hours to surrender their firearms – so much for the immediate threat argument. The next stop is at the House Consumer and Public Affairs committee on Tuesday, February 11th

It is abundantly clear SB5 has nothing to do with public safety and has everything to do with finding a back door means of stripping away your rights without due process and grabbing as many firearms from law-abiding citizens as possible. It is also quite clear the illogic of all this is completely lost on those who are promoting it. 

The ONLY hope I see at this point is to convince the political hacks in the Roundhouse that the ONE thing they cherish above all else will be lost to them if they vote for SB5. That one thing is their jobs. We the people hold the power to evict them as our representatives and replace them with someone who will serve our interests, not those of the national political party and special interest fringe activists.  

The time to contact your representatives and let them know where you stand is now! 

Bob

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