Socorro County’s commissioners made their opposition to firearms restrictions being considered by the New Mexico legislature clear, with a resolution last week opposing “severe firearms restriction bills,” specifically naming House Bills 9, 100, 101 and Senate Bill 116 as unconstitutional.
The New Mexico legislature is considering several different bills that would restrict gun sales during its 60-day session. The session ends March 18.
-HB 101 would prohibit the sale or possession of assault weapons and assault weapon attachments.
The county resolution spends more words on this bill than any other, focusing on the specific limits proposed by the bill. The resolution points out that HB 101 would ban magazines for semi-automatic firearms with a capacity greater than 10 rounds; ban handguns with fixed magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition; and long guns with fixed magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. People who already own these firearms would have to register them with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, something else the resolution takes issue with.
-HB 9 would criminalize storing firearms in a way that negligently disregards the ability of a minor to access them. If a minor accessed the gun and harmed someone, the gun owner could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor.
-HB 100 would establish a 14-day waiting period for purchasing a firearm.
-SB 116 raises the minimum age for purchasing automatic or semiautomatic firearms to 21. The county resolution points out that 18-20-year-olds, “are eligible to vote and may be required to serve in the armed forces.”
The resolution focuses on the potential financial cost of jailing more people who could be charged under the proposed laws.
“The instant transformation of law-abiding citizens into criminals for the victimless crime of owning common firearms will overwhelm the County’s detention center and devastate the economy of the State and Socorro County when those citizens are unable to work and care for their families due to unconstitutional incarceration under the four proposed laws,” the resolution reads, going on to argue that the legislation would have “little to no effect on preventing violent crime and gun violence.”
The resolution also affirms the commissioners’ support of the Socorro County Sheriff, should he decide not to “enforce any unconstitutional firearms law against any citizen,” and resolves that the commissioners will not authorize government funds or resources to enforce a law that “unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
There was one vote opposing the motion, Commissioner Joe Gonzales, District 1.
“I don’t think everybody should have guns. I understand it’s a second amendment right, but the second amendment right has to evaluate the mental stability of people,” Gonzales said.
Lawmakers are trying to “adjust how you keep the guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” not take guns away, Gonzales said.