Many were outraged by the picture in the Daily Record of the city council meeting where a councilwoman had the sheriff and deputy hold long-barreled firearms aloft, in demonstration of council support for the sheriff as he defies recently passed state law that requires background checks on most gun sales. It was a threatening gesture and attempt to intimidate citizens who want to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, domestic violence abusers and the severely mentally ill.
Will the city put this picture in its economic development sales package as it tries to lure corporations to Roswell? How many businesspeople are going to convince employees to move to a community whose leaders wave guns around at public meetings to suppress support for common sense efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals?
The issue of background checks originated at a meeting of the Chaves County Commission. The commission was unhappy that the Legislature passed Senate Bill 8 (which) requires a background check on most firearm sales. Sheriff Mike Herrington announced the day the law was passed that as sheriff he would not allow the law to be enforced.
The commission passed a resolution “supporting” the sheriff when he vowed not to enforce the law … despite the fact that the New Mexico Constitution provides that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms but also says, “No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms.”
The framers clearly intended to prevent piecemeal firearms regulation at the county level.
Background checks have been in effect at the federal level for years. The FBI has a “National Instant Criminal Background Check System” that allows holders of a federal firearms license to determine whether a firearms transfer may be legally completed. The primary reasons for denying a sale are that the person is a convicted felon, a domestic violence abuser or is severely mentally ill. Many states require background checks for most firearm transfers.
The New Mexico Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. Despite misleading statements to the contrary, there is nothing in the new background check law that violates that right.
(Most) people in this state are in favor of both the Second Amendment and background checks and local leaders need to be called out when they mislead people into thinking they can’t have both.