New Mexico governor warns sheriffs they must enforce new red flag gun law or resign

New Mexico governor warns sheriffs they must enforce new red flag gun law or resign
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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamBiden pick creates furor, underscoring bitterness over Obama immigration policy Buttigieg, former officials added to Biden's transition team No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden MORE (D) on Tuesday signed into law a measure that grants courts the permission to authorize temporary seizures of guns from individuals deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

Grisham said in a statement that the so-called red flag law would reduce the state’s “unacceptable suicide rate and other forms of gun violence.”

“The Legislature had the strength to pass this measure because we all recognize: Enough is enough,” she said. “And we have the power to change the dynamic of gun violence in our communities. Today we are standing up – we do not accept the status quo; we do not accept the risk posed by dangerous armed individuals who have articulated their desire to cause harm.”


Grisham’s move makes New Mexico the 17th U.S. state to implement the Extreme Risk Protection Order law. The measure in New Mexico will give law enforcement the ability to ask courts in a sworn statement to temporarily remove firearms and ammunition from those that are a threat to themselves and others.

A court hearing for the request must take place within 10 days and any weapons apprehended have to be returned once the order expires, the governor’s office said.

The office added that the law would address the “unconscionably high” per capita rates of firearm deaths and suicide in the state. The firearm death rate in New Mexico was 18.5 per 100,000 people in 2017, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Red flag laws have been met with scrutiny from some officials who believe that it abuses a person's rights to bear arms. New Mexico Sheriffs' Association Chairman Tony Mace echoed that criticism in a public letter over the weekend that claimed the measure infringed on citizens’ rights.

"Citizens have a right to bear arms and we cannot circumvent that right when they have not even committed a crime or even been accused of committing one," he wrote. "'Shall not be infringed' is a very clear and concise component of an Amendment that our forefathers felt was important enough to be recognized immediately following freedom of speech and religion."


In comments to reporters, Grisham warned that law enforcement must enforce the law, saying “they should resign as a law enforcement officer and leader in that community” if they don’t intend to, CNN noted.

Red flag laws have gained greater attention as lawmakers from around the country push for more action to stem mass shootings in the U.S. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE voiced support for the measures after a string of mass shootings last August. 

Florida’s red flag law, which was signed into law after a mass school shooting in the state left 17 dead, has removed hundreds of guns from Florida homes, according to The Associated Press, thought it noted the law has been enforced inconsistently across the state.