Twenty-nine sheriffs in New Mexico oppose new gun law proposals under consideration by the state legislature, KOAT-TV reports.
What are they saying?
"You're just taking guns out of law-abiding citizen's hands," Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton told the TV station. "This is not going to affect the criminals out there. They're going to be able to get guns and they do not follow the law."
Helton is one of the sheriffs who signed a statement by the New Mexico Sheriff's Association that says that four proposed and related gun bills would be ineffective.
- House Bill 83, which would allow law enforcement to temporarily take away guns from people who are considered an imminent threat.
- House Bill 87, a plan to prohibit people under a protective order from buying guns.
- House Bill 130, a mandate for gun owners to store guns safely around children or face penalties.
- Senate Bill 8, which would require background checks for private firearms sales.
State Rep. Joy Garratt (D) believes HB83 could have prevented, for example, the Parkland, Florida, high school massacre.
Although Garratt believes the bills do not violate the Second Amendment, Helton disagrees. He told media the laws are either redundant or unconstitutional. Existing laws already provide enough protection, he said.
"I'm proud to say I'm a constitutional sheriff and I'm just not going to enforce an unconstitutional law," Helton said. "My oath prevents me from doing that."
How many counties are in the state?
New Mexico has just 33 counties, so that means just four counties are not represented by the group, the website BearingArms.com reported.
The state legislature's proposal and others like it in other states simply penalizes people who were not responsible for a law enforcement failure in one county in Florida, BearingArms.com stated.
An editorial on the website praised the New Mexico sheriffs for taking a stand and stated that more people need to do the same.